China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 2/2

April 30, 2013

During the 1990s, Zhou Litai became famous as one of the first lawyers fighting for the rights of workers injured or mistreated by China’s new wave of private enterprises.… Since then, he has handled thousands of workplace injury cases, and even houses and feeds some of his most destitute clients. Source: New York Times

Zhou Litai has been featured in China Daily and on CCTV in China.

In the 2006 documentary, Zhou Litai says, “In Shenzhen every year, 10,000 insured workers get injured.  It’s reported that 95% of injured workers do not file lawsuits.”

“After winning cases,” Zhou Litai says, “some clients went back home to buy a house or to open a home business. Also, a few have started self-education in law such as Fu Shulin, who comes from Anhui Province.”

“Before he came to Shenzhen,” Zhou Litai says, “Fu Shulin was a student at a vocational college in Hefei City and he’s been living with me after filing a lawsuit. During the legal process, he realized the power of the law and decided to study after me.”

In May 2006, a short documentary of China’s changing legal system was produced.

Before becoming a law clerk, Fu Shulin had a hand cut off while operating a machine. He was sent to a hospital.

Shulin says, “At first, the doctor told me that my hand was able to be reconnected. However, after my boss talked to the doctor, he told me that my hand wouldn’t be reconnected because the bones had been shattered.”

Shulin had problems with his factory boss so he saw Lawyer Zhou Litai.

After seeing Zhou Litai, Shulin was offered 30,000 yuan by the factory (less than $4,000 US). He turned it down.

Then the boss had him locked up in a factory room, but Shulin managed to get a note to his lawyer, Zhou Litai, who came with the police to free him.

in 1998, the district court ruled in Shulin’s favor and awarded him 160,000 yuan (more than $19,000 US dollars). The factory boss appealed and lost. The final settlement was 168,000 yuan (more than $20,000 US)

Return to China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Crime and the Law – Thirty Years in China

November 17, 2010

A discussion at the China Law Blog launched my investigation of crime and corruption in China. This post is one of several on this topic as a response to a few stereotypical comments at the China Law Blog discussion such as:

amp 5 said, “I’ve also asked my Chinese friends about this and the answer I usually get is along the lines of ‘The CCP is our version of the mafia’.”

Sun Kim said, “Ragtag groups that undoubtedly operate with the unspoken approval of the provincial government and/or the CCP as they ultimately help support the economy, albeit in shady terms.”

Rui Ramosu said, “The difference being, as someone above quite cogently noted, is that the government is ultimately able to control the organized crime, but turns a blind eye to it as long as it stays under control.”

James G said, “And China hasn’t really done a good job of eliminating organized crime. They have done a superb job or hiding it from foreigners, though.”

In fact, these comments are all wrong and are perfect examples of ignorant people parroting the Sinophobia and fear of Communism that exists in America and other Western nations.

Soon after 1949 until 1982, China was drug free and had to deal with few of the crimes that have plagued America and other nations for centuries.

It wasn’t until China opened its doors to world trade in the early 1980s that organized crime and corruption returned to China on a large scale.

Thirty years later, China’s growing legal system and police now deal with prostitution, gambling, drugs and all the rest just as the US and other nations in the free world have done for centuries.

In the last decade since my first trip to China, I’ve discovered that greedy individuals and groups in the smaller cities and remote provinces conduct most of the serious crime in China.

Since the Communist Party has more than 70 million members, it makes sense that some will be involved in illegal activities and thousands have already been convicted and dealt with.

China’s infant legal system was first launched in the early 1980s in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou (Canton) and other major cities. From that start, the legal system has slowly spread to the remote areas of China.

One step toward developing a modern police and legal system happened in 1984 when China became a member of Interpol, and Mr. Zhu En Tao, a member of the Communist Party of China, was appointed Deputy Director of the China Centre, Interpol.

Here are a few examples that show what China is doing to combat crime and corruption in China and internationally.

China has executed 72 people over the past week for drug trafficking offences…. Source:, June 2000

In 1994, New York resident Nguyen Hao Duc allegedly planned in cold blood, then carried out the murder of two innocent young men as part of a narcotics conspiracy. He then fled, settling eventually in the Pearl Delta area of Guangdong Province and supported by associates in the United States who sent him monthly living expenses.…

Based on information provided by the FBI to the Chinese officials, Nguyen was located…. In short order, officers of Guangdong’s Public Security Bureau arrested him in the town of Jiangmen, predicated on a Foreign Police Cooperation request made by the FBI Legal Attaché stationed in Beijing.

Then, on July 20, 2003, officers of the Ministry of Public Security transferred custody of Nguyen to two FBI Agents and a New York Police Detective, and Nguyen returned this month to the United States to face trial. Source:, July 2003

China has been active in seeking international cooperation in the fight against corruption. Since 1998, Chinese prosecutors have captured a total of about 70 criminal corruption suspects from abroad through legal assistance channels with foreign countries… Chinese police have also seized more than 230 Chinese criminal suspects from more than 30 countries and regions during the 1993 to January 2005 period with the help of Interpol, the international police body. Source: Asia Times, Oct. 29, 2005

China’s anti-drug efforts in the past year resulted in the cracking of several key transnational drug trafficking cases and the planting of opium replacement crops in the “Golden Triangle” areas, China’s police said.  Source: People’s Daily, November 22, 2006

Almost 800 illegal gambling dens in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were raided in one of Interpol’s biggest co-ordinated crackdowns. Cars, bank cards, computers and mobile phones were also confiscated. The dens handled more than $150m in bets, Interpol said. Source:, July 2010

Between 2001 and 2005, Chinese police opened more than 28,000 trafficking cases, the Chinese government arrested more than 25,000 suspected traffickers, and rescued more than 35,000 victims. During 2006, China police investigated 3,371 trafficking cases; provincial governments rescued 371 victims and arrested 415 traffickers. China also cooperated with Vietnamese, Thai and Burmese authorities to rescue victims. Source: Human

Discover more about Growing China’s Legal System


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Guanxi in China

October 18, 2010

I first learned about Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which quoted the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the post at the China Law Blog, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is one of those complexities of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi are based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger – Chinese or foreign – will ever have access. Source: Silicon Hutong

Guanxi developed over the millennia because China did not have a stable and effective legal system. 

In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was written as the law of the land.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic has developed faster than civil law.

There are a several opinions about Guanxi.  I learned that Guanxi is similar to a gate that opens to a network of human beings but it isn’t that simple.

Merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog copied the post from the Silicon Hutong Blog.  The post on the China Law Blog had more than twenty comments and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

To learn more about Chinese culture, see Honor


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Growing China’s Legal System

July 18, 2010

In October 2008, Stephen Yao, talked about the evolution of the Chinese legal System. During the Cultural Revolution, for ten years, China had no law or legal system.  Then in 1979, Deng Xiaoping initiated the “Open Market Policy”.

Law schools, the ministry of justice and legal services were started in the early 1980s.  Another milestone was in 2001, after China joined the WTO (World Trade Organization).  The economic changes were taking place faster than the legal system was developing.

In 2008, the Chinese legal system had the minimum standards as recognized by the WTO.

In the video, Stephen Yao displays a chart for China’s Legal System and explains briefly what it means.  The second slide shows China’s legal market overview and the multilayered legal structure.

Yao says that the death penalty must be referred to China’s higher court and the lower courts do not have the power to apply the death penalty.

See China Law and Justice System


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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