CIVIL PROCEDURE LAW
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

(Adopted on April 9, 1991 at the Fourth Session of the Seventh National People's Congress)

PART ONE GENERAL PROVISIONS

CHAPTER I THE AIM, SCOPE OF REGULATION AND BASIS PRINCIPLES

  Article 1. The Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China is formulated on the basis of the Constitution and in the light of the experience and actual conditions of our country in trying civil cases.

  Article 2. The aim of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China is to protect the exercise of the litigation rights of the parties, ensure that the people's courts ascertain facts, distinguish right from wrong, apply the law correctly, try civil cases promptly, affirm the rights and obligations in civil affairs, impose sanctions for civil wrongs, protect the lawful rights and interests of the parties, educate citizens to voluntarily abide by the law, maintain the social and economic order, and guarantee the smooth progress of the socialist construction.

  Article 3. The provisions of this Law shall be applicable to civil lawsuits concerning disputes over the status of property and persons among citizens, legal persons or other organizations respectively and mutually between citizens, legal persons and other organizations.

  Article 4. All those who engage in civil lawsuits within the territory of the People's Republic of China must abide by this Law.

  Article 5. Foreign nationals, stateless persons, foreign enterprises and organizations that institute or respond to prosecutions in the people's courts shall have the same litigation rights and obligations as citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China.

  Should the courts of a foreign country impose restrictions on the civil litigation rights of the citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the People's Republic of China, the people's courts of the People's Republic of China shall follow the principle of reciprocity regarding the civil litigation rights of the citizens, enterprises and organizations of that foreign country.

  Article 6. The people's courts shall exercise the judicial authority with respect to civil cases.

  The people's courts shall try civil cases independently in accordance with the law, and shall not be subject to interference by an administrative organ, public organization or individual.

  Article 7. In conducting civil proceedings, the people's courts must base themselves on facts and take the law as the criterion.

  Article 8. The parties to a civil lawsuit shall have equal litigation rights. The people's courts shall, in conducting civil proceedings, guarantee and faciliate the exercise of litigation rights by the parties, and apply the law equally to the parties.

  Article 9. In conducting civil proceedings, the people's courts shall carry out conciliation in accordance with the principles of voluntariness and lawfulness; if conciliation efforts are ineffective, they shall render judgments without delay.

  Article 10. In handing civil cases, the people's courts shall, as provided for by law, apply the systems of collegial panel, withdrawal of judicial personnel, public trial, and the system whereby the second hearing is final.

  Article 11. Citizens of all nationalities shall have the right to use their native spoken and written languages in civil proceedings.

  Where people of a minority nationality live in a concentrated community or where a number of nationalities live together in one area, the people's courts shall conduct hearings and issue legal documents in the spoken and written languages commonly used by the local nationalities.

  The people's courts shall provide translations for any participant in the court proceedings who is not familiar with the spoken or written languages commonly used by the local nationalities.

  Article 12. In the trial of civil cases by the people's court, the parties shall have the right to engage in argument.

  Article 13. The parties to a civil lawsuit shall be entitled, within the scope stipulated by law, to dispose of their rights in civil affairs and their litigation rights.

  Article 14. The people's procuratorates shall have the right to exercise legal supervision over the civil proceedings.

  Article 15. If the civil rights and interests of the state, a collective or an individual have been infringed, a state organ, public organization, enterprise or institution may support the injured unit or individual to initiate legal action in a people's court.

  Article 16. The people's conciliation committees shall be mass organizations to conciliate civil disputes, which are to function under the guidance of the grass-roots people's governments and the basic people's courts.

  A people's conciliation committee shall conduct conciliation in accordance with legal provisions and the principle of voluntariness. The parties concerned shall execute the agreement reached in conciliation: those who refuse a conciliation or those for whom a conciliation has failed or those who have retracted from a conciliation agreement may initiate legal proceedings in a people's court.

  If a people's conciliation committee violates the law in conciliating civil disputes, a people's court shall make corrections.

  Article 17. The people's congresses of the national autonomous areas may formulate adoptive or supplementary provisions in accordance with the principles of the Constitution and this Law and with the specific circumstances of the local nationalities. Such provisions made by an autonomous region shall be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval. The provisions made by an autonomous prefecture or autonomous county shall be submitted to the standing committee of the people's congress of the relevant autonomous region or province for approval and to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.

CHAPTER II JURISDICTION

SECTION 1 JURISDICTION BY LEVEL

  Article 18. The basic people's courts shall have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over civil cases, unless otherwise stipulated in this Law.

  Article 19. The intermediate people's courts shall have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over the following civil cases:
(1) major cases involving foreign interests;

  (2) cases that have major impact on the area under their jurisdiction; and

  (3) cases under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people's courts as determined by the Supreme People's Court.

  Article 20. The higher people's courts shall have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over civil cases that have major impact on the areas under their jurisdiction.

  Article 21. The Supreme People's Court shall have jurisdiction as the court of first instance over the following civil cases:

  (1) cases that have major impact on the whole country; and

  (2) cases that the Supreme People's Court deems it should try.

SECTION 2 TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION

  Article 22. A civil lawsuit brought against a citizen shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the defendant has his domicile; if the defendant's domicile is different from his habitual residence, the lawsuit shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place of his habitual residence.

  A civil lawsuit brought by a serviceman against a civilian shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the defendant has his domicile.

  A civil lawsuit brought against a legal person or any other organization shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the defendant has its domicile.

  Where the domiciles or habitual residences of several defendants in the same lawsuit are in the areas under the jurisdiction of two or more people's courts, all of those people's courts shall have jurisdiction over the lawsuit.

  Article 23. The civil lawsuits described below shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the plaintiff has his domicile; if the plaintiff's domicile is different from his habitual residence, the lawsuit shall be under the jurisdiction of the people' court in the place of the plaintiff's habitual residence. The relevant lawsuits are:

  (1) those brought by civilians against servicemen;

  (2) those concerning the status of persons not residing within the territory of the People's Republic of China;

  (3) those concerning the status of persons whose whereabouts have been unknown or who have been declared as missing.

  (4) those against persons who are undergoing rehabilitation through labour; and

  (5) those against persons who are undergoing imprisonment.

  Article 24. A lawsuit initiated for a contract dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the defendant has his domicile or where the contract is performed.

  Article 25. The parties to a contract may choose through agreement stipulated in the written contract the people's court in the place where the defendant has his domicile, where the contract is performed, where the contract is signed, where the plaintiff has his domicile or where the object of the action is located to have jurisdiction over the case, provided that the provisions of this Law regarding jurisdiction by level and exclusive jurisdiction shall not be violated.

  Article 26. A lawsuit initiated for an insurance contract dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the defendant has his domicile or where the insured object is located.

  Article 27. A lawsuit initiated for a bill dispute shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the bill is paid or where the defendant has his domicile.

  Article 28. A lawsuit initiated for a dispute over railway, highway, water, or air transport or through transport contract shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the transport started or ended or where the defendant has his domicile.

  Article 29. A lawsuit initiated for an infringing act shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the infringing act took place or where the defendant has his domicile.

  Article 30. A lawsuit concerning claims for damages caused by a railway, highway, water or aviation accident shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the accident took place or where the vehicle or ship first arrived after the accident or where the aircraft first landed after the accident, or where the dependent has his domicile.

Article 31. A lawsuit initiated for damages caused by a ship collision or any other maritime accident shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the collision took place or where the collision ship first docked after the accident or where the ship at fault was detained, or where the defendant has his domicile. Article 32. A lawsuit initiated for maritime salvage shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the salvage took place or where the salvaged vessel first docked after the disaster.

  Article 33. A lawsuit initiated for general average shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the ship first docked after the general average took place or the adjustment thereof was conducted or where the voyage ended.

  Article 34. The following cases shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the people's courts herein specified:

  (1) A lawsuit initiated for real estate shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the estate is located;

  (2) A lawsuit concerning harbour operations shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the harbour is located; and

  (3) A lawsuit concerning an inheritance shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the place where the decedent had his domicile upon his death, or where the principal part of his estate is located.