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Civil Law in China

Civil Law in China

The Civil Law in China regulates all civil activities and has the purpose of protecting the rights and interests of citizens as well as to manage the civil relations between civil subjects – legal persons and citizens in China. The general principles of the Civil Law are divided into nine chapters which include the basic principles, the legal framework concerning the citizen (or the natural person), legal persons, civil rights, civil liability, limitation of action, the application of the law in civil relations with foreigners in China and supplementary provisions. The Civil Code and its provisions can be entirely explained by our Chinese lawyers.

Natural and legal persons in China

A Chinese citizen has civil rights from birth to death. All citizens are considered equals and have to assume the civil obligations according to law. Any citizen over the age of 18 is considered an adult. Minors are considered to have a limited capacity for civil conduct. The Chinese Civil Law also regulates the guardianship of children and the declarations of missing persons and death.

Legal persons in China are defined as organizations with civil capacity, civil rights, and civil obligations. A legal person must have an appointed legal representative who will act on behalf of its name and with the purpose of exercising its functions and powers. Our attorneys in China can give you detailed information about the types of legal entities in China which qualify as legal persons. Besides helping you with civil law in China, our lawyers can also guide you about other matters that require legal insight. For instance, if you are planning to get your products and services registered, our lawyers can assist you with trademark registration in China. A trademark is registered at the China Trademark Office (CTMO), which is part of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

Civil rights and civil liability in China

The Civil Law in China establishes the basic framework for property ownership and the related property rights. According to law, the state property is inviolable and there are also special regulations for the collective ownership in China. We mention that our team of advisors can tell you more about the provisions for property purchase for foreigners and the limitations thereof. The rights of a creditor in China, as well as the obligations of a debtor, are established by the same legislative document. The intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, patents trademarks, and others are also defined by the Civil Law in China.

Please consider that the civil liability applies in China only when citizens and legal persons breach a contract or fail to fulfill their contractual obligations. The liability for these types of breaches, as well as for the infringement of rights is established in Chapter VI, Sections II and III of the Chinese Civil Law. If you want to know more about the laws in China, as well as the basic information about the court system, you can request the help of our consultants who can also offer legal representation in front of the authorities.

General provisions of the Civil Law in 2017

Starting with October 2017, the new provisions of the Chinese Civil Code mentioned in the “Book One” entered into force. The revised principles sum up five books and will regard a unified Civil Code, as wanted for many years in China. The major changes regard a new principle which is named the “Green Principle”. Through this principle, the People’s Republic of China wants to protect the ecological environment and save the resources. 

A new important change mentioned by the Civil Code is that the guardianship obligation of employers towards their staff in need has been obliterated. Furthermore, there have been changes related to the classification of legal and non-legal persons in China. In this matter, the legal individuals will enter now into three different categories, such as:

• profit-oriented legal persons which include LLCs, joint stock companies, and other enterprises;

• non-profit oriented legal persons which include the institutional units, foundations, and social organizations;

• special legal persons which refer to governmental authorities, rural cooperation organizations.

Furthermore, one should know that sole proprietorships and non-legal professional service institutions are considered non-legal person organizations in China.

Protecting the private data as mentioned by the new Civil Code

The new provisions of the Civil Code in China comes with additional rules regarding the personal data of individuals. For instance, the general provisions will protect the private information of individuals, and institutions willing to receive such data will have to collect it in a legal manner by applying with the authorities in charge. We also mention that purchasing private data from third parties without any consent in this matter is strictly forbidden in China.  

Please feel free to contact our Chinese law firm for detailed information regarding our legal services we can provide for you or for your firm.