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A Guide to Chinese Legal Research: Official Online Publication of Chinese Law (Update)

Last year, I blogged about two online sources that are designated by China‘s 2015 revised Law on Legislation to officially publish Chinese laws, regulations, and rules (collectively “legislative documents”):

  • Chinese Government Legal Information Network (CGLIN): designated by the Law on Legislation to publish regulations and rules, including: administrative regulations made by the State Council (art. 71); departmental rules made by the ministries and commissions under the State Council (art. 86); and administrative rules made by the local governments (id.).

The link to the CGLIN in my old post, however, is no longer working. The CGLIN, link embedded above, is now sharing the official website of China’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The change seems to be related to the 2018 Chinese government institutional reform, during which the State Council Legislative Affairs Office (SCLAO) was abolished and its functions were merged with the newly reorganized MOJ. According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the new MOJ “will be tasked to draft laws and administrative regulations, coordinate legislative work and law enforcement, supervise affairs of administrative review, [and] oversee prisons, community correction and rehabilitation of drug users, among other duties…”

The new CGLIN website has a column for “Laws, Regulations, and Rules,” which is publishing newly-passed legislative documents in a timely manner:

Screenshot of Laws, Regulations, and Rules page on CGLIN  (as of Dec. 9, 2019)

The new CGLIN also has the function of publishing drafts of central government regulations and rules, which it places under a different column. The 2015 Law on Legislation requires draft State Council regulations to be published before they are formally promulgated in order to solicit public comments, except for those which the State Council decides not to publish (art. 67). The State Council Regulation on the Procedures for the Formulation of Rules, which entered into force on May 1, 2018, also requires draft departmental rules to be published to solicit public comments (art. 15).

So far, the CGLIN has not included all the past legislative documents, and the English version of the website seems to be under construction. You may find print versions of official sources of Chinese law in the Law Library’s collection, such as the NPC gazettesState Council gazettes, and compilations of laws, regulations, and rules in Chinese and English. To identify sources of Chinese law in our collections, please visit the Library of Congress online catalog or submit questions to Ask the Librarian.

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