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China: Implementation of Court Rulings

(Nov. 2, 2007) It was reported on September 26, 2007, that China's Supreme People's Court (SCP), Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) recently jointly issued the Circular on Problems Related to Seriously Investigating and Punishing Criminal Acts of Refusing to Implement Judgments or Rulings and of Violently Resisting Court Enforcement. The Circular is based in particular on the Criminal Code, the interpretation by the National People's Congress Standing Committee of article 313 of the Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure. In fact, the section of the Circular on acts punishable for the crime of refusing to implement a court judgment or ruling almost exactly duplicates a similar section in the interpretation. Among the punishable acts listed, for example, are those of hiding, transferring, or deliberately destroying property on the part of the person against whom the judgment or ruling is being executed, resulting in the judgment or decision being unenforceable; refusal on the part of an implementing personnel to assist in carrying out a ruling after receiving the court verdict; and collusion between a government official and the person against whom the ruling is being executed, the guarantor, and implementing personnel to take advantage of the official's post to prevent the law's enforcement.

According to the Circular, violent resistance of court enforcement orders encompasses three types of acts: 1) gathering a mob to create a row at or assault the implementation site, or besieging, seizing, or attacking law enforcement officials, so as to make it impossible to conduct enforcement work; 2) damaging or seizing case materials related to the implementation or vehicles for performance of official business and other enforcement apparatus, enforcement officials' apparel and credentials for performance of official business, causing serious consequences; 3) other acts involving violent or threatening means to impair or resist implementation, making it impossible to conduct enforcement work. Such acts will be handled as offenses of jeopardizing official business.

The Circular also clarifies case jurisdiction and the mutual cooperative and conditioned relationships among the courts, procuratorates, and public security organs in connection with the process of cracking down on the above types of offenses. For example, it stipulates that the courts may in advance place in judicial detention persons who have refused to implement a court judgment or ruling, "if the circumstances are serious" if the perpetrators are suspected of having committed a crime, the case should be transferred to the public security organ of the place where it occurred for placement on file for investigation and prosecution. (Yansu cha chu ju bu zhixing panjue, caiding he baoli kangju fayuan zhixing fanzui xingwei, CHINACOURT, Sept. 25, 2007; China to Intensify Implementation of Court Rulings, PEOPLE'S DAILY ONLINE, Sept. 26, 2007, available at

In addition, China's newly amended Law of Civil Procedure multiplies fines that may be imposed on those who refuse to execute a civil court ruling by a factor of ten and also stipulates that such persons may be detained [see separate entry above on amendment of the Code]. According to NPCSC member Wang Shengming, "[t]he public are up in arms about the poor execution of verdicts. … The amendment is necessary to safeguard the authority of justice" (China to Ensure Civil Court Rulings Are Carried Out, XINHUA, June 24, 2007, available at In January 2007, moreover, the central government had issued a circular requiring local governments to enforce court rulings, linking it to evaluation of official performance. (China Requires Local Governments to Enforce Court Rulings, PEOPLE'S DAILY ONLINE, Jan. 15, 2007, available at