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Law of Civil Procedure of the People's Republic of China

(Adopted by the fourth session of the seventh National People's Congress on 9th April 1991)

Part One General Principles

Chapter I. Tasks, Scope of Application and Basic Principles

Article 1. The Law of Civil Procedure of the PRC takes the Constitution as its basis. It is enacted in the light of China's experience in handling civil cases and the actual conditions.

Article 2. The tasks of the Law of Civil Procedure of the PRC are to protect the party from a lawsuit in exercising its litigant rights and to ensure that the People's Court establishes the truth based on facts, distinguishes right from wrong, applies laws correctly, handles civil cases promptly, ascertains the relationship between civil rights and obligations, takes sanctions against civil violations, safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of the party to a lawsuit, educates the citizens to abide conscientiously by the law, safeguards social and economic order and ensures the smooth progress of socialist construction.

Article 3. Provisions of the Law apply to civil lawsuits between citizens, between legal persons and between other organizations, as well as among them, filed because of property and personal relationship, and are handled by the People's Court.

Article 4. Civil proceedings within the territory of the PRC shall abide by this Law.

Article 5. In filing a lawsuit and responding to a lawsuit in the People's Court, foreigners, people without nationality, foreign enterprises and other organizations shall have the same equal litigant rights and obligations as the citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the PRC.

Should the court of a foreign country restrict the civil litigant rights of the citizens, legal persons and other organizations of the PRC, the People's Court of the PRC shall exercise a reciprocal principle on the civil litigant rights of the citizens, enterprises and other organizations of that country.

Article 6. The judicial authority over civil cases is exercised by the People's Court.

In civil proceedings, the People's Court administers justice independently according to law, subject to no interference by administrative organs, organizations or individuals.

Article 7. In civil proceedings, the People's Court shall base itself on facts and take the law as the criterion.

Article 8. In civil proceedings, the litigants shall have equal litigant rights. In handling a civil case, the People's Court shall ensure and make it convenient for the litigants to exercise their litigant rights; in the application of the law, the litigants are deemed as equals.

Article 9. In civil proceedings, the People's Court shall promote mediation in accordance with the principle of voluntariness and legitimacy; a court decision shall be made promptly when mediation has failed.

Article 10. In civil proceedings, the People's Court practices the system of collegiate bench, withdrawal and public trial, and the system of two instances, the first and the final.

Article 11. Citizens of all nationalities have the right to use their own languages, spoken or written, in civil proceedings.

In districts compactly inhabited by a minority nationality or by a number of nationalities, the People's Court shall hear cases and issue legal documents in the commonly used language in the locality.

The People's Court shall provide interpretation for a litigant participant unacquainted with the spoken or written language commonly used in the locality.

Article 12. When the People's Court is hearing a civil case, the litigant has the right of debate.

Article 13. Litigants have the right of disposing of their own civil rights and litigant rights within the limits prescribed by law.

Article 14. The People's Procuratorate has the right of legal supervision over the trials of civil cases.

Article 15. Organs, social organizations, enterprises and institutions may support the injured units or individuals to file a suit with the People's Court against acts that damaged the civil rights or interests of the state, collectives or individuals.

Article 16. The People's Mediation Committee is a mass organization that mediates civil disputes under the guidance of the ground-level people's government and ground-level people's court.

The People's Mediation Committee conducts mediation according to the law and the principle of voluntariness. Litigants shall honor the agreement reached through mediation; those who do not wish to mediate, or fail to reconcile their difference, or go back on their word, may file a suit at the People's Court.

The People's Court shall correct any violations of law committed by the People's Mediation Committee during mediation.

Article 17. The People's Congress of ethnic autonomous regions may draft flexible or supplementary provisions in accordance with the principles incorporated in the Constitution and this Law, as well as the specific ethnic conditions in their localities. The provisions of an autonomous region shall be reported to the NPC Standing Committee for ratification. The provisions of an autonomous prefecture and county shall be reported to the standing committee of the provincial or autonomous regional people's congress for ratification, and to the NPC Standing Committee for the record.

Chapter II. Jurisdiction

Section One: Differentiated Jurisdiction

Article 18. Unless otherwise stipulated in this Law, the ground-level people's court is competent to rule on the first instance of civil cases.

Article 19. The intermediate people's court is competent to rule on the first instance of the following cases

(1) Major cases involving foreigners;

(2) Cases of great impact within its jurisdiction;

(3) Cases determined by the Supreme People's Court as coming under its jurisdiction.

Article 20. The Higher People's Court is competent to rule on the first instance of civil cases having great impact within its jurisdiction.

Article 21. The Supreme People's Court is competent to rule on the first instance of the following civil cases

(1) Cases having great impact nationwide;

(2) Cases it deems necessary to try.

Section Two: Regional Jurisdiction

Article 22. A civil suit against a citizen comes under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the defendant is domiciled; where the defendant's domicile and regular abode is different, the case comes under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of his regular abode.

A civil suit against an institution or any other organization comes under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the defendant is registered.

When the domiciles and regular abodes of several defendants in the same civil suit come under the jurisdiction of two or more people's courts, they all have the right of jurisdiction.

Article 23. The following civil suits come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the plaintiff is domiciled; where the plaintiff's domicile and regular abode is different, the case comes under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of his regular abode

(1) Actions concerning the identity of persons who do not reside within the domain of the PRC;

(2) Actions concerning the identity of persons whose whereabouts are unknown or who have been declared missing;

(3) Actions against persons undergoing re-education through labor;

(4) Actions against persons in prison.

Article 24. Actions arising from disputes over contracts come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of their signing or the place of their implementation.

Article 25. The two parties to a contract may specify in writing, the jurisdiction of the people's court of their choice with regard to the defendant's registered address, the place for honoring the contract, the place where the contract is signed, the plaintiff's registered address and the place of the tendered object, but they must not violate the provisions on differentiated jurisdiction and special jurisdiction in this Law.

Article 26. Actions arising from disputes over insurance contracts come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of the defendant's registered address, or at the place of the insured objects.

Article 27. Actions arising from disputes over negotiable instruments come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where the payment is to be made, or at the place where the defendant domiciled.

Article 28. Actions arising from disputes over contracts concerning rail, road, water, air or through transportation come under the jurisdiction of people's court at the place of departure, destination or the place where the defendant is registered.

Article 29. Actions against acts of encroachment come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where such acts are committed or at the place where the defendant is domiciled.

Articles 30. Actions claiming compensation for damage arising from rail, road, water and air accidents come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where such accidents occurred, or at the place where the vehicles or ships first arrived, or at the place where the aircraft first landed, or at the place where the defendant is registered.

Article 31. Actions claiming compensation for damage from ship collisions or other maritime accidents come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place where such collisions took place, or at the port where the damaged ship first arrived, or at the port where the ship responsible for the damage is detained or registered.

Article 32. Actions claiming salvage money come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of the salvage or at the port where the salvaged ship first arrived.

Article 33. Actions claiming common sea damage come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the port where the ship first arrived, or at the place where common sea damage is settled, or at the port where the journey ends.

Article 34. The following cases come under the special jurisdiction of the people's court provided for by this article:

(1) Actions started on account of disputes over immovable property come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of the immovable property;

(2) Actions started on account of disputes arising from harbor operations come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of the harbor;

(3) Actions started on account of disputes over inheriting property come under the jurisdiction of the people's court at the place of the residence of the benefactor at the time of his death or the place of the principal property.

Article 35. Where an action comes under the jurisdiction of two or more people's courts, the plaintiff may file a suit at any of them; where the plaintiff brings an action with two or more people's courts which are competent, the case shall be handled by the people's court that is the first to place the case on file.

Section Three: Transferred Jurisdiction and Designated Jurisdiction

Article 36. When a people's court becomes aware that the case it is handling does not come under its jurisdiction, it shall transfer the case to the competent people's court which shall handle the case. When a people's court considers that, according to the rules, it does not have the right of jurisdiction over a case referred to it, it shall request the superior people's court level to designate the jurisdiction and shall make no further transfer by itself.

Article 37. Where the competent people's court is unable to perform its right of jurisdiction on special accounts.

Where the right of jurisdiction is in dispute between people's courts, it shall be resolved through consultation by the two parties involved; where consultation has failed, they shall request their common superior people's court to designate the jurisdiction.

Article 38. Where a party has an objection to the right of jurisdiction after the case is accepted by the people's court, the party shall raise its objection at the time of submitting a written reply. The people's court shall examine the objection raised by the party. Where the objection is tenable, a ruling shall be made to transfer the case to the competent people's court; where the objection is untenable, it shall reject the objection.

Article 39. A superior people's court has the right to conduct as the first instance the trial of a civil case which is under the jurisdiction of an inferior people's court; it may also refer a civil case under its own jurisdiction of first instance to an inferior people's court for trial.

Where an inferior people's court considers that a civil case of first instance under its jurisdiction should be tried by a superior people's court, it may request that the case be referred to the latter.

Chapter III. Trial Group

Article 40. In civil cases of first instance in the people's court, justice is administered by a collegiate bench made up of either judges and assessors, or only of judges. Members of the collegiate bench must total an odd number.

In civil cases where simple procedures are applicable, justice is administered by one judge independently.

Assessors during the exercise of their functions have equal rights and obligations with the judges.

Article 41. In civil cases of second instance in the people's court, justice is administered by a collegiate bench made up of judges. Members of the collegiate bench must total an odd number. The trial de novo of a case returned shall be conducted by a newly organized collegiate bench in the trial court in accordance with the procedure of first instance.

A case originally of first instance shall be tried de novo by a newly organized collegiate bench in accordance with the procedure of first instance; a case originally of second instance shall be tried de novo by a newly organized collegiate bench in accordance with the procedure of second instance.

Article 42. The presiding judge of the collegiate bench shall be appointed by the president of the court or by a chief judge from among the judges; where the president of the court or the chief judge takes part in the trial, he shall act as the presiding judge.

Article 43. The principle of the minority being subordinate to the majority is followed in the deliberation of the collegiate bench. The minutes of the deliberation shall be made and signed by all members of the collegiate bench. Differing opinions must be recorded accurately.

Article 44. Judges shall handle cases impartially and in accordance with the law.

Judges may not accept dinner invitations or gifts from the litigants or their legal representatives.

The legal liability of judges, who take bribes, practice favouritism, engage in fraudulent practices and bend the law in administering justice, shall be pursued. In cases where such acts constitute crimes, the criminal liability involved shall be investigated pursuant to the law.

Chapter IV. Withdrawal

Article 45. In any of the following circumstances, a judge must withdraw from the exercise of his functions, and a litigant is entitled to challenge him in verbal or written form

(1) Where he is a litigant in the case or a close relative of a litigant or his legal representative;

(2) Where he has an interest in the case;

(3) Where he has other relations with a litigant, which may affect fairness in the administration of justice.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph are applicable to recording clerks, interpreters, expert witnesses and inspectors.

Article 46. In challenging, a litigant shall submit the reasons at the beginning of the hearing; where the cause of the withdrawal is learned after the hearing commences, the challenge may be raised before the conclusion of arguments in court.

Except for emergency measures required by the case, the person who is thus challenged shall temporarily stop exercising his functions in the case before a people's court makes a decision on the challenge.

Article 47. The withdrawal of a court president who serves as the presiding judge shall be decided by a judicial committee, while that of a judge shall be decided by the president; the withdrawal of other personnel shall be decided by the presiding judge.

Article 48. A people's court shall make a verbal or written decision on a litigant's application for withdrawal within three days of filing the application. If the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision, he may apply for reconsideration upon receipt of the decision. During the period of reconsideration, the person who is challenged shall not stop exercising his functions in the case. The people's court shall make a decision on reconsideration and notify the applicant accordingly within three days of receiving the application.

Chapter V. Litigant Participants

Section One: Litigants

Article 49. Citizens, legal persons and other organizations may act as litigants in civil proceedings.

A legal person shall be represented by his legal representative in the proceedings, while other organizations shall be represented by their principal leaders.

Article 50. A litigant has the right to entrust his representative with applying for withdrawal, collecting and presenting evidence, taking part in arguments, requesting mediation, filing an appeal and requesting execution.

A litigant may inspect materials pertaining to the case, and copy such materials and legal documents. The extent to which materials pertaining to the case can be inspected and copied, and the methods for doing so, shall be specified by the Supreme People's Court.

A litigant must exercise his rights in accordance with the law, observe procedural order, and implement any legally binding verdict, ruling and mediation agreement.

Article 51. Litigants of the two parties may reconcile of their own accord.

Article 52. The plaintiff may abandon or alter his request for litigation. The defendant may admit or retort the request, and has the right to file a counter suit.

Article 53. A joinder is a case in which the litigants of one or both parties involve two or more people with common litigant objects or objects of the same type, and which a people's court deems appropriate to handle together after obtaining the litigants' consent.

Where the litigants of one party in a joinder have common rights and obligations regarding the litigant objects, the litigant acts of one of them are binding on the others if the latter recognize the acts; where the litigants have no common rights or obligations regarding the litigant objects, the litigant acts of any of them are not binding on the others.

Article 54. The litigants of one party involving many people in a joinder may name a representative to handle the litigation. The representative's litigant acts are binding on the litigants he represents. However, the consent of the litigants thus represented must be obtained when it comes to changing the representative, abandoning the request for litigation, recognizing the other party's request for litigation and seeking reconciliation.

Article 55. Where a case exists in which the litigants are two or more in number with litigant objectives of the same type, but the exact number is still not determined at the time of litigation, the people's court may issue a public notice explaining the case and litigant request and notifying those who have the right to join the litigation to register with the people's court within a prescribed period.

The registered litigants may elect a representative; if they are unable to elect a representative, the court shall choose a representative through consultation with the registered litigants.

The litigation acts of the representative are binding on the litigants he represents. When the representative acts to alter or abandon the litigant request, recognize the litigant request of the other party, or reconcile, he must have the approval of the litigants he represents.

The judgment or ruling of the people's court is binding on all the registered individuals who have the right to join; it is also binding on those with the right to join who did not take part in the registration but apply to start an action within the prescribed litigation period.

Article 56. A third party who deems himself entitled to an independent request with regard to the litigant objectives of both parties has the right to start an action.

Where a third party is not entitled to an independent request as regards the litigant objectives in dispute, but is legally interested in the results of the civil proceedings, he may apply to take part in the action or the people's court may notify him to do so. A third

party who is ordered to accept civil responsibility by the people's court has the rights and obligations of a litigant.

Section Two: Litigant Representatives

Article 57. Where the litigant is incapable of litigant action, he may be represented by his legal representative; where he has no legal representatives, the people's court shall appoint a representative for him. Where the legal representatives shirk the representation responsibilities among themselves, the people's court shall appoint one of them to represent the litigant in the action.

Article 58. Litigants or legal representatives may entrust one or two persons to represent them in the action.

Lawyers, close relatives of the litigants, persons recommended by social organizations or the units where the litigants work, or other citizens approved by the people's court may be entrusted as litigant representatives.

Article 59. Where a representative is entrusted in the action, a letter of attorney signed or sealed by the party that entrusted the representative must be presented to the people's court.

The letter of attorney must list the items of trust and the limit of powers. Where the litigant representative acts to recognize, abandon or alter the litigant request, lodge a counter-charge or file an appeal, he must have the special authorization of the represented.

The letter of attorney from a Chinese citizen residing abroad must be certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the said country. If there is no Chinese embassy or consulate, it should be certified by the embassy or consulate of a third country that has diplomatic relations with China and then delivered to the Chinese embassy or consulate in that third country for certification, or it may be certified by a patriotic overseas Chinese organization.

Article 60. Where the power of a litigant representative is changed or removed, the litigant shall inform the people's court in writing, and the latter shall notify the litigant of the other party.

Article 61. Lawyers acting as litigant representatives or other representatives of the litigant have the rights to investigate, collect evidence and inspect the files of the case in question. The scope and procedure for inspecting the files of the case in question shall be formulated by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 62. The parties involved in divorce cases shall appear before the court, except those incapable of expressing themselves, even though there are litigant representatives; where the party is unable to appear before the court in special circumstances, he or she must present his or her views in written form to the people's court.

Chapter VI. Evidence

Article 63. Evidence falls into the following categories

(1) Documentary evidence;

(2) Material evidence;

(3) Video and audio material;

(4) Testimony of witnesses;

(5) Statement by litigants;

(6) Conclusion of expert corroborations;

(7) Records of inspection.

T SIZE="-1">None of the aforementioned evidence shall serve as the basis of establishment of facts before it has been ascertained and verified.

Article 64. Litigants are obliged to present evidence for their assertions.

The people's court shall investigate and collect evidence which litigants and their representatives cannot collect because of objective reasons, or evidence which the people's court deems necessary for the hearing.

The people's court shall, in accordance with the legal procedure, examine and verify the evidence fully and objectively.

Article 65. The people's court has the right to acquire evidence from the relevant units and individuals, and they shall not refuse it.

The people's court shall examine the documents provided as evidence by relevant units and individuals, distinguish the true from the false and determine validity.

Article 66. The evidence shall be displayed and cross-examined by the litigants at the court. Evidence involving state secrets, commercial secrets and personal secrets shall be kept confidential. Where it is necessary to display such evidence, it shall not be done in public hearing.

Article 67. The people's court shall acknowledge the validity of legal acts, legal facts and documents that have been notarized through legal procedure, except those that can be overturned by counter-evidence.

Article 68. Originals shall be presented as documentary or material evidence. Where there is indeed difficulty in presenting the originals, reproductions, photos, copies or abridged versions may be presented.

Documentary evidence in foreign languages must be accompanied by a Chinese translation.

Article 69. The people's court shall distinguish the true from the false video and audio material, and, in conjunction with other evidence, determine whether they can serve as the basis for the establishment of facts.

Article 70. Whoever knows something about the case in question has the obligation to testify at the hearing. Leaders of the relevant units shall support the witnesses to testify. Where the witness has difficulty in appearing at a hearing, he may present written testimony upon the permission of the people's court.

Those who are unable to express themselves accurately are unqualified to act as witnesses.

Article 71. The people's court shall examine the statement of a litigant in the light of the other evidence in the case and determine whether it can serve as the basis of establishment of a fact.

Where a litigant refuses to make a statement, it shall not affect the establishment of facts in the case by the people's court on the basis of the evidence.

Article 72. When the people's court needs to corroborate special problems, it shall refer them to a legal corroboratory department; where there is no legal corroboratory department, the people's court shall designate a corroboratory department.

The corroboratory department and its designated expert witness have the right to acquaint themselves with the files of the case requiring corroboration, and question the litigants and witnesses when necessary.

The corroboratory department and the expert witness shall submit a written conclusion of corroboration and sign or seal the corroboration bill. Where it is corroborated by an expert witness, the bill shall be sealed by the unit where he works to prove his identity.

Article 73. In inspecting material evidence or the scene, the inspector must produce the document of the people's court and invite the local basic organization or the litigant's unit to send people to take part. The litigant or an adult member of his family shall be present on the scene; if he refuses to be present, it shall not affect the inspection.

The relevant units and individuals, in accordance with the notice of the people's court, have the obligation to protect the scene and assist the inspection.

The inspector shall prepare a written record of the inspection and its results, which shall be signed or sealed by the inspector, the litigant and the invited participants.

Article 74. If the evidence should possibly be destroyed or lost, or if it would be difficult to obtain afterwards, the litigant participant may request the people's court for security of evidence; the people's court may also take security measures on its own initiative.

Chapter VII. Period and Service

Section I: Period

Article 75. The period includes the legal period and the period designated by the people's court.

The period is computed in hours, days, months and years. The hour and the day from which the period begins are not included therein.

When the final day of the period falls on a holiday, the first day after the holiday shall be the date of the expiration of the period.

The period does not include the time of travel. Litigant documents which have been collected by the post office prior to the expiration of the period are not deemed to be overdue.

Article 76. Where the time limit has been exceeded owing to force majeure or other legitimate grounds, the litigant may, within 10 days after the obstacle is removed, request an extension of the time limit; the people's court shall decide on granting such a request.

Section II: Service

Article 77. The service of litigant documents must be accompanied by a certificate of delivery upon which the addressee shall mark the date of delivery and sign or seal.

The delivery date marked by the addressee on the certificate of delivery is the date of service.

Article 78. Litigant documents shall be delivered directly to the addressee in person. When the addressee is a citizen and is absent, the documents may be delivered to an adult member of his family who lives with him, and he shall sign upon delivery; when the addressee is a legal person or other organizations, the legal representative of the legal person, the principal persons in charge of the organizations or persons delegated by them shall accept the delivery and sign on their behalf; when the addressee delegates a litigant representative, the documents shall be served upon this representative who shall sign upon delivery; and when the addressee already delegates a person on his behalf, the documents shall be served upon this person who shall sign upon delivery.

The date marked on the certificate of delivery by the adult member of the addressee's family who lives with him, by persons delegated by the legal person or other organizations, by the litigant representative or by other persons delegated to accept delivery is the date of delivery.

Article 79. When the addressee or the adult member of his family who lives with him rejects the service, the deliverer shall invite the representative of the relevant basic organization or others to the spot, give

an account of the matter, mark the particulars and the date of the refusal and sign or seal the certificate of delivery together with the witnesses, and leave the documents behind at the addressee's residence. This service is thus deemed to be effected.

Article 80. When it is difficult to effect a personal service, the litigant documents may be entrusted to another people's court for delivery or be delivered by mail. For a service by mail, the date of acceptance marked on the receipt of the mail is the date of service.

Article 81. When the addressee is a serviceman, the service shall be effected via the political organ of the unit at the regimental rank or above where he works.

Article 82. Where the addressee is in prison, the service shall be effected via the prison or reform-through-labor unit where he stays.

Where the addressee is placed under re-education through labor, the service shall be effected via the reformatory.

Article 83. The aforementioned organ or unit, upon receiving the litigant documents, must promptly forward them to the addressee, who shall sign on receipt. The date marked on the receipt is the date of delivery.

Article 84. Where the whereabouts of the addressee is unknown, or the service cannot be effected in the other ways provided for in this chapter, the service may be made by way of announcement. Sixty days after the date the announcement is made, the service is deemed to be effected.

The cause and details of the service by way of announcement shall be recorded in the files of the case.

Chapter VIII Mediation

Article 85. Where a civil case it has accepted can be mediated, the people's court shall resolve it through mediation on the basis of litigants' voluntary participation and by ascertaining the facts and distinguishing right from wrong.

Article 86. Mediation by the people's court may be presided over by a judge or a collegiate bench, and it shall be conducted on the spot as far as possible.

For the sake of mediation, the people's court may use simple ways to summon the litigants and witnesses to the court.

Article 87. The people's court may, according to the requirements of the case, invite the relevant units and people to assist in the mediation. The invited units and individuals shall assist the people's court in the mediation.

Article 88. Agreement in mediation must be reached between the two parties of their own accord and no coercion is allowed. Contents of the agreement shall not go against the law.

Article 89. The people's court shall prepare a bill of mediation for an agreement reached through mediation. The bill of mediation shall include the request of litigation, facts of the case and the results of the mediation.

The bill of mediation shall be signed by the judge and the recording clerk, sealed by the people's court and delivered to the litigants.

The bill of mediation becomes legally effective after it has been delivered to the litigants and signed by them.

Article 90. A bill of mediation prepared by the people's court may not be necessary when agreement of mediation is reached for the following cases

(1) Divorce cases in which the parties are reconciled through mediation;

(2) Adoption cases settled through mediation;

(3) Cases that become effective immediately; and

(4) Other cases for which bills of mediation are not necessary.

Where a bill of mediation is not necessary, the agreement shall be recorded and become legally effective after being signed or sealed by the litigants of the two parties, the judge and the recording clerk.

Article 91. Where mediation has failed to reach agreement or one party goes back on his word before the delivery of the bill of mediation, the people's court shall make an adjudication promptly.

Chapter IX. Custody of Property and Prior Execution

Article 92. For cases in which the act of the litigant of one party or the other makes it impossible or hard to execute the judgment, the people's court may rule for custody of property upon the application of the adverse litigant; where the litigant does not make such an application, the people's court may rule for custody of property when necessary.

In deciding to take measures for custody of property, the people's court may order the applicant to provide a guarantee; where he refuses to do so, his application shall be rejected.

Upon accepting the litigant's request for custody of property, the people's court must, in urgent cases, make a ruling within 48 hours. A ruling on the custody of property shall be executed immediately.

Article 93. In urgent cases, the party concerned whose interests are at stake, and whose legitimate rights and interests may be damaged beyond remedy

if no application for custody of property is filed immediately, may apply for custody of property with the people's court before filing an action. The applicant shall provide a guarantee; where he refuses to do so, his application shall be rejected.

Upon accepting a request, the people's court shall make a ruling on measures for custody of property within 48 hours and start execution immediately.

If the applicant fails to file an action within 15 days after the people's court takes measures for custody of property, the people's court shall lift the custody.

Article 94. Custody of property is confined to the scope of litigant request or to the property or articles related to the case in question.

Custody of property shall include seal-up, distrain, freezing and other measures provided by law.

After freezing the property, the people's court shall immediately notify the person whose property is subject to the action.

Property that has already been frozen shall not be distrained or frozen for a second time.

Article 95. Where the applying party provides guarantee, the people's court shall immediately lift the custody of property.

Article 96. If there is a mistake in the application, the applicant shall compensate the applying party for the loss in property incurred from the custody.

Article 97. In the following cases, the people's court may make a ruling for prior execution in accordance with the litigant's request

(1) Claiming alimony, costs of support or upbringing, pensions for the disabled and medical expenses;

(2) Claiming labour remuneration;

(3) Other urgent circumstances that require prior execution.

Article 98. The people's court's ruling for prior execution shall meet the following conditions

(1) The rights and obligations between the litigants are clear and the applicant's livelihood or business operation would be seriously affected if no prior execution is enforced;

(2) The applying party is capable of fulfilling the ruling.

The people's court may order the applicant to provide a guarantee; where he refuses to do so, his application shall be rejected. The applicant who loses in the suit shall compensate the other for the loss in property incurred from the custody of property.

Article 99. Where the litigant protests against the ruling for custody of property or prior execution, he may apply for reconsideration; during the reconsideration, the execution of the ruling shall not stop.

Chapter X. Coercive Measures against Hindrance to Civil Actions

Article 100. The people's court may summon coercively a defendant who must appear at the hearing, but has refused to do so without proper reason after two summons.

Article 101. The litigant participant and others shall abide by the rules of the court.

In dealing with the people who violate the rules of the court, the people's court may admonish them to leave the court, fine or detain them.

In dealing with the people who stir up a noisy uproar in court, assault the court, insult, slander, threaten and beat the judges, thus seriously disrupting the order of the court, the people's court shall subject them to criminal liability according to law; if the offence committed is not a serious one, the persons involved shall be fined or detained.

Article 102. If the litigant participant or others commit any of the following acts, the people's court may, according to the gravity of the case, fine or detain them; where the act constitutes an offence, they shall be subjected to criminal liability according to law

(1) Perjury and destruction of important evidence in order to hinder the people's court from trying a case;

(2) Obstructing witnesses to testify by resorting to the methods of violence, threat and bribery, or instructing, bribing and coercing others to falsify evidence;

(3) Concealment, transfer, sale or destruction of the property that has been sealed up or distrained, or property that has been checked and sorted out and has been ordered for safekeeping; and transfer of property that has been frozen;

(4) Insulting, slandering, framing, beating or retaliating in revenge against a judicial officer, litigant participant, witness, translator, expert witness, inspector or assistant in execution;

(5) Obstructing judicial officers in exercising their functions with violence, threats or by other means;

(6) Refusal to carry out the people's court's decisions and rulings that have already become legally effective.

In dealing with a unit that has committed one of the acts prescribed in the previous sections, the people's court may fine or detain its principal responsible person or the person directly responsible for the act; where the act constitutes an offence, he shall be subjected to criminal liability according to law.

Article 103. If a unit which is obliged to assist in investigation and execution commits one of the following acts, the people's court shall order it to carry out its assistance obligations and, in addition, may fine it

(1) Refusal or attempt by the relevant unit to hinder the people's court from carrying out investigations to

collect evidence;

(2) After receiving a notice from the people's court requesting assistance in execution, banks, credit cooperatives and other deposit-taking establishments refuse to assist in investigation, to freeze or to transfer deposits;

(3) After receiving a notice from the people's court requesting assistance in execution, a relevant unit refuses to assist in detaining the income of the person concerned and in handling the transfer of relevant property rights, relevant negotiable instrument or other certificates;

(4) Other acts of refusing to assist in execution.

In dealing with a unit that commits one of the acts prescribed in the previous sections, the people's court may fine its principal responsible person or the person directly responsible for the act; it may also put forward judicial proposals to supervisory organs or other relevant organs to take disciplinary action against such a unit.

Article 104. The fine is 1,000 yuan Renminbi at most for individuals and 1,000 yuan Renminbi at least, and 30,000 yuan at most for units.

The time limit of detention is 15 days at most.

The people's court shall commit the detainee to the public security organ for supervision. During the detention, if the detainee admits his error and repents, the people's court may decide to lift the detention ahead of time.

Article 105. Coercive summons, fines or detention must be approved by the president of the people's court.

Subpoena shall be issued for coercive summons.

Fines and detention shall be accompanied by a written decision. The party may contest the decision and request a superior people's court to reconsider it. During the period of reconsideration, the execution of the decision shall not stop.

Article 106. Decision on the adoption of compulsory measures against obstruction of proceedings shall be made only by the people's court. Any unit or individual that extorts repayment of a debt by illegal detention of a person or illegal distrainment of property shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to the law, or shall be punished with detention or a fine.

Chapter XI. Litigation Fees

Article 107. In civil proceedings, the litigant shall pay a fee for acceptance of the case in accordance with regulations. In cases involving property, other litigation fees shall be paid according to regulations, in addition to the fee for acceptance of the case.

Where there is difficulty in paying the litigation fees, the litigants may, in accordance with the regulations, apply to the people's court for postponement, reduction or exemption of the fine.

Methods of collecting the litigation fees shall be worked out separately.

Part Two Procedure of Trial

Chapter XII. Ordinary Procedure of First Instance

Section One: Starting an Action and Accepting a Case

Article 108. In starting an action, the following conditions must be met

(1) The plaintiff is a citizen, a legal person or other organization;

(2) There is an explicit plaintiff;

(3) There are concrete litigant requests, facts and reasons;

(4) The suit is a civil proceeding within the scope of jurisdiction of a people's court and under the jurisdiction of the people's court to which the suit is filed.

Article 109. In starting an action, the litigant shall present a written indictment to the people's court with copies matching the number of the defendants.

Where there is difficulty in writing an indictment, the litigant may file a suit in verbal form which the people's court shall record and notify the adverse litigant.

Article 110. The written indictment shall contain the following

(1) The name, sex, age, nationality, occupation, work unit and address of the litigant, the name and address of the legal person or other organization, and the name and position of the principal responsible person;

(2) The litigant's requests and the facts and reasons on which the requests are based;

(3) Evidence and its source, and the name and address of the witness.

Article 111. The people's court shall accept and handle any actions that meet the conditions specified in Article 108; and it shall also handle the following actions according to their different circumstances

(1) Where the case falls into the category of administrative litigation according to the Administrative Procedure Law, the plaintiff shall be informed to start an administrative litigation;

(2) When two parties concerned are no longer permitted by law to start an action with the people's court because they have already voluntarily reached a written agreement on settling their contract dispute through arbitration by an arbitrator, the litigant shall be informed to make the arbitration request;

(3) Where there is a dispute which, according to law, should be handled by other organs, the plaintiff shall be informed to present the case to the relevant organ;

(4) If a people's court has no jurisdiction over a certain case, the litigant shall be informed to present the case to the people's court that has the jurisdiction over the case.

(5) Where the litigant starts a second action for a case in which a judgment of ruling has already become legally effective, the litigant shall be informed that the case shall be dealt with as an appeal, with the exception of any case in which the people's court has approved the withdrawal of the suit; (6) Where an action is started within the limitation for which no suit is allowed according to law, it shall not be accepted;

(7) A new suit for divorce or for termination of adoption relations shall not be accepted if it is filed within six months without new situations or reasons after a judgment of no-divorce is made or the litigants decide to make up through mediation, or after a judgment on maintaining the adoption relations is made or the litigants decide to maintain the adoption relations through mediation.

Article 112. Upon receiving a written or verbal indictment, the people's court shall file a case and inform the litigants of the acceptance of the case within seven days where it meets the conditions for acceptance and hearing after examination; where it does not meet the conditions for acceptance and hearing, the people's court shall inform the plaintiff of this within seven days and explain the reason. If the plaintiff is not satisfied with the court decision, he may appeal.

Section Two: Pre-Hearing Preparations

Article 113. The people's court shall, within five days of filing a case, send a copy of the indictment to the defendant; the defendant shall, within 15 days of receiving the copy, present a written reply.

The people's court shall, within five days of receiving the defendant's reply, send a copy of the reply to the plaintiff. Where the defendant does not present a written reply, it shall not affect the hearing by the people's court.

Article 114. After the people's court decides to accept a case, it should inform the litigants of their rights and obligations, either verbally or in its notice of accepting the case and notice to the defendants.

Article 115. The litigants should be informed of the composition of the collegiate bench within three days of deciding the composition.

Article 116. The judge must seriously peruse the litigant files, make investigation and study, and collect necessary evidence.

Article 117. The investigator sent by the people's court shall show the certificate of identity to the investigated.

Records of the investigation shall be checked by the investigated and signed or sealed by the investigated and the investigator.

Article 118. Where necessary, the people's court may entrust a people's court in another place with the investigation.

In entrusting the investigation, the people's court must present the items and requirements in clear-cut terms. The entrusted people's court may take the initiative to make supplementary investigation.

Upon receiving the letter of attorney, the entrusted people's court shall complete the investigation within 30 days; where it cannot be done for one reason or another, the entrusted people's court shall inform the trustor in writing within the above-mentioned time limit.

Article 119. Where the litigants who must take part in the proceedings together do not do so, the people's court shall notify them to take part in the proceedings.

Section Three: Hearing

Article 120. All civil cases in the people's court shall be heard in public except those involving state secrets, personal shameful secrets or those otherwise provided for by law.

Divorce cases and cases involving commercial secrets may be heard in private if the litigants so request.

Article 121. In civil proceedings, the people's court shall, where necessary and possible, dispatch itinerant tribunals to hear cases on the spot.

Article 122. In civil proceedings, the people's court shall notify the litigants and other litigant participants three days before the hearing. For public hearing, the people's court shall make public the names of the litigants, the subject matter of the case and the time and place of the court session.

Article 123. Before the hearing, the recording clerk shall ascertain whether the litigants and other litigant participants are present, and announce the discipline of the court.

At the opening of the hearing, the presiding judge shall check the litigants, announce the subject matter of the case, announce the names of the judicial officers and the recording clerk, inform the litigants of their litigant rights and obligations, and inquire whether they wish to apply for withdrawal.

Article 124. The court investigation proceeds in the following order

(1) Hear litigants' statements;

(2) Inform the witnesses of their rights and obligations; interrogate the witnesses and read aloud the testimony of the witnesses who fail to appear before the court;

(3) Display documentary evidence, material evidence and video and audio information;

(4) Read aloud the conclusion of the expert corroboration;

(5) Read aloud the written record of the inspection.

Article 125. The litigant may present new evidence at the court. With the permission of the court, the litigant may question the witnesses, the expert witness and the inspector.

The litigant may request another expert corroboration, investigation or inspection. It is up to the people's court to decide whether the request is permitted or not.

Article 126. Where the plaintiff adds litigant requests, the defendant raises a counter-claim and a third party raises a litigant request related to the case in question, they may be heard in combination.

Article 127. The court debate proceeds in the following order

(1) Speech by the plaintiff and his litigant representatives;

(2) Reply by the defendant and his litigant representative;

(3) Speech or reply by the third party and his litigant representative;

(4) Debate between the two parties.

At the conclusion of the debate, the presiding judge asks first the plaintiff, then the defendant and then the third party, for their final say.

Article 128. After the conclusion of the debate in the court, the court shall render a judgment according to law. Mediation may be made before a judgment is rendered. If mediation fails, a judgment shall be pronounced promptly.

Article 129. Where the plaintiff refuses to appear before the court without proper reason after being summoned by the people's court, or he leaves the court session halfway without permission, the court may deal with it as a case revolved; if it is a counter-claim by the defendant, the court may render a judgment by default.

Article 130. Where the defendant refuses to appear before the court without proper reason after being summoned by the people's court, or he leaves the court session halfway without permission, the court may render a judgment by default.

Article 131. Where the plaintiff applies to revolve the action before the judgment is pronounced, the people's court shall rule whether it is permitted.

Where the people's court rules against resolving the action, and the plaintiff refuses to appear before the court without proper reason after being summoned, the people's court may render a judgment by default.

Article 132. A hearing shall be postponed in any of the following circumstances

(1) Where the litigant and other litigant participants who must appear before the court are absent with proper reason;

(2) Where the litigant suddenly submits a request to challenge the hearing;

(3) Where a new witness is to be summoned, new exhibits are to be produced, a recorroboration or reinspection is required or a supplementary investigation is deemed necessary;

(4) Other circumstances that entail a postponement of the hearing.

Article 133. The clerk shall enter all the proceedings of the court session in the record, which shall be signed by the judges and the recording clerk.

The court record shall be read aloud before the court, or the court may inform the litigants and other litigant participants to peruse the record there and then or within five days. They have the right to request an addition or a correction where they find an omission or error in their statements. If the correction is not made, their request shall be recorded on the files.

The court record shall be signed or sealed by the litigants and other litigant participants; if anyone of them refuses to do so, it shall be marked and put into the files.

Article 134. The people's court shall publish the judgments of all its cases heard either in public or in private.

Where a judgment is pronounced at the hearing, a copy of the written judgment shall be delivered within 10 days; where a judgment is pronounced on a fixed date, a copy of the written judgment shall be issued immediately after the pronouncement.

When a judgment is pronounced, the litigant must be informed of his right to appeal, of the time limitation, and of the competent appellant court.

When a judgment is pronounced in a divorce case, the litigants must be informed that neither shall marry again before the judgment becomes legally effective.

Article 135. A case that is heard by the people's court in accordance with the ordinary procedure shall be concluded within six months from the day the case is filed. In special circumstances the time limitation may be extended by another six months with the approval of the president of the court; approval from the people's court at the higher level is needed for further extension.

Section Four: Suspension and Termination of an Action

Article 136. A litigant action shall be suspended in any of the following circumstances

(1) Where the litigant of one party dies, and it is necessary to wait for his heir to indicate whether or not he wants to take part in the proceedings;

(2) Where the litigant of one party loses his capacity to conduct litigation, and a legal representative is yet to be determined; (3) Where the legal person or other organization serving as litigant of one party is terminated, and a person to undertake its responsibility and obligation is not yet determined;

(4) Where the litigant of one party cannot take part in the proceedings because of force majeure;

(5) Where the case in question must base itself on the outcome of another case whose hearings have not yet concluded; and

(6) Where there are other circumstances which entail suspension of the action.

The litigant procedure shall resume after the cause of the suspension is removed.

Article 137. A litigant action shall terminate in any of the following circumstances

(1) Where the plaintiff dies without an heir, or the heir renounces his litigant right;

(2) Where the defendant dies without leaving any property or there is no person to undertake the obligation;

(3) Where the litigant of one party dies in a divorce case; and

(4) Where the litigant of one party dies in a case involving the claiming of alimony or costs of support or upbringing, or termination of relations of adoption.

Section Five: Judgment and Ruling

Article 138. A written judgment shall clearly state the following

(1) The subject matter of the case, the litigant's request and the facts and reasons in dispute;

(2) The facts established by the judgment, the reasons and the law applied;

(3) The results of the judgment and the bearer of the litigation costs; and

(4) The time limit for appeal and the competent appellant court. The written judgment shall be signed by the judge and the recording clerk, and sealed by the people's court.

Article 139. Where part of the facts involved in a case under hearing is clear, the people's court may make a judgment first on that part.

Article 140. A ruling applies to the following scope

(1) Not accepting the case;

(2) Regarding objections on the ground of jurisdiction;

(3) Rejecting a suit;

(4) Regarding custody of property and prior execution;

(5) Approving or disapproving the revolving of a suit;

(6) Suspending or terminating an action;

(7) Adding an omission or correcting an error in the written judgment;

(8) Suspending or terminating execution;

(9) Not enforcing a verdict reached through arbitration;

(10) Not enforcing credit documents which a notary public has granted the effectiveness of forcible execution; and

(11) Other items which require solution by a ruling.

An appeal may be filed against a ruling in Items 1, 2 and 3.

A written ruling shall be signed by the judge and the recording clerk, and sealed by the people's court. A verbal ruling shall be entered in the record.

Article 141. A judgment or ruling by the Supreme People's Court and a judgment or ruling which permits no appeal according to law or against which no appeal is filed beyond the limitation becomes a legally effective judgment or ruling.

Chapter XIII. Simple Procedure

Article 142. Provisions in this chapter apply where a basic people's court and the tribunals dispatched by it handle simple civil cases in which the facts are clear, and rights and obligations are clearly specified, and which are not very controversial.

Article 143. In simple civil cases, the plaintiff may indict verbally.

The litigants of the two parties may simultaneously apply for a solution of their dispute at a basic people's court or a tribunal dispatched by it. The basic people's court or the tribunals dispatched by it may hear the case promptly, or fix a date for the hearing.

Article 144. In handling simple cases, the basic people's court and the tribunals dispatched by it may employ simple means to summon the litigants and witnesses at any time.

Article 145. In simple civil cases, justice is administered by one judge independently, not subject to the restrictions provided by Articles 122, 124 and 127 of this law.

Article 146. The hearing of a case which the people's court can handle with simple procedure should be concluded within three months from the day it is placed on file.

Chapter XIV. Procedure of Second Instance

Article 147. A litigant contesting a judgment of first instance rendered by a local people's court has the right to appeal to the people's court at the next higher level within 15 days upon the delivery of the court verdict.

Article 148. A written appeal shall be submitted in making an appeal. A written appeal shall include the name of the litigant, the name of the legal person and its legal representative, or the names of other organizations and the names of their principal persons

in charge, the name of the trial court, the serial number and the subject matter of the case, the requests and reasons.

Article 149. A written appeal shall be submitted to the trial court with copies corresponding to the number of adverse litigants.

Where a litigant appeals directly to the people's court sitting as the court of second instance, the latter shall, within five days, send copies of the appeal to the trial court.

Article 150. The trial court shall, within five days of receiving the appeal, send a copy to the adverse litigant, who shall submit a written reply within 15 days of receiving the copy. The people's court shall, within five days of receiving the written reply, send a copy to the appellor. Where a litigant does not submit a reply, it shall not affect the court hearing.

The trial court, having received the appeal and the reply, shall report this to the people's court of second instance together with all the files and exhibits within five days.

Article 151. The court of second instance shall examine facts and laws relevant to the above- mentioned appeal.

Article 152. A collegiate bench shall be formed by the court of second instance for the appellant case to hold a hearing. Where the collegiate bench, having perused the files and made investigation, questioned the litigants and checked the facts, deems it unnecessary to hold a hearing, it may render a judgment without a hearing.

In trying an appellant case, the people's court of second instance may conduct the hearing in its own court, or at the place of the occurrence of the case, or the place of the trial court.

Article 153. Having held hearings, the people's court of second instance shall deal with the appellant cases according to the following circumstances

(1) Render a judgment rejecting the appeal and affirming the original judgment where the ascertainment of facts in the original judgment is found to be clear and the application of law is found to be correct;

(2) Render a new judgment according to law where the application of law is in a way erroneous;

(3) Reverse the original judgment by a ruling and turn the case back to the trial court for a retrial or render a new judgment after further ascertainment of facts where the original judgment is found to be based on unclear facts and insufficient evidence;

(4) Reverse the original judgment by a ruling and turn the case back to the original trial court for a retrial where the original judgment is found to have violated legal procedure, and may have prejudiced the passing of a correct judgment.

The litigants may appeal against a judgment or a ruling derived from the retrial.

Article 154. The people's court of second instance shall use ruling in all cases of appealing against a ruling of first instance.

Article 155. The people's court of second instance may resolve appellant cases through mediation. Where agreement is reached through mediation, a bill of mediation shall be prepared, to be signed by the judge and the recording clerk and sealed by the people's court. Upon the service of the bill of mediation, the judgment of the trial court shall be regarded as reversed.

Article 156. Where the appellor requests to revoke the appeal before the people's court of second instance pronounces a judgment, it shall be decided by a ruling of the people's court of second instance.

Article 157. In addition to the provisions of this chapter, the ordinary procedure of first instance applies where the people's court of second instance tries appellant cases.

Article 158. A judgment or ruling by the people's court of second instance is one of final instance.

Article 159. The people's court shall complete handling resolved appellant cases within three months after they have been placed on files for second instance. Where an extension of time is needed because of special situation, the approval shall be granted by the president of the court.

The people's court, in handling appellant cases for which a ruling has been made, shall make a final ruling within 30 days after they have been placed on files for second instance.

Chapter XV. Special Procedure

Section One: General Provisions

Article 160. Provisions of this chapter apply where the people's court handles cases regarding the credentials of electors, the pronouncement of the death of a missing person, the ascertainment of a citizen's incapacity or restriction of his capacity for civil acts, or the ascertainment of ownerless property. Where no provision is laid in this chapter, the relevant provisions of this law and other laws apply.

Article 161. The system of one instance, the final, shall be followed in the cases handled according to the procedure prescribed in this chapter. Cases regarding the credentials of electors or important, complicated cases shall be tried by a collegiate bench made up of judges; other cases shall be tried by one judge independently.

Article 162. Where the people's court finds the case being handled according to the procedure prescribed in this chapter is a dispute over civil rights and interests, it shall make a ruling to terminate the special procedure and inform the interested parties to start a separate action.

Article 163. The handling of cases which can be dealt with by the people's court with special procedure shall be completed within 30 days, starting from the day they were placed on file, or within 30 days after the period of their announcements expire. Where an extension is necessary because of a special situation, the approval shall be made by the president of the court. Cases of handling the credentials of electors are exceptions.

Section Two: Cases Regarding the Register of Electors

Article 164. A citizen who contests the decision of an election committee as to his objection to the credentials of electors may file a suit at the basic people's court at the place of the electoral district five days prior to the election.

Article 165. The people's court, having accepted a case regarding the credentials of electors, must hold a hearing before the election.

At the hearing, the suitor, the representative of the election committee, and the relevant citizen must be present.

A written judgment of the people's court shall be served promptly on the election committee and the suitor, and the relevant citizens shall be notified, prior to the election day.

Section Three: Cases of Pronouncing Missing Persons, or Pronouncing Death

Article 166. An interested party shall apply for the pronouncement of the death of a person, who has disappeared for two years, at the basic people's court at the place of final residence of the missing person.

The written application shall clearly state the facts and time of the disappearance and the requests, accompanied by a written certificate issued by a public security organ or other organs confirming the fact of the missing citizen in question.

Article 167. An interested party shall apply for the pronouncement of the death of a person, who has disappeared for four years, or who has disappeared for two years after an accident, or whose whereabouts is unknown after an accident, at the basic people's court at the place of final residence of the missing person, with relevant authorities' proof that the citizen in question cannot possibly survive.

The written application shall clearly state the facts and time of the disappearance and the requests, accompanied by a written certificate issued by a public security organ or other organs confirming the fact of the missing citizen in question.

Article 168. The people's court, having accepted a case of pronouncing the death or disappearance of a person, shall issue a public notice to look for the person. The period of the public notice for a missing person is three months; that of the death of a person is 1 year. Where a person is missing in an accident and a a relevant organization has ascertained the impossibility of survival, the period of the public notice is three months.

Upon the expiration of the period of the public notice, the people's court, on the basis of whether the fact of the death of the person or missing is confirmed or not, shall make a judgment to pronounce the person dead or missing or to reject the application.

Article 169. Where a person who has been pronounced dead or missing reappears and he himself or an interested party applies, the people's court shall render a new judgment and reverse the previous judgment.

Section Four: Cases of Ascertaining Citizens' Incapacity or Restricted Capacity for Civil Action

Article 170. An application for ascertainment of a citizen's incapacity or restricted capacity for civil action shall be raised by a close relative or other interested party at the basic people's court in the place of the residence of the citizen in question.

The written application shall clearly state the facts about and the grounds for the incapacity or restricted capacity of the citizen in question.

Article 171. Where necessary, the people's court, having accepted the application for ascertainment of a citizen's incapacity or restricted capacity for civil action, shall conduct a corroboration on the citizen in question. Where the applicant has provided a conclusion of expert corroboration, the people's court shall examine the conclusion.

Article 172. Where necessary, in handling a case of ascertainment of a citizen's incapacity and restricted capacity for civil action, shall appoint a close relative of the citizen in question other than the applicant as his representative. Where the close relatives shirk the responsibility, the people's court shall appoint one of them as representative. The people's court shall ask the opinion of the citizen in question if his health permits.

If the people's court, in handling the case, concludes that the application is based on facts, it shall make a judgment ascertaining the citizen's incapacity and restricted capacity for civil action; if it finds that the application it not based on facts, it shall reject the application.

Article 173. Where the people's court, in accordance with an application by the person who has been ascertained to be incapable for civil action or to have only restricted capacity, or by his guardian, confirms that the cause of the said citizen's incapacity or restricted capacity has been removed, it shall make a new judgment and reverse the original judgment.

Section Five: Cases for Ascertaining Ownerless Property

Article 174. An application for ascertaining property without an owner shall be submitted by a citizen, a legal person, or other organization to the basic people's court at the place of the property.

The written application shall clearly state the type and quantity of the property as well as the reasons for applying for ascertaining the ownerless property.

Article 175. The people's court, having examined and checked the application, shall put up a public notice for one year for people to claim the property. Upon expiration of the period, the people's court shall render a judgment ascertaining the property as ownerless and proclaiming it the property of the state or the collective.

Article 176. Where the original owner or a legitimate heir appears after the property has been ascertained as ownerless and claims the property within the time limitation for starting an action as provided in the General Principles of the civil law, the people's court, having examined and the claim and found it true to fact, shall render a new judgment and reverse the original judgment.

Chapter XVI. Procedure of Judicial Supervision

Article 177. Where the president of a people's court at any level finds any definite error in a legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by the said court and deems a retrial necessary, he shall submit the matter to the judicial committee for deliberation and decision.

The Supreme People's Court has the right to conduct a re-trial on its own initiative or instruct a local people's court at any level to start a retrial where a definite error is found in a legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by the said people's court. The same right is enjoyed by a superior people's court in regard to a legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by an inferior people's court containing an error.

Article 178. A litigant who believes that there is a definite error in a legally effective judgment or ruling, may appeal to the trial court or a superior people's court without the judgment or ruling being prevented from execution.

Article 179. The people's court should conduct a trial de novo if the litigant's appeal conforms to the following circumstances

(1) New evidence is found to reverse the original judgment or ruling;

(2) The crucial evidence in the original judgment or ruling is found to be insufficient;

(3) The application of law in the original judgment or ruling is found to be erroneous;

(4) The people's court violates the legal procedure that may have prejudiced the passing of a correct judgment or ruling;

(5) The judge is found to have taken bribes, conducted malpractice out of personal considerations, and misused the law in rendering judgment during the trial of the case.

The people's court shall reject the appeal that does not conform to the aforesaid stipulations.

Article 180. The litigant may lodge an appeal against the results of a mediation that has become legally effective if he provides the evidence to prove that the mediation was reached against his free will or the agreed content in the mediation is illegal. Should this be found to be true after re-examination, the people's court shall conduct a trial de novo.

Article 181. The litigant may not lodge an appeal against a legally effective verdict that terminates matrimony.

Article 182. The litigant shall lodge his appeal within two years after the judgment or the ruling becomes legally effective.

Article 183. Where a trial de novo of a case has been decided according to the procedure of judicial supervision, the execution of the original judgment shall be suspended by a ruling. The ruling shall be signed by the president of the court and sealed by the people's court.

Article 184. The trial de novo of a case, conducted by the people's court according to the procedure of judicial supervision, shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure of first instance where the legally effective judgment or ruling is rendered by the court of first instance. The litigant may appeal against the judgment or ruling. Where the legally effective judgment or ruling is rendered by the court of second instance, the trial de novo shall be conducted according to the procedure of second instance, and the judgment or ruling derived therefrom shall be a legally effective one. The trial de novo of a case brought up and adjudicated by a superior people's court according to the procedure of judicial supervision shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure of second instance, and the judgment or ruling derived therefrom shall be a legally effective one.

The people's court shall form another collegiate bench when hearing a retrial case.

Article 185. The Supreme People's Procuratorate shall lodge a protest against the legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by a people's court at any level, and a superior people's procuratorate against the legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by a subordinate people's court according to the procedure of judicial supervision, when the following circumstances are found

(1) The crucial evidence in the original judgment or ruling is found to be insufficient;

(2) The application of law in the original judgment or ruling is found to be erroneous;

(3) The people's court violates the legal procedure that may have prejudiced the passing of a correct judgment or ruling;

(4) The judge is found to have taken bribes, conducted malpractice out of personal considerations, and misused the law in rendering judgment during the trial of the case.

Where a local people's procuratorate at any level finds that the legally effective judgment or ruling rendered by the people's court of its corresponding level comes under one of the circumstances prescribed in the previous sections, it shall submit the case to a superior people's procuratorate for lodging a protest in accordance with the procedure of judicial supervision.

Article 186. The people's court shall conduct a trial de novo of a case protested by the people's procuratorate.

Article 187. Where the people's procuratorate decides to protest the judgment or ruling rendered by the people's court, it shall prepare a written protest.

Article 188. Where the people's court conducts a trial de novo of a case protested by the people's procuratorate, it shall notify the people's procuratorate to send its personnel to the court session.

Chapter XVII. Supervising and Pressing Procedure

Article 189. A creditor may request the competent people's court at the grassroots level to issue an order of payment to a debtor, ordering the latter to repay the money or negotiable securities owed to the creditor, provided the following conditions are met

(1) There are no other disputes involving debts between the creditor and the debtor; and

(2) The order of payment can be sent and reach the debtor.

The letter of request shall specify the amount of money or negotiable securities to be paid and the facts and proof on which the request is based.

Article 190. The people's court shall, within five days of the receipt of the request, notify the creditor whether it accepts the case or not.

Article 191. Where the people's court finds the creditor's rights and the debtor's liabilities clear and legal, after investigating the facts and proof provided by the creditor, it shall issue an order of payment to the debtor within 15 days of the acceptance of the request from the creditor; where the request is untenable, it shall render a ruling rejecting the request.

The debtor shall pay off the debt within 15 days after the receipt of the order of payment or raise objections in writing to the people's court.

Where the debtor fails to raise objections in writing and refuses to carry out the order of payment, the creditor may request the people's court to execute the order.

Article 192. The people's court shall render a ruling to terminate the supervising and pressing procedure upon receipt of the objection raised by the debtor in writing, and, with it, the order of payment shall automatically cease to be in force and the creditor may bring a suit.

Chapter XVIII. Procedure of Publicizing Pressing Notice

Article 193. A holder of an instrument which is negotiable in accordance with the regulations and which has been stolen, lost or destroyed may request the issuance of a pressing notice from a grassroots people's court at the place where the instrument is to be paid. This chapter shall also be applicable to other matters for which the issuance of pressing notices may be requested in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The applicant for the issuance of a pressing notice shall submit a letter of application to the people's court, specifying the amount, name of the issuer, name of the holder, and other principal elements of the instrument, and the reason and facts on which the application is based.

Article 194. The people's court shall, at the time it decides to accept the application, notify the payee of the instrument to stop payment and, within three days of the decision, issue a public notice urging interested parties to declare their rights. The period for the pressing notice shall be decided by the people's court in the light of the circumstances; however, it shall be at least 60 days.

Article 195. The payee of the instrument shall stop payment upon receipt of the stop-payment notice from the people's court until the termination of the pressing notice procedure.

Transfer of the rights of the instrument shall be null and void during the period in which the pressing notice is in force.

Article 196. An interested party shall declare its right to the people's court during the period in which the pressing notice is in force.

The people's court shall, upon receipt of the declaration from the interested party, render a ruling terminating the public summons procedure and shall notify the applicant and the payee.

The applicant requesting a pressing notice and the party declaring its right may each bring a suit in the people's court.

Article 197. If no declaration of rights is made, the people's court shall, at the request of the applicant, render a judgment invalidating the instrument. The judgment shall be publicly announced, and the payee shall be notified of the judgment. The applicant has the right to ask the payee to make payment on the day the judgment is publicly announced.

Article 198. An interested party who cannot declare its right to the people's court before the judgment is rendered on legitimate reasons may, within a year from the date it becomes aware or should become aware of the judgment, bring a suit in the people's court which rendered the judgment.

Chapter XIX. Procedure of Bankrupt Legal Entity's Debt Payment

Article 199. Where a legal-person enterprise lacks the ability to repay the debt due for repayment because of serious losses, the creditor may apply to the people's court to declare the debtor bankrupt for debt repayment, and the debtor also may apply to the people's court to declare itself bankrupt for debt repayment.

Article 200. After rendering a ruling declaring the start of the bankruptcy and debt repayment procedure, the people's court shall notify the debtor and known creditors and issue a public notice.

Creditors who are in receipt of the notice shall declare their rights to the people's court within 30 days of the receipt of the notice; creditors who are not in receipt of the notice shall declare their rights within three months of the date of the public notice. The failure of the creditors to declare their rights within the prescribed period shall be regarded as a relinquishment of their rights.

Creditors may form a creditors' conference to discuss and approve the disposal of the bankrupt property, the distribution plans and the agreement of settlement.

Article 201. The people's court may set up a liquidation organization composed of personnel from the organs concerned. The liquidation organization is responsible for custody, liquidation, appraisal, disposal and distribution of bankruptcy assets. The liquidation organization may conduct civil activities according to law.

The liquidation organization is responsible to the people's court and reports its work to the latter.

Article 202. If a legal entity has reached a conciliatory agreement with its creditors, the people's court may, after approving the agreement, issue a public notice terminating the bankruptcy debt repayment process. The conciliatory agreement becomes effective on the day the public notice is issued.

Article 203. Banks and other creditors enjoy higher priority in impounding mortgages or other securities from insolvent debtors. If the value of the mortgage or other securities is greater than the debt, the portion in excess of the debt belongs to the assets for bankruptcy debt repayment.

Article 204. The assets for bankruptcy debt repayment shall be used in paying the bankruptcy fees first, and the remainder shall be used in repaying debts in the following order

(1) Wages and labor insurance expenses owed by the bankruptcy enterprise to workers and staff members

(2) Unpaid taxes; and

(3) Other bankruptcy creditors.

If the bankruptcy assets are not enough to repay all the debts in the order mentioned above, they shall be distributed proportionally.

Article 205. The debt repayment by a bankrupt legal entity is under the jurisdiction of the people's court in the locality of the legal entity.

Article 206. The bankruptcy debt repayment process for state-owned enterprises shall be governed by the Enterprise Bankruptcy Law of the People's Republic of China.

The provisions in this chapter are not applicable to any enterprise that is not a legal entity, nor are they applicable to self-employed workers, rural households working under contract, and private partnership.

Part Three Procedure of Execution

Chapter XX. General Provisions

Article 207. A legally effective civil judgment or ruling, and any part involving property in a criminal judgment or ruling, shall be executed by the trial court of first instance. Other legal documents to be executed by the people's court provided for by law shall be executed by the people's court in the place where the person concerned resides or the place where the property concerned is located.

Article 208. Where an outsider objects to the objectives of the execution in the course of the execution, the marshal shall make an examination according to law. The objection shall be rejected if it is groundless; however, if the objection is well-grounded, the president of the court shall approve the suspension of the execution. If a judgment or ruling is found to be wrong, it shall be handled according to the procedure of judicial supervision.

Article 209. The execution shall be performed by the marshal.

In executing a compulsory measure, the marshal shall produce a certificate before the person concerned, and enter the details of execution in a record which shall be signed or sealed by the relevant persons present.

Where necessary, the people's court at the basic level or the intermediate people's court may set up an executing organization. The functional duties of the executing organization shall be stipulated by the Supreme People's Court.

Article 210. Where the person or property concerned is in another place, the execution may be entrusted to a local people's court, which shall, within 15 days of receiving the letter, begin the execution and, after completing it, shall promptly write back the results of the execution to the trustor people's court. If the execution is not completed within 30 days, the entrusted people's court shall write the trustor people's court to keep the latter informed about the progress of the execution.

If the execution is not performed by the entrusted people's court within 15 days of receiving the letter of entrustment, the trustor people's court may request the higher-level people's court of the entrusted people's court to order the latter to perform the execution.

Article 211. Where the litigants of the two parties reconcile and reach agreement of their own accord in the course of the execution, the marshal shall enter the contents of the agreement in a record which shall be signed or sealed by the litigants of both parties.

Where the litigant of one party fails to carry out the agreement reached through reconciliation, the people's court may resume the execution of the original effective legal documents in accordance with the application of the litigant of the opposing party.

Article 212. Where the person concerned offers a guarantee to the people's court, with the agreement of the person applying for the execution, the people's court may decide, in the course of the execution, to temporarily put off the execution and temporarily extend the execution deadline. Where the person concerned still fails to carry out the agreement within the designated time limit, the people's court is entitled to execute the guaranty of the person concerned or the guarantor's property.

Article 213. Where the citizen who is the person concerned dies, his debt shall be repaid with his property. Where the legal person or other organization serving as the person concerned ceases to exist, the person acquiring the rights and undertaking the obligations shall carry out the commitments.

Article 214. Where the judgment, ruling and other legal documents on which basis the execution rests are revoked by the people's court due to errors found in them, the people's court shall make a ruling ordering the person who gains the property to return it and forcibly execute it if he refuses to do so.

Article 215. The stipulations in this book are applicable to the execution of the bill of mediation prepared by the people's court.

Chapter XXI. Request of Execution and Transfer of Execution

Article 216. The litigant must carry out a legally effective civil judgment or ruling. Where one party refuses to carry it out, the opposing litigant may request its execution at the people's court or the judge may transfer the matter to the marshal for execution.

The litigant must carry out the bill of mediation and other legal documents that should be executed by the people's court. Where one party refuses to carry it out, the opposing litigant may request its execution at the people's court.

Article 217. Where a litigant of one party fails to carry out a legally effective verdict rendered by an arbitration organ established according to law, the opposing litigant may ask for its execution at the competent people's court. The people's court accepting the request shall execute the verdict.

The people's court may issue a ruling of not carrying out the execution after its collegiate bench has examined the evidence provided by the person concerned, which proves that the following circumstances are found in the verdict of the arbitration organ

(1) The litigants neither stipulated arbitration provisions in their contract nor reached a written agreement of arbitration afterwards;

(2) The matter being adjudicated falls neither within the limits of the agreement of arbitration nor the limits of the arbitration organ's authority;

(3) The formation of the arbitration tribunal or the arbitrating procedure violate the legal procedure;

(4) The crucial evidence is found to be insufficient;

(5) The application of the law is found to be erroneous;

(6) The arbitrator is found to have taken bribes, conducted malpractice out of personal considerations, and misused the law in rendering a verdict in the course of arbitration.

The people's court shall rule that the verdict is not to be executed should it certify that the execution runs counter to the society's public interests.

Written orders shall be served to the litigants of both parties and the arbitration organ.

Where an arbitration verdict is ruled not to be executed by the people's court, the litigant may go to arbitration again with the written agreement of arbitration reached by both parties, as well as lodge a complaint with the people's court.

Article 218. Where the litigant of one party fails to carry out the credit document to which a notary public has legally granted the effectiveness of forcible execution, the adverse litigant may ask for its execution at the competent people's court, and the people's court shall execute it.

If a definite error is found in the notary document, the people's court shall refuse to execute it and inform the litigants of both parties and the notary public of the ruling.

Article 219. The time limit of request for execution is one year where the litigants of both parties or one party are individuals; the time limit is six months where the two parties are enterprises or other organizations.

The time limit specified in the preceding paragraph shall be computed from the last day of the period of performance prescribed by the legal document; where the legal document specifies the performance to be carried out in different periods, the time limit shall be computed from the last day of each performance period as prescribed.

Article 220. After receiving the written request for execution or transfer of execution, the marshal shall notify the person concerned to carry it out within the designated time limit. It shall be forcibly executed where it is overdue.

Chapter XXII. Measures of Execution

Article 221. Where the person concerned fails to fulfil his obligations set in the legal document in accordance with the notice of execution, the people's court has the authority to inquire banks, credit cooperatives and other organizations in the savings business about the deposits of the person concerned, and has the authority to freeze or transfer his deposits, but the frozen or transferred amount shall not exceed his liability.

The people's court, in deciding to freeze or transfer the deposits, shall make a ruling and issue a notice for assistance in the execution. The banks, credit cooperatives and other savings institutions concerned must comply with the ruling.

Article 222. Where the person concerned fails to fulfil his obligations set in the legal document in accordance with the notice of execution, the people's court has the authority to detain or draw from his income an amount equal to his liability. However, the necessary living expenses for the person concerned and the family he supports should be retained.

The people's court, in deciding to detain or draw from the income, shall make a ruling and issue a notice for assistance in the execution. The banks, credit cooperatives and other savings institutions concerned must comply with the ruling.

Article 223. Where the person concerned fails to fulfil his obligations set in the legal document in accordance with the notice of execution, the people's court has the authority to seal up, distrain, freeze, auction or sell a portion of his property equivalent to his liability. However, the daily necessities for the person concerned and the family he supports should be retained.

Before adopting the measures prescribed in the preceding paragraph, the people's court shall make a ruling.

Article 224. In sealing up or distraining property, the people's court shall notify the person concerned or an adult member of his family to be present; where the party concerned is a legal entity or other organization, the people's court shall notify its legal representative or principal responsible person to be present. If the person concerned refuses to be present, it shall not affect the execution. The unit where the person concerned works and the basic organization at the place of the property shall send people there.

An inventory of the sealed-up or distrained property shall be made by the marshal, and signed or sealed by those present. A copy of the inventory shall be given to the person concerned. If the party concerned is an individual, a copy of the inventory may also be given to an adult member of his family.

Article 225. The marshal may appoint the person concerned to take care of the sealed-up property; the latter shall bear any loss resulting from any errors he makes.

Article 226. Having sealed up or distrained the property, the marshal shall notify the person concerned to carry out within the designated time limit the obligations set in the legal document; where it is overdue, the people's court shall commit the property according to law to a relevant unit for auction or sale. Articles banned by the state from free purchase and sale shall be turned over to a relevant unit for purchase at prices set by the state.

Article 227. Where the person concerned refuses to carry out the obligations set in the legal document and hides his property, the people's court has the powers to issue a search warrant to search the residence of the person concerned or the place where he hides his property.

If the measure in the preceding paragraph is adopted, the search warrant shall be signed by the president of the court.

Article 228. With regard to the belongings or notes of the legal documents specified to be consigned, the marshal shall summon the litigants of both parties to do so in person, or the marshal may pass them over, and the consignee shall sign the receipt.

The relevant unit that holds the said belongings or notes shall pass them over in accordance with the notice of the people's court for assistance in the execution, and the consignee shall sign the receipt.

The people's court shall notify the citizen concerned who holds the said belongings or notes to hand them over. A forcible execution shall be enacted where he refuses to hand them over.

Article 229. As regards forcible eviction from a house or forcible return of land, the president of the people's court shall sign and issue a public notice to order the person concerned to carry it out within a designated time limit. Where the person concerned fails to carry it out within the time limit, the marshal shall execute it forcibly.

Where the person concerned is a citizen, he or an adult member of his family shall be notified to be present when the forcible execution is enacted; where the person concerned is a legal person or other organization, its legal representative or principal responsible person shall be notified to be present. Where he refuses to be present, it shall not affect the execution. Where the person concerned is a citizen, the unit where he works or the basic organization at the place of the house or land shall send people to take part in the forcible execution. The marshal shall enter the details of the execution in a record which shall be signed or sealed by those present.

The people's court shall dispatch men to carry the belongings removed from a house in a forcible execution to a designated place and commit them to the person concerned or an adult member of his family. The person concerned shall bear any loss resulting from his refusal to accept them.

Article 230. Where the execution requires procedure for transfer of certificates of property rights, the people's court may issue a notice requesting the units concerned to assist in the matter; the units concerned shall comply.

Article 231. Where the person concerned refuses to carry out an act designated by the judgment, ruling or legal document as he is instructed to do in a notice, the people's court may execute it forcibly or entrust a relevant unit or others to complete it, and the person concerned shall bear the cost.

Article 232. Where the person concerned fails to make money payments within the period designated by the judgment, ruling or legal document, interest on the debt for the delayed period shall be doubled. Where the person concerned fails to carry out other obligations within the period designated by the judgment, ruling or legal document, he shall pay compensation for the delay.

Article 233. Where the person concerned still does not pay up his debt after the people's court enacts the measures of execution stipulated in Articles 221, 222 and 223 of this law, he shall continue to carry out his obligations. Where the creditor finds out that the person concerned has other property, he may ask the people's court for execution at any time.

Chapter XXIII. Suspension and Termination of Execution

Article 234. The execution shall be suspended by a ruling of the people's court in any of the following circumstances

(1) Where the applicant wishes to postpone the execution;

(2) Where an outsider objects to the execution on well-founded reasons;

(3) Where the litigant of one party dies and it is necessary to wait for his heir to inherit the rights or undertake the obligations;

(4) Where the legal person or other organization serving as litigant of one party cease to exist, and the person to take over its rights and obligations is not yet determined;

(5) Other circumstances where the people's court deems it is necessary to suspend the execution.

The execution shall resume when the circumstances leading to the suspension have disappeared.

Article 235. The execution shall terminate by a ruling of the people's court in any of the following circumstances

(1) Where the applicant revokes his requests;

(2) Where the legal document on whose basis the execution rests has been revoked;

(3) Where the citizen who is the person concerned dies, leaving behind no property for the execution or no one to undertake the obligation; (4) Where the winning party in a case claiming alimony or costs of support or upbringing dies;

(5) Where the citizen who is the person concerned is in a difficult situation, does not have any source of income, loses the ability to work and therefore is unable to pay;

(6) Other circumstances where the people's court deems it is necessary to terminate the execution.

Article 236. A ruling for the suspension or termination of the execution shall become effective immediately upon its being served on the litigants.

Part Four Special Provisions for Procedure of Civil Actions Involving Foreigners

Chapter XXIV. General Principles

Article 237. Provisions of this book apply to civil actions involving foreigners within the territory of the PRC. Where no provisions are specified in this book, other relevant provisions of this law apply.

Article 238. Where the provisions of international treaties which China has concluded or to which China is party are different from those of this law, the former shall apply, except those clauses where China has declared reservation.

Article 239. Civil actions against foreign nationals, foreign organizations or international organizations enjoying diplomatic privileges or immunity shall be handled by the people's court according to the laws of the PRC and the provisions of international treaties which China has concluded or to which China is party.

Article 240. In handling cases involving foreigners, the people's court shall use the spoken and written language commonly used in the PRC. Interpretation may be provided where a litigant so requests, and the litigant shall bear the costs therefrom.

Article 241. Where foreigners, stateless persons, foreign enterprises and organizations want to have legal representatives in taking or responding to actions in the people's court, they must entrust their cases to lawyers of the PRC.

Article 242. Letters of attorney sent from outside the territory of the PRC by foreigners, stateless persons, foreign enterprises or organizations that do not have a residence within the territory of the PRC to Chinese lawyers or other persons must be certified by a notary public of the country where they reside and be authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate in that country, or certified in accordance with the procedure provided in the relevant treaties signed between the PRC and the country where they reside, before the letters become effective.

Chapter XXV. Jurisdiction

Article 243. Civil action over contract disputes or disputes over property rights against a defendant who does not reside within the territory of the PRC is under the jurisdiction of the court at the place where the contract is signed, or the place where the contract is carried out, or the place where the object of the litigation is located, or the place where the defendant has property that can be detained, or the place where the infringements of rights have taken place, or the place where the representative organization of the defendant is located, if the contract is signed or carried out within the territory of the PRC, or the object of litigation is within the territory of the PRC, or the defendant has property within the territory of the PRC that can be detained, or the defendant has a representative organization within the territory of the PRC.

Article 244. Litigants of both parties in a case concerning contract disputes or disputes over property rights involving foreigners may agree in writing to place the case under the jurisdiction of the court at the place that has an actual connection with the dispute. Where the jurisdiction of the people's court of the PRC is chosen, provisions of this law concerning differentiated jurisdiction and special jurisdiction shall not be violated.

Article 245. Where the defendant of a civil action involving foreigners does not raise objections over the jurisdiction of the people's court or make a reply, he is considered to have recognized the jurisdiction of the said people's court.

Article 246. Civil actions arising from disputes over the implementation of contracts of Chinese- foreign joint ventures, Chinese-foreign cooperative enterprises and Chinese-foreign joint exploration and exploitation of natural resources are under the jurisdiction of the people's court of the PRC.

Chapter XXVI. Service and Period

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Article 247. The people's court may use the following means to serve the litigant documents to the litigants having no residence within the territory of the PRC.

(1) Served by the means prescribed in a relevant treaty signed between or an international convention signed by the country of residence of the litigant and the PRC;

(2) Through diplomatic channels;

(3) Where the litigants are of Chinese nationality, the documents may be entrusted to the service of the embassy or consulate of the PRC in the country where they reside;

(4) Served to the litigant representative of the litigant;

(5) Served to the representative organization set up by the litigant within the territory of the PRC or its branch or business representative;

(6) Served by mail where the country of residence of the litigant permits; the documents are deemed as served six months from the date of mailing if sufficient circumstances indicate they have been served, and even if no return receipt has been received; and

(7) Where documents cannot be served by the aforesaid means, they shall be served by a public notice; they will be considered served six months from the date of the posting of the public notice.

Article 248. Where the defendant does not have a residence within the territory of the PRC, the people's court shall deliver a copy of the written indictment to the defendant and notify the latter to produce a reply 30 days after receiving the copy. Where the defendant requests an extension of the time limit, the people's court shall rule on the request.

Article 249. Where a litigant who does not have a residence within the territory of the PRC contests the judgment or ruling of the people's court of first instance, he has the right to file an appeal within 30 days of receiving a written judgment or ruling. Having received a copy of the written appeal, the appellee shall produce a reply within 30 days. Where a litigant cannot file an appeal or produce a reply within the prescribed period and requests an extension of the time limit, it shall be up to the people's court to rule on the request.

Article 250. In handling civil proceedings involving foreigners, the people's court is not subject to time limits prescribed in Article 135 and Article 159 of this Law.

Chapter XXVII. Custody of Property

Article 251. A litigant may ask the people's court for custody of property according to Article 92 of this Law.

The party concerned may ask the people's court for custody of property according to Article 93 of this law before taking action.

Article 252. After the people's court grants permission to a pre-action custody of property, the requester shall initiate an action within 30 days. Where he fails to do so, the people's court shall lift the custody of property.

Article 253. Where the other party concerned produces securities after the people's court grants permission for custody of property, the people's court shall lift the custody of property.

Article 254. Where the custody of property is wrongly requested, the requester shall compensate for losses caused to the other party concerned by the custody of property.

Article 255. Where the custody of property decided by the people's court needs supervision, the court shall notify the unit concerned to exercise supervision; expenses for the supervision shall be borne by the other party concerned.

Article 256. The order to lift a custody of property issued by the people's court shall be executed by a marshal.

Chapter XXVIII. Arbitration

Article 257. The parties to a contract may not file a lawsuit with a people's court regarding a dispute arising from foreign economic relations and trade, transportation and maritime affairs, if the contract contains an arbitration clause, or if they later reach a written agreement on arbitration or refer their dispute to a PRC agency in charge of arbitrating disputes involving foreigners or to any other arbitration agency.

Where the contract does not contain an arbitration clause or the parties concerned do not reach a written agreement on arbitration subsequently, a lawsuit may be filed with a people's court.

Article 258. In cases where the parties concerned apply for the preservation of property, a PRC agency in charge of arbitrating disputes involving foreigners shall forward the application to and obtain a ruling from an intermediate people's court in the place where the object of the application resides, or where the property is located.

Article 259. The parties concerned may not file a lawsuit with a people's court after a PRC agency in charge of arbitrating disputes involving foreigners has rendered a ruling. If one party fails to implement the arbitration ruling, the other party may apply for an enforcement of the ruling with an intermediate people's court in the place where the object of the application resides, or where the property is located.

Article 260. After examination and verification, a collegiate bench formed by a people's court shall decide not to enforce a ruling rendered by a PRC agency in charge of arbitrating disputes involving foreigners in any of the following circumstances as proven by the object of the application

(1) Where the contract does not contain an arbitration clause, or where the parties concerned do not conclude a written agreement on arbitration subsequently;

(2) Where the object of the application is not informed of the need to designate an arbritrator or initiate arbitration proceedings, or where the object of the application cannot state his opinions due to reasons for which he cannot be held accountable;

(3) Where the creation of an arbitration court, or the initiation of arbitration proceedings, does not conformto arbitration rules;

(4) Where the matter to be arbitrated falls outside the scope of the arbitration agreement or the jurisdiction of the arbitration agency.

A people's court shall decide not to enforce an arbitration ruling which it deems contrary to social and public interests.

Article 261. Where an arbitration ruling is not enforced pursuant to a people's court's decision, the parties concerned may apply de novo for arbitration pursuant to their written agreement on arbitration, or file a lawsuit with a people's court.

Chapter XXIX. Judicial Assistance

Article 262. In accordance with the international treaties signed or joined by the PRC, or the principle of reciprocity, a people's court and its foreign counterpart may request each other to assist in serving documents, conducting investigations, collecting evidence or initiating other acts of litigation.

A people's court shall not handle a case requested by a foreign court, if the case in question undermines the PRC's sovereignty, security or social and public interests.

Article 263. In requesting or offering judicial assistance, the procedures spelled out in the international treaties signed or joined by the PRC shall be followed; diplomatic channels shall be pursued in cases where there are no treaties.

Foreign diplomatic missions in the PRC may serve documents on, conduct investigations of, or collect evidence from their nationals. However, they shall not violate the PRC's laws or seek compulsory implementation.

Except for circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph, no foreign agency or individual may serve documents, conduct investigations, or collect evidence within the boundaries of the PRC without the permission of competent PRC departments.

Article 264. The written request for judicial assistance, delivered to a people's court by a foreign court, and the appendices thereto, shall be accompanied by a translation in the Chinese language or in any other language provided for in an international treaty.

The written request for judicial assistance, delivered to a foreign court by a people's court, and the appendices thereto, shall be accompanied by a translation in the language of the country concerned or in any other language specified in an international treaty.

Article 265. The people's court shall act in accordance with the procedures provided for in the laws of the PRC in providing judicial assistance. Special methods may be followed at the request of a foreign court, provided that such methods are not in contravention of the laws of the PRC.

Article 266. Where the applicant requests forcible execution of a legally effective judgment or ruling made by the people's court of the PRC and the party concerned or his property is not within the territory of the PRC, the applicant may directly request a competent foreign court to acknowledge its validity and execute it, or the people's court may request a foreign court to acknowledge its validity and execute it according to the international treaties which China has concluded, or to which China is a party, or in accordance with the principle of mutual reciprocity.

Where the applicant requests forcible execution of a legally effective verdict rendered by an arbitration organization in charge of foreign affairs and the party concerned or his property is not within the territory of the PRC, the applicant shall directly request a competent foreign court to acknowledge its validity and execute the verdict.

Article 267. Where a legally effective judgment or ruling made by a foreign court requires the people's court in the PRC to acknowledge its validity and execute it, the applicant may directly request a competent intermediate people's court to do so, or the foreign court may request the people's court to do so, according to the international treaties which China has concluded or to which China is a party or in accordance with the principle of mutual reciprocity.

Article 268. The people's court shall examine, in accordance with the international treaties which China has concluded or to which China is a party or according to the principle of mutual reciprocity, the application or request for acknowledgment of the validity and execution of a legally effective judgment or ruling which a foreign court has rendered. Where it is found to be not in contravention of the basic principles of the laws of the PRC, or China's sovereignty, or its national and social interests, the people's court shall acknowledge its validity by a ruling and, where necessary, issues an order of execution to implement it according to the procedure specified by this law. Where it is found to be in contravention of the basic principles of the laws of the PRC, or China's sovereignty, or its national and social interests, the people's court shall not acknowledge its validity or implement it.

Article 269. Where a verdict rendered by a foreign arbitration organization requires the people's court in the PRC to acknowledge its validity and execute it, the applicant shall directly apply to the intermediate people's court in the place of the residence of the party concerned or of his property to do so, and the people's court shall act according to the international treaties which China has concluded or to which China is a party or in accordance with the principle of mutual reciprocity.

Article 270. This law will go into effect on the day of its promulgation. The Law of Civil Procedure of the People's Republic of China (for Trial Implementation) shall cease to be in force on the same day.

(The English translations are for reference only.)

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