Legal Enforcement in China

Legal Enforcement in China

Under the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the People's Republic of China is breaking new ground in the enforcement of rights.

On the one hand, with the introduction of a social credit system the Chinese government wishes to create an incentive for citizens to abide by legal regulations. In civil law, this has been reflected in the creation of judgment enforcement measures that subject the debtor to social pressure (under the principle of naming and shaming) as a means of prompting the satisfaction of claims. Included measures are a listing of credit-unworthy judgment debtors, which the Supreme People's Court makes accessible on the internet, and expenditure restrictions prohibiting debtors from buying luxury goods, booking air travel or sending their children to "high-fee" private schools.

On the other hand, the Chinese legislature is turning to collective enforcement mechanisms for civil law claims and thus to a topic that has also been central in international discussions for a number of years. However, instruments such as class actions and other collective actions like public interest litigation are being carefully tested and fitted with a state control element – namely, the subsidiary right of appeal by the public prosecutor.

Against this background the following questions arise:

Will China be successful in finding the proper balance between the effective enforcement of judgments and debtor protection?

What role will be assigned to courts following the introduction of the social credit system?

What position can private enforcement assume in socialism with Chinese characteristics?

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