Towards a Chinese Civil Code: the new General Provisions

The General Provisions of the Civil Law of People`s Republic of China can be considered as a response to new social needs and a reflection of China`s standing internationally.


The promulgation of the General Provisions marks the beginning of compiling a civil code in China. In fact, the General Provisions of the Civil Law of People`s Republic of China were adopted with votes at the Fifth Session of the 12th National People`s Congress on March 15th, 2017 and will enter into force on October 1st, 2017.


The General Provisions comprises a total of 11 chapters and 206 articles is and structurally similar to the General Principles of Civil Law of the People`s Republic of China (which are still in force and have not been expressly abolished).


The content of General Provisions contains remarkable changes compared to the General Principles. For instance, sources of law (article 10 stipulates that customs as a source of law and deletes the old provision of the General Principles that provided for “policy” as a source of law) as well as to voluntary guardianship (article 33), agency duties (article 170), termination of entrusted agency (article 174) and limitation of action (article 188). Regarding to the limitation of action, the General Provisions extended the limitation of action to three years from the previous two years.


The voluntary guardianship, which gives a person the right to choose a legal guardian outside of statutory guardianship, will expand its applicable scope. The guardian who has the requested professional knowledge can exericise the rights of a natural person who partially or fully lost his capacity for civil conduct. This can significantly help enterprises to prevent unexpected losses by indentifying the powers and duties of the guardians in advance.


The General Provisions are aimed to be an important step towards the civil law  code in China. Shall you have any question on General Provisions, please contact us:

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