Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Revising the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China

Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Revising the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China  (2018) 
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress

(Adopted at the 6th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People's Congress on October 26, 2018)

Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Revising the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China

(Adopted at the 6th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People's Congress on October 26, 2018)

At its 6th Meeting, the Standing Committee of the Thirteenth National People's Congress decides to make the following revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China:

1. One article is added as Article 15, which reads: "A criminal suspect or defendant who voluntarily and truthfully confesses a crime he has committed, admits the facts of the crime accused of, and is willing to accept corresponding punishment shall be allowed for leniency."

2. Article 18 is changed to be Article 19, and the second paragraph is revised to read: "People's procuratorates may file cases for investigation when they find in exercising legal supervision over litigation activities that there are judicial officers taking advantage of their functions and powers and committing crimes such as illegally detaining others, extorting confessions by torture or engaging in illegal search, which infringe upon the rights of citizens and undermine justice. Where there is a need for the people's procuratorates to directly handle cases of grave crimes which are committed by state functionaries taking advantage of their functions and powers and which are under the jurisdiction of public security organs, the people's procuratorates may file such cases for investigation upon decision by the people's procuratorates at or above the provincial level."

3. Article 32 is changed to be Article 33, and one paragraph is added as the third paragraph which reads: "A person who has been expelled from public office or whose lawyer's or notary's practice certificate has been revoked shall not serve as a defender, unless he is the guardian or a near relative of the criminal suspect."

4. One article is added as Article 36, which reads: "Legal aid agencies may station duty lawyers in such premises as the people's courts or detention houses. In case that a criminal suspect or defendant fails to engage a defender and no legal aid agency has appointed a lawyer to defend him, a duty lawyer may offer assistance in legal consultation, advice on procedural choice, application for alteration of compulsory measures and providing opinions on the case, etc.

"A people's court, people's procuratorate and detention house shall inform a criminal suspect or defendant of his right to meet with a duty lawyer, and shall facilitate the criminal suspect or defendant in meeting with a duty lawyer."

5. Article 37 is changed to be Article 39, and the third paragraph is revised to read: "For a case under investigation which involves a crime endangering national security or a crime of terrorist activity, a defense lawyer shall obtain approval from the investigatory body for meeting with the criminal suspect held in custody during the investigatory period. In such a case, the investigatory body shall notify the detention house in advance."

6. Article 73 is changed to be Article 75, and the first paragraph is revised to read: "House arrest shall be enforced at the domicile of a criminal suspect or defendant, or at a designated place of residence if he has no regular domicile. Where, for a criminal suspect or defendant suspected of committing a crime endangering state security or a crime of terrorist activity, putting him under house arrest at his domicile may impede the investigation, he may be placed under house arrest at a designated place of residence upon approval by the public security organ at the next higher level. However, house arrest may not be enforced in a detention house or a special venue for case investigation."

7. Article 79 is changed to be Article 81, and one paragraph is added as the second paragraph which reads: "For approving or deciding on the detention of a criminal suspect or defendant, such factors as the nature and circumstances of the crime, and whether the criminal suspect or defendant has taken a guilty plea shall be taken into account as to whether or not the said criminal suspect or defendant will post a danger to the society if he is released on bail or a guarantor."

8. Article 106 is changed to be Article 108, and Subparagraph one is revised to read: "(1) ‘Investigation' refers to the work a public security organ or people's procuratorate carries out in relation to a criminal case, including the collection of evidence, the efforts in finding out the truth and the related compulsory measures taken according to law."

9. Article 118 is changed to be Article 120, and the second paragraph is revised to read: "When interrogating a criminal suspect, investigators shall inform the criminal suspect of his procedural rights and the legal provisions that those who truthfully confess their crimes may be allowed for leniency and that those who take pleas may be allowed for leniency."

10. Article 148 is changed to be Article 150, and the second paragraph is revised to read: "With respect to a major criminal case of serious infringement of the citizen's personal right due to abuse of power, after filing the case, a people's procuratorate may, based on the needs for criminal investigation and after going through stringent approval procedure, employ technical investigation measures and task relevant bodies with the implementation of such measures according to the relevant provisions."

11. Article 160 is changed to be Article 162, and one paragraph is added as the second paragraph which reads: "Where a criminal suspect voluntarily confesses his crime, his confession shall be recorded for file and be transferred along with the case, and in the bill of prosecution shall be clearly stated his voluntary confession of the crime."

12. One Article is added as Article 170, which reads: "A people's procuratorate shall, according to the provisions of this Law and the Supervision Law, examine a case transferred by a supervisory organ for public prosecution. Where, after examination, the people's procuratorate finds that supplementary investigation or verification is necessary, the people's procuratorate shall return the case to the supervisory organ for supplementary investigation; where it is necessary, the people's procuratorate may carry out supplementary investigation on its own.

"Where a supervisory organ has applied supervisory detention measure at the time when it transfers a case to a people's procuratorate, the people's procuratorate shall first detain the criminal suspect, as a result the detention measure taken by the supervisory organ shall be automatically lifted. The people's procuratorate shall, within 10 days after it detains the criminal suspect, make a decision on whether or not to arrest him, release him on bail or a guarantor, or place him under house arrest. Under special circumstances, an extension of one to four days may be allowed for making such a decision. The time period during which the people's procuratorate have applied a compulsory measure shall not be counted as within the time period of examination a case for prosecution."

13. Article 169 is changed to be Article 172, and the first paragraph is revised to read: "A people's procuratorate shall make a decision within one month on a case that a supervisory organ or public security organ has transferred to it with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution; an extension of 15 days may be allowed for major or complex cases. Where a criminal suspect takes a plea, and the requirements for applying expedited trial procedure are met, a decision shall be made with 10 days; in case that the sentence may be a fixed-term imprisonment of one year or more, the time period for decision may be extended to 15 days."

14. Article 170 is changed to be Article 173, and revised to read: "When examining a case, the people's procuratorate shall interrogate the criminal suspect, hear the opinions of the defender or duty lawyer and of the victim and his agent ad litem, and record such opinions. If the defender or duty lawyer, the victim and his agent ad litem put forward written opinions, such opinions shall be attached to the case file.

"Where a criminal suspect takes a plea, the people's procuratorate shall inform him of his procedural rights and the provisions for taking a plea, hear and record the opinions of the defender or duty lawyer, and of the victim and his agent ad litem on the following matters:

"(1) facts of the suspected crime, name of the suspected crime, and applicable provisions of law;

"(2) advice on leniency, including lighter or mitigated punishment or exemption of punishment;

"(3) applicable trial procedure after the criminal suspect takes a plea; and

"(4) other matters on which opinions need be heard.

"Where a duty lawyer's opinion need be heard according to the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs, the people's procuratorate shall provide the duty lawyer with necessary access to the related information of the case."

15. One Article is added as Article 174, which reads: "Where a criminal suspect voluntarily confesses his crime and agrees on the advised sentence and trial procedure, he shall, with the presence of the defender or duty lawyer, sign the statement of plea.

"A criminal suspect taking a plea need not sign the statement of plea under any of the following circumstances:

"(1) Where the criminal suspect is blind, deaf or mute, or is a mental patient who is not completely aware of, or has incomplete ability to control his own conduct;

"(2) Where the agent ad litem or defender of a criminal suspect who is a minor has objection to the plea and punishment taken by the said minor; or

"(3) Where any other circumstance does not require signing of the statement of plea."

16. Article 172 is changed to be Article 176, and one paragraph is added as the second paragraph which read: "Where a criminal suspect takes a plea, the people's procuratorate shall put forward sentencing advice including the principal punishment, supplementary punishments and whether or not a probation should be granted, and shall transfer the materials such as the statement of plea along with the case."

17. Article 173 is changed to be Article 177, and the third paragraph is revised to read: "Where a people's procuratorate decides not to prosecute a case, it shall, at the same time, free the property sealed up, distrained or frozen during the period of investigation. If the person who is not prosecuted need be given administrative penalty, or sanction, or his illegal gains need be confiscated, the people's procuratorate shall put forward its opinions and transfer the case to the competent authority for handling. The competent authority shall inform the people's procuratorate of the results of its handling of the case in time."

18. One Article is added in Chapter III of Part Two as Article 182, which reads: "Where a criminal suspect voluntarily confesses the facts of a crime he is suspected to have committed and thus makes a major meritorious contribution, or the case involves major state interests, upon review and approval by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the public security organ may dismiss the case, and the people's procuratorate may decide not to prosecute him at all or, if the case involves several charges, not to prosecute him on one or more of the charges.

"Where, according to the preceding paragraph, a criminal suspect is not to be prosecuted or the case is dismissed, the people's procuratorate or public security organ shall, in a timely manner, deal with the property sealed up, distrained or frozen, and the fruits accrued therefrom."

19. Article 178 is changed to be Article 183 and revised to read: "Trial of first instance in the primary or intermediate people's courts shall be conducted by a collegial panel composed of three judges or of judges and people's assessors totaling three or seven. However, for cases tried in the primary people's courts and to which summary procedure or expedited procedure is applied, they may be tried by a single judge.

"Trial of first instance in the higher people's courts shall be conducted by a collegial panel composed of three to seven judges or of judges and people's assessors totaling three or seven.

"Trial of first instance in the Supreme People's Court shall be conducted by a collegial panel composed of three to seven judges.

"Trial of appealed and protested cases in the people's courts shall be conducted by a collegial panel composed of three or five judges.

"The number of members of a collegial panel shall be in odd number."

20. Article 185 is changed to be Article 190, and one paragraph is added as the second paragraph which read: "Where a defendant has taken a plea, the presiding judge shall inform the defendant of his procedural rights and the provisions for taking a plea, verify whether the defendant has done so voluntarily, and review the authenticity and legality of the content of the statement of plea."

21. One article is added as Article 201, which reads: "For a case where the defendant has taken an advised plea, the people's court shall, when rendering the judgment according to law, generally follow the advice of the people's procuratorate on the crime and sentence, except under one of the following circumstances:

"(1) Where the act of the defendant does not constitute a crime or the defendant should not have been prosecuted for criminal responsibility;

"(2) Where the defendant has taken a plea against his free will;

"(3) Where the defendant denies the facts of the accused crime;

"(4) Where the crime charged by prosecution is inconsistent with the one decided in trial; or

"(5) Any other circumstances where a fair and just trial may be affected.

"Where, after hearing the case, the people's court finds that the advised sentence is obviously inappropriate, or the defendant and defender has objection to the advised sentence, the people's procuratorate may revise its advice on the sentence. Where the people's procuratorate refuses to do so or the revised advice is still obviously inappropriate, the people's court shall render a judgment according to law."

22. One section is added in Chapter II of Part Three as Section 4, which reads:

"Section 4 Expedited Trial Procedure

"Article 222 For a case under the jurisdiction of a primary people's court, in which the defendant may be sentenced to a punishment lighter than fixed-term imprisonment of three years, if the facts of the case are clear, the evidence is reliable and sufficient, and the defendant has taken a plea and agrees to an expedited trial, expedited trial procedure may be applied whereby the case shall be tried by one judge.

"The people's procuratorate may, when bringing a public prosecution, advise the people's court to apply expedited trial procedure to such a case.

"Article 223 Expedited trial procedure shall not be applied under any of the following circumstances:

"(1) Where the defendant is blind, deaf or mute, or is a patient who is mental ill but has not completely lost the capability to recognize or control his behavior;

"(2) Where the defendant is a minor;

"(3) Where the case bears a great impact on the society;

"(4) Where a part of the defendants in a joint crime have objection to the criminal facts, the crime charged, the advised sentence, or the application of expedited trial procedure;

"(5) Where the defendant fails to reach a mediation or settlement agreement with the victim or his legal representative on the damage in incidental civil action; or

"(6) Other circumstances under which application of expedited trial procedure is inappropriate.

"Article 224 Trial of a case by applying expedited procedure shall not be bound by the provisions of Section 1 of this Chapter governing the service time limit; and in general shall not have court investigation and debating. However, the opinion of the defender and the final statement of the defendant shall be heard prior to the pronouncement of a judgment.

"A judgment shall be pronounced in court on a case to which expedited trial procedure is applied.

"Article 225 Where a case is tried by applying expedited trial procedure, the people's court shall conclude the trial within 10 days after accepting it; if the defendant may be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of more than three years, the time limit may be extended to 15 days.

"Article 226 Where, in the course of trying a case, the people's court finds that the act of the defendant does not constitute a crime or the defendant should not have been prosecuted for criminal responsibility, or that the defendant has taken a plea against his free will or denies the facts of the crime charged, or that there is any other situation which renders expedited trial procedure inappropriate for the case, the people's court shall try the case anew in accordance with the provisions in Section 1 or 3 of this Chapter."

23. Article 250 is changed to be Article 261, and the second paragraph is revised to read: "Where a criminal sentenced to death with a two-year suspension of execution commits no intentional crime during the period of suspension of the sentence and his punishment should therefore be commuted on the expiration of such a period, the executing organ shall submit a written recommendation to a higher people's court for decision. If there is verified evidence proving that the criminal has committed an intentional crime during the suspension period and the circumstances are serious, and therefore his death sentence should be executed, the higher people's court shall submit the matter to the Supreme People's Court for approval. Where the criminal has committed an intentional crime during the suspension period but the death sentence is not executed, the period of suspension of death sentence shall be recounted and the matter shall be submitted to the Supreme People's Court for the record."

24. Article 260 is changed to be Article 271, and revised to read: "Where a criminal sentenced to a fine fails to pay the fine within the prescribed time limit, the people's court shall compel him to pay. If the criminal truly has difficulty in paying the fine because he has suffered an irresistible disaster, upon a ruling of the people's court, he may be allowed to pay an amount smaller than the fine, or postpone or be exempted from the payment of the fine accordingly."

25. One chapter is added in Part Five as Chapter III which reads:

"Chapter III Trial in Absentia

"Article 291 Where a supervisory organ or public security organ transfers a case for prosecution which involves a crime of embezzlement or bribery, or a crime endangering state security or crime of terrorist activity which has been examined by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and need be tried without delay, but the criminal suspect or defendant is outside the territory of China, if the people's procuratorate deems that the facts of the case are clear, the evidence solid and sufficient and criminal responsibility should be pursued according to law, the people's procuratorate may bring a prosecution according to law. If, after review, the people's court finds that the charged criminal facts in the bill of prosecution are clear-cut and the conditions for a trial in absentia are satisfied, a decision shall be made to try the case in court.

"A case prescribed in the preceding paragraph shall be tried by a collegial panel of the intermediate people's court in the place of residence of the criminal suspect or defendant before he departed from China or by an intermediate people's court designated by the Supreme People's Court.

"Article 292 The people's court shall deliver the summon and a copy of the bill of prosecution to the defendant by means of judicial assistance as stipulated in the relevant international treaties or worked out diplomatically, or by any other means which is allowed by the law of the place where the defendant currently stays. Where the summon and the copy of the bill of prosecution has been delivered to the defendant but the defendant fails to appear before the court as is required, the people's court shall hold a court session to try the case, render a judgment according to law, and dispose of the illegal gains and other property involved in the case.

"Article 293 Where a case is to be tried in absentia by the people's court, the defendant shall have the right to engage a defender, or his near relative may engage a defender for the defendant. If both the defender and his near relative fail to engage a defender, the people's court shall inform a legal aid agency to appoint a lawyer to defend him.

"Article 294 The people's court shall have the written judgment delivered to the defendant or his near relative and his defender. Where the defendant or his near relative has objection to the judgment, he or his near relative shall have the right to appeal to the people's court at the next higher level. The defender may file an appeal upon consent of the defendant or his near relative.

"Where the people's procuratorate believes that there is a definite error in the judgment made by the people's court, it shall present a protest to the people's court at the next higher level.

"Article 295 Where, during the course of a trial in absentia, the defendant voluntarily surrenders himself or is captured, the people's court shall retry the case.

"Where a criminal surrenders himself or is brought back to China after the judgment or ruling of his case has become effective, the people's court shall hand him over for serving his sentence. Before handing him over, the people's court shall inform him of his right to raising any objection to the judgment or ruling of his case. Where the criminal does raise an objection, the people's court shall retry the case.

"Where there is a definite error in the judgment or ruling as to the disposal of the criminal's property, his property shall be returned or he shall be compensated properly.

"Article 296 Where the trial of a case is discontinued because the defendant is unable to appear in court due to serious illness, and he remains so after the trial has been discontinued for six months or more, the people's court may, upon application or consent of the defendant and his legal representative or of his near relative for resuming the trial, try the case in absentia without the defendant appearing in court and render a judgment according to law.

"Article 297 Where the defendant is deceased, the people's court shall rule to terminate the trial; however, if there is evidence proving the defendant's innocence, the people's court shall, after trying the case in absentia and affirming that the defendant is innocent, render a judgment according to law.

"Where the people's court retries a case according to the procedure for trial supervision and the defendant is deceased, the people's court may try the case in absentia and render a judgment according to law."

26. Article 290 is changed to be Article 308, and revised to read: "The security departments of the Army shall exercise the power of investigation with respect to crimes in the Army.

"China Coast Guard shall exercise the power of investigation with respect to the crimes at sea.

"Crimes committed by criminals in prison shall be investigated by the prison.

"The handling of criminal cases by the security departments of the Army, China Coast Guard and prisons shall be governed by the relevant provisions of this Law."

The sequence numbers of relevant chapters, sections and articles of the Criminal Procedure Law shall be rearranged according to this Decision.

This Decision shall go into effect as of the date of promulgation.

The Criminal Procedure Law shall be repromulgated after the revisions are made according to this Decision.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work is in the public domain because it is exempted by Article 5 of Chinese copyright law. This exempts all Chinese government and judicial documents, and their official translations, from copyright. It also exempts simple factual information, and calendars, numerical tables, and other forms of general use and formulas.

Translation:

This work is in the public domain because it is exempted by Article 5 of Chinese copyright law. This exempts all Chinese government and judicial documents, and their official translations, from copyright. It also exempts simple factual information, and calendars, numerical tables, and other forms of general use and formulas.