China Business

China Criminal and Business Law: You are Not in Kansas any More.

China FCPA

Just finished an interview with a reporter on the Chinese drywall cases. I gave my usual spiel on how there are three main aspects to protecting oneself from getting bad Chinese product: good relationships, good contracts, and good quality control monitoring. For more on what it takes to protect yourself from poor quality Chinese product, check out the following:

Bottom Line: Doing business in China is not like doing business in Kansas and that means if you are buying product from China you must 1) know with whom you are dealing, 2) have a contract in Chinese that spells out in painstaking detail the specifications of the product you are buying and, 3) have some sort of quality control.

Right after I got off the phone with this reporter, I opened a fascinating email from a reader asking me about a death sentence recently handed down by a Chinese court against a British citizen. Here’s the email:

This caught my attention and it seems like something you might blog about: British man facing death for a drug trafficking conviction in China.

I know you are not a criminal lawyer is not your specialty, so perhaps you know a good criminal attorney who might be interested in writing on the subject.

There is, of course, little information on the case, and there are a lot of open questions. Namely, I am wondering what sort of evidence is admissible in a Chinese court to prove mental illness, ie: can the defense actually submit British medical records (obviously with an official translation)? Do Chinese courts normally execute someone considered mentally ill? My understanding of Chinese criminal law is that the death penalty is basically on the table for all “heinous” crimes committed by a person over the age of 18 and a non-pregnant female. So, even if the court were to accept that the defendant is mentally ill, it would have no bearing on the applicability of the death penalty.

If the defendant is genuinely ill, I would find it morally reprehensible to execute the man. However, it seems to me that the death penalty in China takes no account of mental illness, and the law is the law. I suspect that a mentally ill Chinese citizen might also receive the death penalty for this crime, regardless of mental state. All in all, this seems like one more case of foreigners (namely the politicians involved, lawyers, and the Telegraph) misunderstanding Chinese law and expecting special treatment for a British citizen.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter?

I do not know Chinese criminal law well enough to have any thoughts on this from a legal perspective, but I am running the email for two reasons. One, because it starkly highlights how China is not the West when it comes to criminal laws and prosecutions and two, because I too would love to get some answers to this reader’s questions.

Anyone have some good answers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *