A quick look at the Criminal Law amendments/ 1

On 28 February the Standing Committee of the NPC has promulgated Amendment Seven of the Criminal Law of the PRC. [Read (Chinese) draft amendment (Chinese) Explanation]. Changes are as follows

Smuggling of plants and the products thereof. Art. 151 par. 3.

A paragraph has been added to art. 151, to punish the smuggling of precious and rare species of plants, and other commodities and goods the import or export of which is forbidden by the State. The penalty is no more than five years fixed term imprisonment or criminal detention and fines. If the crime takes place in “serious circumstances” penalties are raised to more than five years fixed term imprisonment and a concurrent fine.

Insider trading of information related to securities. Art. 180 par. 1, 4

Futures have been added to provisions under paragraph 1. Paragraph 4 has been added to cover insider trading of information related to securities by personnel of financial institutions through the use operational information that has not been made public yet.

Tax evasion Art. 201.

Provisions on tax evasion have been simplified. A new paragraph has been added to art. 201, to exempt from criminal liability those who pay tax arrears. They are subject to a fine and administrative punishment. The current version of art. 201 does not substantially differ from the proposed amendment.

Multi-level marketing. Art 225

A new paragraph has been added to art. 224 – rather than 225 – that punishes those who engage in multi-level marketing with penalties of no more than five years fixed term detention or criminal detention. If such crime takes place in “serious circumstances” penalties are raised to more than five years fixed term imprisonment and a concurrent fine.

Paragraph 3 of art 225 (illegal acts in business operations) has been amended to instead cover the unlawful trading of futures and other financial products and services.

Kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping of a child. Art. 239

This is one of the 68 offences for which the death penalty can be used. Amendment VII has not changed provisions on the death penalty. But, lighter punishments have been prescribed for those who commit the crime of kidnapping in “relatively minor circumstances”(情节较轻).
They are to be punished with 5 to 10 years fixed term imprisonment. The draft amendments provided a term of imprisonment of three years. Most delegates to the NPC criticized the draft provision because it could allow for the use of suspended sentences, so the minimum term of imprisonment has been raised to five years.

Sale or unlawful provision of individual information. Art. 253 par. 1, 3

A paragrapth that criminalize the sale or unlawful provision of personal information has been added to this article. Penalties range from criminal detention or no more than three years fixed term imprisonment and fine if the crime is committed in “serious circumstances”.
The sale or unlawful provision of personal information by companies has been criminalized.

Orgazing minors to carry out offences against public order. Art. 262 par 1, 2

Provisions that criminalize organizing minors to carry out offences against public order have been added to this article. Penalties are of less than three years fixed-term imprisonment, or between three and seven years fixed-term imprisonment when circumstances are serious.

Intrusion in computer systems. Art. 285

Provisions of art. 285 have been amended to cover the intrusion in computer information systems other than those in the fields of State affairs, national defence, science and technology. The theft or diffusion of data, and the remote control of computer systems have been criminalized. Penalties are of no more than three years fixed term imprisonment or criminal detention and a concurrent fine if the crime takes place in “serious circumstances”. If the crime involves particularly serious circumstance, penalties range from three to seven years fixed term imprisonment and a concurrent fine. The same penalties apply to those found guilty of aiding and abetting

More to come on Wednesday

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