Friday, January 01, 2016

Zhang Lei on China’s Criminal Law and Anti-Corruption Strategies

(Zhang Lei)

Corruption is one of the more pressing contemporary issues of law in both developed and developing states. It touches on all aspects of national  political and social organization.  At its most potent, it can threaten the stability of the social and political order itself.  China is among the states with a substantial stake in anti-corruption efforts.  Those efforts touch on the integrity and legitimacy of the functioning of the state, its economic policies and the functioning of the state, private and social sectors.  At its most important, anti-corruption efforts touch on the determination of the Chinese Communist Party to police itself and ensure the highest level of sound functioning.

Over the last several decades anti-corruption campaigns have become more or less standard affairs at the national, and now increasingly at the international level in many states. The later has become an important element as corruption, like economic activity before it, has jumped national borders and assumed as transnational a character as global and transnational as economic activity itself.  More potently, corruption has become as transnational as the politics that have emerged in this century in its present form after September 11, 2001. International terrorism, international criminal activity, and the techniques and objectives of corruption in all its forms have increasingly interconnected and in some cases conflated both within and beyond borders.

One of the consequences of the transnationalization of corruption, and of anti-corruption campaigns is that individuals charged with corruption, along with the fruits of corrupt practices, can sometimes cross borders. For states seeking to protect their own systems from corruption, it then becomes necessary to develop methods for repatriating people charged with corruption and to secure the fruits of those corrupt acts. For states to which these individuals have fled, the issue becomes one of protecting the integrity of their own economic and political order while cooperating in international systems for the control and repatriation of corrupt officials and their assets. These issues remain tricky, and implicate domestic as well as international policies and agendas. Among the most important gaps in transnational anti-corruption cooperation is between the United States and China.

In November 2015, Penn State was lucky enough to host Zhang Lei, an Associate Professor at the College for Criminal Law Science, Beijing Normal University. Since 2009 he has served as Academic Secretary of China Criminal Law Society and since 2012 as Deputy director of the Institute of International Criminal Law at the College for Criminal Law Science of Beijing Normal University. Zhang Lei has been working on issues of criminal law and especially corruption and repatriation of assets. Besides numerous articles, his most recent books include: Function of the Death Penalty (Henan Press, 2004); China and the ICC: Status and Prospect (Chinese People's Public Security University Press, 2009);  and Study on hot issues of international criminal judicial assistance (Chinese People's Public Security University press, 2012).

At the presentation, he addressed issues of corruption and especially the repatriation of fugitives and their illicit gains.  In a presentation entitled China’s Criminal Law and Anti-corruption Strategies Zhang Lei focuses on the development and trajectories of China's emerging anti-corruption policies.  He starts with a short history of China’s Criminal Law, then considers the current legal framework introduced with the 1997 Criminal Law as amended.  he then considers the relationship of that legal framework with the judicial system and ends with a consideration of China's anti-corruption strategies both inside and outside China. 

Zhang Lei has kindly given permission to share the PowerPoint slides of his presentation.  They follow.

Professor Zhang may be contacted at Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekou Waidajie, Haidian District, Peking China,100875 Tel: 8610-58802853(O); 86-15810032697(M) Fax:8610-58802088 Email:

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