On December 26, 2012, the Supreme People's Court and the
Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly released the
"Interpretation on Certain Issues Concerning the Application
of Law in the Handling of the Criminal Cases of Offering
Bribes"(the "Interpretation"). This Interpretation
comes into effect as of January 1, 2013. The Interpretation
specifies how the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law
pertaining to the offering of bribes are to be applied.
The crime of offering bribes refers to the crime of offering
money or property in kind to a state functionary with the intent to
acquire illegal enrichment or interest. According to relevant
provisions in the Criminal Law, state functionaries are persons who
perform public service in state bodies, state-owned companies or,
enterprises, institutions or people's organizations.
Additionally, persons who are assigned by state bodies, state-owned
companies, enterprises or institutions to non-state-owned
companies, enterprises or institutions to perform public service,
and other persons who perform public service according to the law,
shall all be regarded as state functionaries.
The Interpretation stipulates that any person offering a bribe
of more than RMB 10,000 to a state functionary shall be charged
with criminal liability. If there are other bribes which have not
been punished, the briber shall be punished based on the
accumulated amount of the bribes. In addition, the Interpretation
clarifies some abstract descriptions in the Criminal Law, such as
"serious circumstance", "seeking illegitimate
interests" and "causing a heavy loss to the state
interests". Compared with the former provisions which lacked a
penalty threshold or amount for sentencing, the Interpretation
strengthens the countermeasures and promotes enforceability and
uniformity in judicial practice.
The Interpretation specifies that before the prosecution
authority formally files a criminal case, if a briber discloses a
crime of accepting bribes related to the briber's offering of
bribes, the briber may be given a mitigated punishment or be
exempted from punishment. If a briber discloses a crime not related
to the briber's offering of bribes, which has been verified,
the disclosure shall be deemed a commendable act.
Generally, the Interpretation strengthens the impact on bribery
while making relevant provisions more specific and detailed in
order to restrict the court's right of discretion. Meanwhile,
the Interpretation also demonstrates an inclination to encourage
disclosure of behavior relating to offering and accepting bribes,
which will further deter and crack down these crime.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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