On 26 July 2023, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) released the Amendment to the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China (XII) (Draft). The draft bolsters the provisions of the Criminal Law 2020 governing bribery and corruption, particularly in relation to crimes involving bribe giving and corruption by the personnel of private enterprises.

In the August edition of GC Agenda China (subscription required), Morrison Foerster partner B. Chen Zhu and associate Derik Rao commented on the Draft that, "Bribery convictions in China have primarily focused on receiving bribes. In certain past years, bribe recipients consisted of up to 80% of the total defendants convicted for bribery, and only 20% were bribe payers. The pending amendments aim to increase the focus on the latter by increasing penalties for giving bribes, especially against repeat offenders or scenarios where bribes were involved in major governmental projects or sectors with significant social impact, for example, environment sustainability, social security, and healthcare. Additionally, while the Criminal Law has historically targeted SOE personnel, the current amendments aim to address individual criminal liabilities in the private sector in order to grant entrepreneurs more protections, especially where employees are involved in embezzlement, misappropriation of corporate funds, or breach of trust."

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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