Welcome to Chinalaw, an electronic discussion group devoted to issues of modern Chinese law. The list was started in 1995 under the name "Chinese Law Net" and is still going strong. While it is intended that the law of the People's Republic of China will be the main focus, postings relating to other Chinese jurisdictions or to Chinese legal history are also welcome. All persons with an interest in Chinese law are welcome to subscribe. Current subscribers include business people, law professors, lawyers, and students from many countries.


Chinalaw is an unmoderated discussion forum, meaning that messages posted to Chinalaw go directly to all subscribers without being examined by the administrator for suitability and relevance. Through member consensus, Chinalaw has developed a strict policy of topicality in postings. Members are thus asked to bear in mind that other members have consented to receive messages only relating to Chinese law. While "Chinese law" can be broadly understood, Chinalaw is not a list for a general discussion of simply anything related to China. Other subjects should be discussed in other fora.

Chinalaw's value to members will increase with the number of members, and the number of members will increase if people interested in Chinese law find the postings valuable, with a minimum of irrelevant clutter. Because Chinalaw is unmoderated, it is essential that members observe the rule of topicality voluntarily. If it becomes necessary for an administrator to screen messages for relevance, this will slow down the functioning of the list and make it less open.

In order to maintain current policy and to maximize the usefulness of Chinalaw to subscribers, the following guidelines for messages are suggested:

It is quite acceptable to send a message (preferably tasteful) announcing your own book or article if it will be of interest to subscribers. Other messages of a commercial nature, such as announcements of employment opportunities in the field of Chinese law, may be useful to the Chinalaw community and are also acceptable until such time as they proliferate to the point of alienating subscribers. Such postings should, however, be brief and informative, and should invite interested subscribers to receive further information through private communication with the sender. Messages posting resumes or otherwise seeking employment are not acceptable.

The following etiquette guidelines are also suggested:

One of the great benefits of Chinalaw can be help in finding obscure sources that few people know about. On the other hand, even the most public-spirited of subscribers is unlikely to want to spend his or her time listing sources the inquirer could easily have found with a little work. Therefore, in order to maximize the probability of getting a useful response, it is suggested that any request for assistance in locating certain resources include the following information:

For an unsystematic list of occasional questions and answers about matters not dealt with above, please see the FAQ here.


Messages to subscribers of Chinalaw should be sent to Subscribe, unsubscribe, and generally manage your subscription at this site. Subscribing there will generate a message to me telling me you want to subscribe. Please send me a separate email at the same time with "Request to join Chinalaw" in the Subject field, and let me know who you are and why you'd like to join. There are no qualifications for joining and all are welcome; this is simply an anti-troll measure.            

In some cases you may run into technical difficulties. In such cases, you must be subscribed and unsubscribed manually, and you should direct the appropriate request to the address for technical questions listed below under "Technical Questions." Please note that manual operations take the administrator's time and should not be requested unless you really cannot do the task yourself.


Archives dating from November 1, 2004 are available here. The Chinalaw home page is at If you cannot access it using that address, try


Please address any technical questions concerning Chinalaw to

Donald C. Clarke
Chinalaw Administrator
Professor of Law
George Washington University Law School
Washington, DC

WWW home page:

Last updated:Aug. 17, 2023

Chinalaw Home Page