China’s revised Criminal Procedure Law expands powers for corruption trials

On 26 October 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the revised PRC Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”) which introduces, among other things, the “default judgment” and “immediate judgment” procedures in criminal trials.

The default judgment procedure penalizes defendants who have absconded overseas in respect of bribery and corruption offenses as well as activities that severely endanger national security (e.g., terrorist activities). The immediate judgment procedure expedites prosecution of defendants who plead guilty and accept penalty proposals. These are significant developments that enhance anti-bribery enforcement by the Chinese authorities and impose greater deterrence to bribery and corruption offenses. They also echo global anti-corruption trends and reflect the continuous escalation of China’s anti-corruption campaign.

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