A recent report by Legal Daily shows that China increased its anti-corruption enforcement actions in 2015.
In 2015, the Chinese prosecutors pursued 8,217 actions against individual bribers, a significant increase comparing to 7,827 in 2014 and 5,515 in 2013.
The total number of anti-corruption cases tried by the Chinese courts increased from 31,000 in 2014 to 34,000 in 2015. The individuals involved in these cases also increased from 44,000 in 2014 to 49,000 in 2015.
China passed new anti-corruption laws, including the Ninth Amendment to the Criminal Law and the Draft of the Amendment to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law. The Supreme Court of China has also issued new interpretations of the Criminal Law regarding anti-corruption and anti-bribery cases.
On the other hand, the total number of enforcement actions brought by the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) decreased — from 4521 in 2013 to 2986 in 2014 and 669 in the first half of 2015, although the average fines imposed in each case have increased, as the total fines imposed by the AIC only decreased from 463,000,000 in 2013 to 443,000,000 in 2014 and 113,000,000 in the first half of 2015.
The Legal Daily report said the decrease was caused by the ongoing reform to the AIC system. Some local AICs are being transferred from the “vertical system” (meaning they are directly controlled branches of the State AIC) to the local government, and some AICs are being integrated with other departments of the local governments such as the administration for food and drugs and the administration for quality control. These changes may have affected the enforcement of the local AICs. The report predicts that once the reforms are concluded, the AIC will resume its anti-corruption enforcement actions.
The enforcement statistics for 2015 show that the Chinese government is still expanding its efforts against corruption and commercial bribery cases.
That’s a signal for foreign companies doing business in China to follow closely ongoing changes of the regulatory environment to stay in compliance with the local anti-corruption laws.
Chang Liu is an attorney in Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP based in the firm’s Woodbury, New York office. Prior to law school at Hofstra University, he worked for a defense contractor in China on cross-border transactions. He’s fluent in Chinese and Spanish. He can be contacted here.