FCPA: China Joins the International Fight against Corruption

China has recently joined most of the western world in passing anti-corruption legislation. As reported by the FCPA Professor, “the legislature of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the National People’s Congress, passed a slate of 49 amendments to the Criminal Law, one of which … is a provision that criminalizes paying bribes to non-PRC government officials and to officials of international public organizations (“the Amendment”).” This Amendment represents the first instance in which PRC law has prohibited PRC nationals and PRC companies from paying bribes to non-PRC government officials and to officials of international public organizations. The Amendment became effective on May 1, 2011.

At the recent Dow Jones Global Compliance Symposium, Scott Lane, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Red Flag group, talked about this new Chinese anti-corruption legislation, contrasted it with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act and then raised some key interpretive questions that are yet unanswered. He prepared for me the text of the Amendment and a written summary of his remarks which forms the basis of this article.


Initially Lane noted that the key to the new law is “what’s not said” and the laws implementing regulations. The text of the Amendment (for a western trained lawyer) is amazingly brief. It reads:

Whoever, for the purpose of seeking illegitimate commercial benefits, gives money or property to any foreign public official or official of an international public organization, shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph (i.e., the pre-existing Article 164)

The pre-existing Article 164 criminalized the commercial bribery of giving money or property to any employee of a company, an enterprise or other institutions for the purpose of seeking illegitimate benefits ...

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