LLAW6008 Introduction to Chinese law and legal system

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6008 / JDOC6008
Course name: Introduction to Chinese Law and Legal System
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

The objective of this course is to introduce students to China’s developing legal system and selected areas of substantive law. The notion of law as understood by contemporary lawyers has been an important part of China’s efforts at ‘modernization’ since the second half of 19th century, even though for a pre-urban and preindustrial society imperial China had a relatively sophisticated legal culture. Since 1978, in order to promote economic reform (among other reasons), the Chinese party-state has refurbished its legal system and created an impressively broad corpus of legal rules. However, from a comparative perspective, the extent to which China has become a ‘rule of law’ society remains unclear and this is one of the main concerns of the course. After examining briefly the system of governance before China embarked on its modernization programme, and bearing in mind the continuing influence of some of the enduring values of Chinese legal culture, this course goes on to explore the wide-ranging processes of legal modernization, the constitutional foundations of the current party-state, key contemporary Chinese legal institutions, access to civil, criminal and administrative justice, administrative and civil law, family and population law (because the family remains central to Chinese society), and social protection law (because this throws light on the relevance of law for social justice). Assessment is primarily by means of one research essay, though students should be prepared to participate in the class fully and to make class presentations. They will be given feedback on their research essay work in progress submitted for review as well as their presentations.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Angela Zhang angelaz@hku.hk CCT 913 By email


2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Describe the institutional framework, procedural arrangements, and fundamental principles structuring contemporary Chinese legal system;

 CLO 2 Explain the major cultural, economic and political forces informing and transforming the formal legal institutions in China;

CLO 3 Compare the fundamental features of Chinese legal system with other major legal systems in our contemporary world;

CLO 4 Apply the basic concepts and principles in various branches of Chinese law to solve real-world problems in China;

CLO 5 Evaluate the performance of Chinese legal institutions by relying upon well-developed legal principles and concepts embodies in the universal ideal of “rule of law” with proper consideration of China’s particular historical and cultural background.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

CLO 1  ✓  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓
CLO 3  ✓  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation N/A 10% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Take home exam TBC 90% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/


4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/


By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.