The Evolution and Status of Jurisdictional Measures Governing Foreign Parties and Internet Transactions in China


Commercial activities in China are increasingly international in characteristic given its economic liberalization and use of modern telecommunications to transact with global markets. As a consequence, the number of general disputes involving foreigners that are adjudicated by the Chinese courts has witnessed a parallel increase over the years. Conflict of law questions including jurisdiction are some of the foremost legal challenges facing parties intending to use Chinese courts to redress their disputes. The paper examines major Chinese legal measures addressing the question of jurisdiction involving foreigners that would have implications on international commercial activities in general and the Internet related activities in particular. After briefly tracing some general characteristics, the paper investigates the jurisdictional issues and choice of forum in legal disputes involving foreign parties. The Doctrine of Lis Pendens and Forum Non Convenience as manifested in China are examined in context. The paper investigates how Chinese legal regime and judicial response are evolving to address challenges relating to internet transactions. In this regard, the dynamics of the judicial response governing internet specific copyright challenges is specifically examined. The evolution and status of the Chinese conflict of law regime traced in the paper is expected to reveal its strength and weaknesses in addressing major concerns and skepticism regarding the role of Chinese courts as viable forums for settlement of disputes in international commercial and internet transactions.