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China Broadens Criteria for Self-Defense

Mon, 08 May 2023
Categories: China Legal Trends

If the victim’s self-defense causes injury to the perpetrator, the victim may be deemed to have committed a criminal act of intentional injury. For years, this traditional practice of the Chinese judiciary discouraged people from fighting against aggression.

This traditional judicial practice is to be changed by the “Guiding Opinions on Lawfully and Properly Handling Minor Injury Cases” (关于依法妥善办理轻伤害案件的指导意见, hereinafter the “Opinions”), issued by China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on 22 Dec. 2022.2

According to the Opinions, the victim’s behavior will constitute self-defense if:

  • both parties cannot keep restraint when arguing over trifles, which leads to fighting;
  • the party at fault initiates the fight with obviously excessive measures, or one party strikes first and continues the violation despite the other party’s efforts to avoid conflicts; and
  • the party who fought back caused injury to the other party.



Cover Photo by Richard Tao on Unsplash


Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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