Foreigners in the Chinese Criminal Justice System

Depiction of the scales of justice in front of a Chinese flag


As the world’s 2nd largest economy, China has attracted many foreigners to work, study or visit there. There have been increasing reports of foreigners being charged with criminal offences in China in the past decade. Recent high-profile cases include Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, Australians Cheng Lei and Yang Hengjun, and Korean national/New Zealand permanent resident Kim Kyung Yup. This presentation will discuss a number of legal issues that have emerged in China’s handling of foreigners who are suspected of, charged with or convicted of criminal offences under Chinese law, including exit restrictions, jurisdiction, access to consular assistance, sentencing and deportation.

About the speaker

Dr Lili Song is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Otago. Her primary research area is refugee and immigration law. She is the author of Chinese Refugee Law and Policy (CUP 2020) and a forthcoming forum article “Controversial High-Profile Detention and Prosecution of Foreigners” in The China Story Yearbook 2021: Contradictions (ANU Press 2022).