Chinese Law Resources at the George Washington University Law School

Donald Clarke
Professor of Law

In progress; last updated July 16, 2014

Below is a description of some of the resources for Chinese law research available at the law school (in most cases, through the law school library). It is not a complete list; its purpose is to bring to your attention valuable sources you might not otherwise know about. For Chinese law research in general, check out my page on research guides to Chinese law.


A good 3-volume looseleaf set with articles on dozens of subjects, mostly by practitioners. By and large up to date.

The author is a librarian at Washington University Law School in St. Louis, and this is a very helpful book.


The following two periodicals are very good for keeping up with the latest in Chinese law, at least as far as it's of interest to foreign lawyers and business people. Both are currently available on Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw. The links to the electronic versions work if you're connecting from a GW IP address.

Electronic Resources

Note: Many of these resources are accessible only from a GWU or GWU Law School IP address. In some cases a wireless connection is not good enough, and you must use Gelman Library's proxy server. Accessibility changes over time, so what works or doesn't work one month may not work or work another month. Keep trying!

This is a good set of laws and regulations offered both in English and Chinese. The translations are generally good, although not infallible. Click on "CCH Business and Management" on the library's database page. You can select this database by using the Browse function on the web site.

JAN. 31, 2013: UPDATED LINKS. The GWU Law Library now provides access to two legal databases maintained by Beijing University: ChinaLawInfo (in Chinese) and LawInfoChina (in English). Although the latter is not simply a translated version of the former -- the task is just too big -- both provide legislation, case reports, and secondary materials such as articles on various subjects. Both are available through a computer connected to the law school network (including via a wireless connection). If you don't find yourself automatically signed in (look at the top of the screen for a message welcoming "lawgwu"), look for the IP login link and click on it. There's an English FAQ here and English search tips here.

This is a quite comprehensive free database of Chinese laws and regulations. It includes a great deal of local legislation, departmental regulations, and Supreme People's Court interpretations. The main drawback is that it is not full-text-searchable; you can search by terms in the title or the issuing body. A nice feature is that you can separate central from local legislation in your results.

APRIL 11, 2013: UPDATED LINKS. An excellent source for articles from virtually all periodicals in China on virtually all subjects. GWU's access is only to a subset, but it's the subset that's useful to us: law, economics, and social science generally. This database is searchable by author, journal name, title, keywords, and full text. It is, of course, in Chinese. You can download PDF files of articles you find. This is now accessible from a GW (including law school) IP address: Chinese interface | English interface. If you are properly signed in, you should see "Welcome, ugwash" at the top of the left-hand sidebar. If you have difficulties, try using a different browser.

Here's an edited description from Jing Zhong, a Gelman librarian: "A kind of combined Google Scholar and Google Books for Chinese material. This is a huge content-based database composed of 800,000,000 full-text pages, with very flexible searches (full-text, books, articles, theses, web pages, and newspapers). It provides information about and, in many cases, full-text searching and/or limited views (up to about 20 pages) of 2,600,000 Chinese books. It is a useful tool for discovering bibliographic information, for locating particular search terms within a text, and for getting a preview of a text. Internet Explorer is recommended when accessing this database." To access, (1) go through the Gelman home page --> COLLECTIONS --> Global Resources Center--> GRC Research Guides and Comprehensive Guide to Databases (on the left navigation bar) --> General/Comprehensive Guide to Databases; or (2) click on this direct link from a GW IP address.

The China Documentation Center has a list of databases. Note in particular the Policies and Laws Database. This is a subset of the Wanfang Database, which includes a number of other databases (including one of Chinese periodicals). Also useful are China Data Online (about which see below) and ChinaInfoBank, an excellent database that provides access to many different kinds of information -- in particular economic news, but also laws, statistics, and corporate documents.

Several useful databases are accessible through Gelman Library; check out the Global Resources Center. Especially useful are the following: