China Outlaws Bribery Overseas

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China has joined a growing number of countries that are implementing new criminal laws to prohibit payment of bribes to foreign officials. In doing so, China is seeking to encourage good behavior among the growing number of Chinese companies doing business overseas.

On February 25, 2011, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the Eighth Amendment to the PRC Criminal Law (the “Eighth Amendment”), which took effect on May 1, 2011. Article 29 of the Eighth Amendment criminalizes, for the first time under PRC law, paying bribes to foreign government officials and to officials of international public organizations (the “Foreign Bribery Provision”). The Foreign Bribery Provision brings China’s anticorruption laws into closer alignment with those in other countries, most notably the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).

To date the Chinese government has been more focused on addressing domestic bribery of officials who accept bribes, rather than those parties who pay them.

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