It is the Court duty to continuously improve core socialist values. The Supreme Court had chosen 10 cases that carry forward such values in simple language and straight to the point style. These 10 cases symbolified (i) family virtues; (ii) social morality; (iii) public order; (iv) mutual assistance; (v) integrity management; (vi) integrity of litigation; (vii) law-abiding; (viii) public environment etc.
We will now showcase the 10 cases.
I Liu v Liu and Zhou (division of property)
Filial piety is a core Chinese value that had been in society for millenniums. Parents endure all kinds of hardships in order to provide the best for their children. In this case, the parents paid the majority amount in purchasing a house, they gave 90% of the property to their daughter, however their daughter wants the entire portion of the property. The Court decided against the daughter.
The Plaintiff is the only daughter of the Defendants. In November 2012, the Plaintiff and the Defendants bought a house in Chongqing, majority of the housing payment was paid by the Defendants. According to agreement, the Plaintiff would hold 90% of the property and the Defendants would each hold 5%. After which, the Plaintiff and the Defendants got into a conflict due to renovations, and applied to Court with the Plaintiff asking for the entire share of the property by paying the Defendants RMB 28,000 each. The Defendants main argument was that they paid for the majority of the Property and does not agree to transfer the shares. The Court decided that although the Property belonged to both the Plaintiff and the Defendants, and since all the parties are family, but due to the Defendants paying for the majority of the Property out of love for their children registered 90% of the shares for the Plaintiff, according to [Property Law] Clause 7, they would decide against the Plaintiff due to violations of traditional filial piety.
(ii) The Law
[Property Law] Clause 7 states one should respect social morality, harm no one’s interest in order to receive and use property.
II Police Refuse to Update Household Register for “Bei Yan Yun Yi”
Citizen’s rights to choosing names should be in accordance to law, and should not e against social morality. In this case, the Plaintiff’s parents named their child “Bei Yan Yun Yi” which did not include any of their surnames, nor were there any other legit reasons for doing so. Hence the Court decided that it was proper for the Police to reject the name to be registered within the Household Register in order to uphold social morality.
Husband and wife Lv and Shang decided to name their daughter “Bei Yan Yun Yi”, went to the police for Household Register, however the Police rejected her application in accordance to law and procedure. Lv then thought that it infringed her daughter’s right to choose a name and hence she started litigation proceedings. The Court decided that according to [Civil Law] clause 99 subclause 1, citizens should respect social morality when choosing names. Citizens should have a legit reason to choose a surname that includes none of the parents’ surname.
(ii) The Law
According to [Civil Law] clause 99 subclause 1, citizens are entitled to naming rights, and with the following reasons, they are allowed to use a surname that belongs to neither of the parents
- Surname of other direct family members
- As decided by the adopter and uses the adopter’s surname
- Other reasons that does not violate civil law
- Minorities can have surnames and names according to their tradition
III Zhou v Police (for the police delaying legal responsibilities)
“Keeping fit and healthy for a harmonious life” is a core socialist value. Participating in fitness activities can improve both physical and mental health, however this should be done without causing harm to others. The plaintiff Zhou has caused widespread inconvenience for square dancing underneath residents’ apartments in a certain community, causing Mr Xiang to complain to the Police. The Court decided against the Plaintiff Zhou. This case also aims to remind the masses that although exercising is important, it should be done with respect to others to improve culture for a harmonious coexistence.
The Plaintiff Zhou stay in Changsha, some residents will dance to music underneath his apartment around 8 pm at night daily, with the music turned on full blast, seriously affecting his quality of life. The Plaintiff applied to the Police hoping that they would do something about it. After receiving the complains, the police had on several occasions went to the scene to tell the dancing residents to turn the volume down or to change location, however nothing changed. Hence the Plaintiff applied to the Court asking for the matter to be dealt with by law. The Court decided that dancing and blasting music underneath residential apartments could be considered as a form of violations of the law, and the police should intervene. After the verdict was given, the police on numerous occasions advised and educated the dancing public and transferred their dance location to an empty plot of land several hundred meters away. The government also can to an agreement with a bus station in Changsha to build a plot of land specially for dancing to avoid causing inconvenience to residents, but at the same time allowing people to have a healthy lifestyle.
(ii) The Law
[Anti Noise Pollution Law] Clause 58 subsection 2 states that if recreational activities and assemblies in the city, streets, plaza, garden and other public venues were to cause inconvenience by causing too much noise pollution, the police can give warnings and issue a fine.
[Civil Law] Clause 58 states that if activities were to cause inconvenience to others due to noise pollution above the normal level, the police will issue a warning, if such activities were to continue after a warning has been issues, then a fine between RMB 200 to 500 will be issued.
IV Zhang’s Inheritance Case
The sentence “neighbours are dearer than distant relatives,” emphasizes the importance of good neighbourly relationships. Neighbours should look out, and help each other to build a harmonious relationship and to improve the society. In this case, Yang’s dad had been well taken care of by the Zhang couple, the law supports the decision of Yang’s dad giving the property to Zhang couple’s son.
The Plaintiff Zhang couple and their son are neighbours with the Defendant Yang’s father. The Plaintiff had looked after the Defendant’s father since the 50s; they had a very good relationship. Yang had not been in contact with his father and only contacted him in November 2011. Yang’s father then orally promised to give his house to the Zhang couple’s son when he was in hospital; many witnesses heard this promise at that time. On March 2013, Yang’s father passed away. After which the Plaintiff and the Defendants applied to Court for litigation to resolve the inheritance issue. The Court decided that the Plaintiff’s father’s house belongs to the Plaintiff’s son as promised by the Plaintiff’s father, whereas other inheritance will belong to the Plaintiff.
(ii) The Law
[Inheritance Law] Clause 5 states that according to inheritance procedure, the will would be executed for those with a will; gifts will be executed as well according to agreement. Clause 25 states that those without any disagreement will be seen as accepting the will, however those who are gifted but who remain silent after 2 months would be seen as abandoning the gift.
V Yang’s Case Against Insurance Company
Honesty is vitally important in civil matters especially for insurance companies. This case sets out the responsibilities that insurance companies have to bear in the event that their contracts are incomplete.
In 2013, Yang bought two types of insurance under an insurance company (from here on referred to as the Company). In 2014, Yang got injured in a traffic accident and was diagnosed with level 9 injuries. Soon after, Yang took the Company to Court asking for the company to pay her medical expenses in full as promised, which comes to a total of around RMB 160,000. The Company argued that they should only pay proportions instead of the full amount as according to [Insurance Policy on Degree of Disability Scale]. The Court however decided that the Company has the duty to state that out during the signing of contract, therefore ordered the Company to pay the full amount. With the Court decision, both parties decided to settle the matter privately, with the Plaintiff eventually receiving around RMB 140,000 in total.
(ii) The Law
[Insurance Law] Clause 17 states that the insurance contract should contain all relevant clauses. All clauses should be written; oral clauses would not attract legal responsibilities. Clause 12 states that contracts via the Internet or phone calls, relevant clauses could be in the form of webpage, voice recordings, video recordings. Clause 13 states that insurance companies should make known to their clients of their duty to state all relevant clauses.
VI Zhang v Limited Company (contractual issue)
Every social relationship is based on the fundamental principle of honesty. In the current society filled with fake products, honesty is even harder to come by. The society has been trying its best to promote be buy with assurance, eat with relieve, and use with satisfaction, for a safe food environment. The court in this case supports the decision of issuing fines to products without production date, certification or manufacturer.
Mr Zhang bought 5 big bottles of Shiji sesame oil and 47 small bottles of Shiji sesame oil at RMB 654 in a certain Commercial Trading Co (from now on referred to as the Company). Soon after, the FDA concluded that the Company had been involved in selling products without production date, certification or manufacturer, and hence fined the Company. Zhang then filed litigation proceedings against the company to pay back his RMB 654 plus 10 times fine at RMB 6540. The Court decided for Mr Zhang.
(ii) The Law
[Food Safety Law] clause 4 states that manufacturers should be responsible for their products. Manufacturers should manufacturer food and regulate activities within the boundaries of law, in order to ensure food safety and be responsible to the public. Clause 148 subclause 2 states that for manufacturers that produce sub-standard food shall be responsible for the consumer’s lost an could request for a fine at 10 times the value of the products or 3 times the value of lost. For fine amounts less than RMB 1,000 the fine would be RMB 1,000.
VII Ship Company v Ship Repair Company (Contractual Issue)
Honesty is a virtue in Chinese society; it is fundamental for the enhancement of the society. In this case, the parties got together to fabricate a creditor-debtor relationship; the Court dismissed the litigation proceedings and fined the parties involved.
The Plaintiff the Defendant for withholding RMB 380,000, and requested the Court to let the Defendant return RMB 431,850. During the trial, the Court realised there were several doubts about the case, and after investigation, the Court realised that the Plaintiff and Defendant had got together with malicious intent to fabricate a creditor-debtor relationship. The Court hence passed judgment to fine both parties at RMB 200,000 each.
(iii) The Law
[Litigation Law] clause 13 subclause 1 states that litigation proceedings should be used for honest reasons. Clause 112 states that for parties that gets together for malicious intent in order to use litigation proceedings for unlawful purposes, the Court will dismiss proceedings and after assessing the seriousness of the matter, ether pose a fine, or detain the parties involved.
VIII False Witness
During the process of litigation, honesty is of upmost importance in order to protect the legal rights of everyone involved and in order to reach a just judgment. False testimonies will not only seriously affect the end result of the judgment but also pose harm to the entire judicial system and society. In this case, Mr Jin gave false witness amounting to a contempt of Court, and received legal punishment as a result.
When the Police was investigating a case of causing serious injury with malicious intent, the Defendant Jin gave false testimony twice during investigation questioning. He falsified evidence that he saw Mr Hu punched twice on Mr Wang’s face causing Mr Hu to be detained and sued. After which during another investigation questioning, he went back against his previous evidence and admitted to giving false testimony previously. The Court decided that during the entire litigation process, Mr Jin gave false testimony seriously jeopardizing the fair trial process; therefore he received punishment for contempt of court as a result.
(ii) The Law
[Criminal Law] clause 305 states that during litigation, if the witness, appraiser, court clerk, translator or anyone involved in the trial were to give false testimonies, false witnesses, take false notes, give false translations, or other illegal acts, shall face incarceration or penal servitude for periods less than 3 years, for serious matters, incarceration between 3 to 7 years.
IX Certain Shanghai University not Awarding Students with their Degrees
Honesty is a core fundamental value in society. In this case the Plaintiff Gao is a university student, however he cheated in the exam breaching government and school rules. The University decided to not award him with a degree as punishment.
Undergraduate Gao in a Shanghai University cheated during examinations, the university decided to punish him by not awarding him with a degree. Gao refuses to obey and initiated litigation proceedings with the Court. The Court decided that the University’s decision was correct therefore the Court reinstated the decision, and dismissed Gao’s proceedings.
(ii) The Law
[Criminal Law] clause 284 states that cheaters during an examination will be punished with less than 3 years incarceration or penal servitude, for serious incidents, 3 to 7 years incarceration accompanied with a fine. Those who aid others to cheat will face the same penalties. Those who provide answers available for cheating will similarly face the same penalties. Same for those who take the exam for others will be fined or incarcerated.
[Regulation of Academic Degrees] clause 8 states that for Masters Degrees and PhD degrees will be awarded by Institutions and Research Facilities authorised by the State Council.
[Other Academic Regulations] clause 16 states that for students who had seriously breached regulations by cheating will be awarded a zero for that course, and will be dealt with in accordance to school rules. After some observations, those whom had regretted and changed their ways might be given a chance to re-take the exam.
X Environmental Association v Environmentally Polluting Company
Our environment is vital to our survival; a safe and clean environment is expected for the advancement of society. Regardless during our everyday life or during production, we should not be sacrificing our environment for personal gains, we should always aim to protect our environment, or be subjected to legal sanctions. In this case, a company and 6 other Defendants had been flushing pollutants into the river polluting water resources for a long time. An environmental association started litigation proceedings against the Defendants for polluting the environment.
A Company and 6 other defendants were brought to Court for polluting the environment, in order to save money; the Defendants flush toxic waste materials into the river during their production, whereby they seriously polluted the nearby water resources. The Plaintiffs filed for litigation wanting the Defendants to be responsible. The Court eventually decided for the Plaintiffs and ordered the Defendants to pay RMB 16,000,000 and valuation fee and to come up with a more environmentally sustainable plan for factory usage.
(ii) The Law
[Tort Law] clause 65 states that the polluter should be responsible for pollutions he caused.
[Environmental Law] clause 58 states that litigation proceedings are available for environmental pollution. However litigation should not be used as a means for benefits.
[Water Pollution Law] Clause 29 states that it is prohibited to deposit oils, acids, alkaline, or other toxins into any body of water.