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Whistleblowing and self-reporting
Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?
The Provisions on the Reporting of Crimes to People’s Procuratorates set out the protection available to whistleblowers who report corruption and bribery cases to a people's procuratorate. The provisions include a number of measures which ensure:
- the confidentiality of corruption reports provided to the people's procuratorates (eg, keeping informers’ personal information confidential); and
- the personal safety of informers and their close relatives.
The provisions also provide a reward mechanism for whistleblowers who report crimes to a people's procuratorate.
The Criminal Procedure Law also contains several measures that protect the personal safety of witnesses giving evidence in legal proceedings and their families.
An employee who is dismissed for whistleblowing would need to commence an action for wrongful dismissal against the employer.
Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?
The November 2015 amendments to the Criminal Law and the April 2016 judicial interpretation clarified the conditions under which self-reporting mitigates a party’s liability for bribery-related violations or exempts it from liability – in particular, when the underlying crimes are relatively minor and the offenders have assisted with exposing the corrupt activities of others. Otherwise, offenders who self-report should be entitled to lenient treatment, but cannot be completely exempted from liability.
The Chinese authorities generally view self-reporting as highly unusual. In the context of multi-jurisdictional investigations, self-reporting first to international authorities (eg, in the United States or the United Kingdom), with follow-on reporting to the authorities in China, is far more common.
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