On March 15, 2017, the General Rules of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China (the "General Rules of the Civil Law") were adopted at the Fifth Session of the 12th National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China and issued upon approval under the Order of the President No.66, and shall come into force as of October 1, 2017.
The General Rules of the Civil Law, comprised of 11 chapters with a total of 206 articles, provide for the civil law's basic principles, civil subjects, civil rights, civil justice acts, civil liability and limitation of actions and other fundamental systems on the civil law. The General Rules of the Civil Law lower the threshold age of a minor having limited capacity for civil conduct to the age of eight, add new provisions to protect the interests of foetuses, and improve the guardianship system. Also, the General Rules of the Civil Law categorize legal persons into three groups, namely, the profit-making legal persons, non-profit legal persons and special legal persons, endowing an unincorporated association with civil subject status and providing that unincorporated associations include sole proprietorship enterprises, partnership enterprises and those professional service agencies not qualified as legal persons. Furthermore, the General Rules of the Civil Law make specific provisions on the protection of personal information, general provisions on intellectual property rights and also other provisions on the protection of data and online virtual properties. Although the General Rules of the Civil Law have been adopted, the General Principles of the Civil Law will not be repealed temporarily. Where there is any discrepancy between the two laws, the General Rules of the Civil Law shall prevail.