"Revolution is glorious! Revolution is no crime!" International Crimes and Chinese Domestic Law, and the Gang of Four Trial

Research paper by OBrien, M.

Indexed on: 31 Jul '16Published on: 21 Jul '16Published in: New Criminal Law Review


China was active in the drafting of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but has not become a state party, and the Chinese relationship with international criminal law is not strong. Given this, an examination of China’s own abilities and actions with regard to accountability for international crimes is warranted. China does not have any legislation proscribing violations of international humanitarian law, or war crimes, genocide, or crimes against humanity. This article will examine some of the options under current Chinese Criminal Law of 1997 that could be used to prosecute international crimes in lieu of express provisions. The second part of the article undertakes an international criminal law and human rights analysis of the Gang of Four trial, as the only trial of leaders linked to the mass crimes of the Cultural Revolution and thus the only real example of an attempt at accountability for mass crimes in modern China. These two parts of the article combine together to provide an analysis of China’s ability to enact and attempts at accountability for international crimes committed in China.