Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reorganization of Chinese military courts revealed to outside world

On June 29, 2016, the reorganized structure of the Chinese courts, including the Chinese military courts, was made known in a one-page notice (dated in April) on a webpage of the Supreme People's Court (SPC). The graphic above is of the entire Chinese court system. The large orange sun is the SPC, while the red circle is the PLA Military Court. The turquoise circle below is the Theater Command Military Court, while the dark blue circle below is the basic level military court.
The reorganized courts (and their file numbers) are listed above and below:
The Theater Command Military Courts are intermediate level courts, while the number of basic level courts are reduced considerably from the previous structure.  Once further information is available about the jurisdiction, personnel appointment, and financing of the reconstituted courts, it will be reported on this blog.


  1. What authority is the Supreme People's Court purporting to exercise in this delineation of the military court structure? Military courts were in operation in China for centuries, but in 1979 they were re-established on a statutory basis as one of the special people's courts by Art.2 of the Organic Law of the People's Courts. Under Art.30 of the same Law the Supreme People's Court retains the authority (originally granted to it in the Constitution of 1954) to supervise the administration of justice by all of the courts, including the special people's courts. But Art.29 provides that the organization, functions and powers of the special people's courts are to be prescribed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

    If we are to expect major changes to the military court system during the current reform efforts, shouldn't those changes be in the form of legislation from the Standing Committee of the NPC rather than a notice from the Supreme People's Court?

  2. Peter, the Supreme People's Court does not have the authority to reorganize the military courts. The SPC is standardizing the reference numbers for the reorganized military courts. There has not yet been legislation from the NPC Standing Committee on the military courts. I would expect that to come after the people's court organizational law is amended.


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