Saturday, November 12, 2016

Taking the PLA to court

Hotel of Chengdu Military District
The Chinese government announced with great fanfare in March, 2016 that the Chinese military and armed police would stop providing all paid services within three years.The Central Military Commission issued a document to implement the government decision. The full text of the document (Notice on the military and armed police forces stopping entirely compensated services)(关于军队和武警部队全面停止有偿服务活动的通知) has not been made public, only summaries. According to the summaries, contracts between the military and local entities should be terminated immediately if they could be negotiated, and new contracts or renewal of existing ones were not allowed. Few outside China could imagine that this announcement would lead to civilian businesses and individuals taking the PLA to court.

According to scattered reports in the official press (and searches of a Chinese court judgment database), quite a few of these cases have ended up in the civilian courts, leading military officers charged with implementing the CMC decision to meet with local court leaders. A quick search reveals many of the cases are leases, with military district real estate bureaus acting as lessors.

A local Jiangsu court reported that it had dealt with 36 cases, with about 2/3 resolved through mediation, by giving the military priority in taking the case, serving process, scheduling court hearings, mediation, and enforcement. It appears from the another press report that the military parties are relying on the principle of changed circumstances to terminate these leases and other contracts. It is unclear whether more comprehensive statistics on the total number of cases will be made available at year's end.

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