From the General Provisions of Civil Law to the General Rules of Civil Law: A Historic Leap

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 41, No. 2, 2020


From the General Provisions of Civil Law to the General Rules of Civil Law: A Historic Leap



Yang Lixin


The General Provisions of Civil Law (民法通则), formulated in the early days of reform and opening up, was a special law that set out the basic principles or rules of civil law, defining civil subjects, civil legal acts and the agency system, declaring the civil rights enjoyed by civil subjects, establishing a relatively complete system of civil liability system, and so on. It kindled awareness of civil rights among the mass of the population, ensured China’s rapid economic and social development, and laid down a basic framework and content for the civil code, so holds an important position in contemporary Chinese history. But with the development of the economy and society, civil law has had to change with the times. Civil law jurisprudence injects theoretical support into contemporary civil law legislation, and the blueprint for law based governance provides a powerful impetus to the historic leap forward of contemporary Chinese civil law, providing the necessary conditions for the codification of civil law. The completion of the General Rules of Civil Law (民法总则) answers the requirements of the economic, humanist and legal character of the times, demonstrates the humanist stance and spirit of the civil code, rises to the challenge of modern scientific and technological development, and ensures people’s enjoyment and control of their new-style rights and their objective forms. This signifies that the GPCL has

accomplished its historical task and civil law in contemporary China has realized a historic leap forward, laying a foundation for the compilation of the Chinese civil code, including the specific provisions of the framework and the contents of its individual parts.


Keywords: General Rules of Civil Law, General Provisions of Civil Law, contemporary Chinese civil law, humanist