Cross-Examination of Witnesses in Chinese Criminal Courts

By: Zhiyuan Guo


PDF: Cross-Examination of Witnesses in Chinese Criminal Courts


Questioning witnesses is essential for both fact-finding and ensuring the defendant’s right to confrontation in criminal trials. Part I introduces the recently released judicial interpretation on the Application of Criminal Procedure Law by China’s Supreme Court as a background for discussion of this Article. In Part II, the author sets the stage by arguing that resolution of questions concerning examination and cross-examination of witnesses is essential to the effective achievement of China’s trial-centered criminal procedure law reform. In Part III, a historical review is given of the academic debate on the questioning of witnesses in Chinese criminal courts. Part IV examines and evaluates China’s current legislation on cross-examination of witnesses. By comparing the Chinese legal provisions with the Anglo-American cross-examination rules, the author argues that China has not formally established cross-examination rules, but that there are some existing provisions that nevertheless regulate or guide cross- examination. In Part V, the author discusses her empirical findings about the questioning of witnesses in Chinese criminal courts. Features will be summarized, and problems identified. In Part VI, some proposals are put forward to create a set of cross- examination rules suited to the Chinese situation. Part VII concludes this Article by reiterating the author’s key arguments.