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Contract Law in Chinese Tradition

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Chapter Summary

What seems important in understanding Chinese contract law is the concept of obligatio. Although the concept of Qi Yue (agreement) was used in China for many centuries, it was never clearly defined. In the meantime, the term obligatio was used interchangeably to mean contractual obligation, and it was referred to monetary obligation under which the debtor was responsible for paying the creditor. The modern Chinese legal system is strongly marked with the civil law tradition. During the course of the contact law legislation, there developed four different contract theories: economic means theory; civil act theory; agreement theory; and exchange theory. Therefore, it is fair to say that though the exact meaning of the socialist market economy requires debates the contracts undoubtedly have evolved to be the primary player in Chinese economy because it has become the Chinese legislative belief that contract law is the basic legal framework of market economy.

Keywords: agreement theory; Chinese contract law; Chinese legal system; Chinese tradition; civil act theory; economic means theory; exchange theory; socialist market economy

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