Professor Sun Xianzhong: China Urgently Needs to Establish the Civil Self-Help System in the Civil Code


On December 19, 2018, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued four guiding cases, which have not only clarified the standards on justifiable defense in the criminal law field, but also drawn public attention to the issue of civil self-help in the civil law field. In a recent interview by the website of China Legal Daily (, Professor Sun Xianzhong, member of the Academic Committee of CASS, Deputy to the Thirteenth National People’s Congress, and member of the Constitution and Law Committee of the National People’s Congress, called for the establishment of the civil self-help system in the Chinese Civil Code. He pointed out that legitimate rights embody values that worth protection. The law should allow appropriate use of force for the defense of legitimate rights. However, the use of force should not exceed the necessary limit. Today, when the concept of justifiable defense in the criminal law has been continuously adjusted and updated, it is necessary to also bring the public attend to the concept civil self-help in the field of civil law. He suggests that China establish in the Civil Code a complete civil self-help system, which should cover such issues as self-dense, retrieval by relying on oneself, the limit of the use of force in self-help, and the resolution of related disputes.