Circular on Urging Fugitives Involved in Gang-related Crimes to Surrender Themselves to Justice (Mainland China)

Joyce Wen

The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice issued the Circular on Urging Fugitives Involved in Gang-related Crimes to Surrender Themselves to Justice (the “Circular”) on November 4, 2019.  The Circular seeks to thoroughly carry out the crime fighting policy of provide fugitives and defendants (“Fugitives”) a chance to start over and the potential for more leniency.

The Circular declares that Fugitives who turn themselves in between the date the Circular is issued to January 31, 2020 will be eligible for reduced or even no punishment if they truthfully confess their crimes.  The Circular also stipulates the circumstances of voluntary surrender.  If they cannot turn themselves in to judicial authorities within the required period for objective reasons, they may designate another person to do so on their behalf.  For those who have escaped after committing a crime and decides to voluntarily turn themselves in while wanted, or those that were arrested while voluntarily turning themselves in or it can be ascertained that they were preparing to turn themselves in, those individuals shall be deemed to have voluntarily surrendered to justice.  In addition, friends and relatives should proactively persuade the Fugitives to turn themselves in as soon as possible.  If the Fugitives turn themselves in after being persuaded and accompanied by their relatives, or if their relatives reported the crime and then brought the Fugitives in, those Fugitives will also be regarded as having voluntarily surrender to justice.

The Circular also stipulates the circumstances where punishment may be reduced or exempted.  If it is verified that the Fugitives reported or exposed the criminal acts of others and provided important clues which result in the solution of other cases, or if they provided notable performance in actively helping judiciary authorities to apprehend other Fugitives, they may be eligible for or reduced punishment; if the assistance was exemplary, the punishment may be eliminated altogether.

In addition, the Circular states that the Fugitives should recognize their situations and turn themselves in as soon as possible to earn lenient treatment.  If they refuse to turn themselves in within the required period, the judiciary authorities will penalize them in strict adherence to the law, while prohibiting persons from providing assistance in the form of a hiding spot, finances, transportation, provide tip-offs or false evidence, or otherwise facilitating their evasion and concealment.  If the above circumstances are verified and constitute a crime, criminal liabilities will be pursued pursuant to law.