A draft law was proposed at the conference of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress reading that virtual currency should get the same legal status in China as physical assets.

The novelty is part of the draft People’s Republic of China General Principles of Civil Law, a document supposed to renew the system of civil law in the country in accordance with the present day’s reality. The previous version of the code was issued in 1986. Now, if the law is passed, bitcoin and other types of virtual property will receive an acknowledged legal status as a result of amendments to two articles. The first of them deals with movable and immovable property and the second with intellectual property rights, reports NewsBTC quoting Chinese news resource 8BTC.

The draft law is good news for the Chinese bitcoin community, claims Dan Li, operating manager of Chinese bitcoin news and information site BTCKan. “I think the law indeed gives Bitcoin fans a new confidential atmosphere to go further on blockchain technology,” he said.

If the law is passed, then bitcoin, other digital currencies and online gaming tokens will be recognised as “Civil Rights Objects” across the country. This, in particular, gives users new opportunities in case of cryptocurrency theft. Such incidents will be treated similarly to personal data leakages. 

The discussion was raised in the country earlier as to what should be done legally in case of cryptocurrency fraud. The People’s Bank of China issued a notification in 2013 emphasising that bitcoin operations were online transactions of commodities, and ordinary citizens might participate in them “on their own risks.”

It is worth reminding that the People’s Republic of China has the largest bitcoin community in the world with the top bitcoin exchanges operating in the country. As CoinFox reported earlier, the recent dramatic rise in the price of bitcoin might be connected with the growing interest of Chinese users. If the current draft law is passed, a new price increase can be expected.

In 2004, amendments were made to Chinese constitution, for the first time in the contemporary history of the country introducing the concept of private property. This category included real estate, deposits, books, legal income, forests, livestock but not virtual objects. Therefore, the latter did not receive legal protection covering other types of private property.

Currently, article 13 of the Constitution proclaims the inviolability of the private property of Chinese citizens. However, this is different from the approach to public property, which is, to quote the Constitution, “sacredly inviolable”. Besides, the inviolability of private property has its limits: the article defends the right of the state to expropriate or requisition it “in the public interest”. Prior to 2004, the Constitution provided protection of “the right of citizens to own lawfully earned income, savings, houses and other lawful property” but avoided the term “private property”.


Andrew Levich