The answer to this question (in some Chinese courts, at least), is yes. A recent legal blogpost flagged a ruling in a labor case published in the Supreme People’s Court’s case database: Su Qiao v. the Taian (Shandong) Municipal Communist Party Disciplinary Inspection Commission. The author of the blog cited in support of his view Articles 48 of the 2012 Civil Procedure Law and Article 52 of the 2015 Civil Procedure Law Judicial Interpretation (concerning organizations that can be parties to civil litigation).
A subsequent (partial) database search revealed some other civil cases in which Communist Party organizations have appeared in variously as plaintiff, defendant, third party, and party against which the enforcement of an arbitral award was sought, including one decided by the Supreme People’s Court (Court):
General Office of the Jinan (Shandong) Communist Party Committee v. two individuals (leasing dispute,)(application to withdraw the lawsuit);
Three Gorges United Vocational University v.Chongqing Jianan Construction (Group) Ltd.Beibei District, Chongqing Muncipal Communist Party Committee School [Chongqing Jianan is listed as one of Chongqing’s top 100 companies in 2010], (construction dispute)(ruling by the Court in application for re-trial);
Ms. Luo Yun vs. Jiangbei District Chongqing Municipal Party Committee Old Cadre Bureau, Taiping Property Insurance Co. Ltd, Chongqing branch (traffic accident claim);
Mr. She Xuejun vs. Sheqi County (Henan) Communist Party Committee Old Cadre Bureau (leasing dispute);
Beijing Forbidden City Film Co. Ltd. v. Jiangchuan County (Yunnan) Communist Party Committee Propaganda Bureau (enforcement of a Beijing Arbitration Commission arbitral award).
4 thoughts on “Can Communist Party organizations sue or be sued in Chinese court?”
There is no indication as to the nature of the employment dispute in the cited case or whether it was first submitted to arbitration. Perhaps the plaintiff sued for unpaid wages, which can be framed as a civil dispute. What about the possibility of bringing an administrative case against the Party?
I don’t have further details about the case, either.
By making this case public, the judiciary is arguably demonstrating transparency, but at the same time, the information provided gives no clue as to which causes of action against the Party may be litigated. A case does not necessarily carry political implications or involve a violation of civil rights. As with any other employer, the Party needs service people to staff the cafeteria or fix the computers.
We will see how the law develops in this area. It appears that practice will take the lead.