The Evolution and Application of the System of Punitive Damages

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.3, 2014


The Evolution and Application of the System of Punitive Damages



Zhu Guangxin


The revised Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests brings together the evolutionary patterns of punitive damage regulations over the last two decades, setting up a fairly classic system of punitive damages. In essence, punitive damage is a special punitive system divided between public and private law that uses private law to execute the punitive and deterrent functions of public law. Its application should be guided by the ideas and principles of the public law penal system; it is not possible for it to pursue the principles of the traditional law of compensation for loss. Whether the punitive and compensatory systems laid down in the law are applied singly or together, and whether fines are given separately or the system of financial penalities is used simultaneously, may all entail questions of the appropriateness of the penalty, so should follow the principle of the punishment fitting the crime. In addition, when applied, the new system of punitive damages will have a great influence on other regulations concerning punitive damages such as the Food Safety Law and the Tort Law.