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China Self Defense Rules in Criminal Defense Cases

As a criminal defense lawyer, I often provide consultation on China criminal law rules. I received a consultation on a questions about self-defense. Let's say that Person A has a gun and pursues Person B. Person B gets away and Person turns around. Has Person A done enough to break off the pursuit? Person B comes out and beats up Person A. Who is the aggressor now? What I am wondering is at what point does the aggressor become the victim so that self-defense is a valid response?

Below is my answer to above questions.

It's highly dependent on the interpretation of Chinese law. But, I think we need to clarify the language. It's not legally relevant whether someone "pursues" another. It's likely relevant whether a person is an "aggressor," but that's not the term - at least in the Chian Criminal Law.

Instead, the rule is that self defense is not available if the defendant "provoked the use of force." In your example, I think it would require more facts to establish that Person A "provoked the use of force," whether or not he broke off the pursuit. Certainly, there would be some pursuits that would provoke force, and others that would not. It really just depends. Of course, if they actually broke off the pursuit and that was proven at trial, then I don't think anyone could claim that they provoked the force.

On the other hand, it would be very difficult for Person B to claim that he did not provoke the use of force. Of course, you could add facts that could change that. For example, if Person A was yelling "when I find you, I'm going to kill you" or "I'm going to hunt you to the ends of the earth."  But, based on the facts you presented, Person B would not likely be able to claim self defense.

China self defense rules are more complicated than you imagined. Consult our China criminal defense lawyer for more information.


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