Abstract: The term ‘good faith’ or rather ‘objective good faith’ is the ‘king clause’ of People’s Republic of China (PRC) law. This is also tied to the value system implied by the Chinese term chengshi xinyong. This article offers an analysis of the Chinese term and how the PRC courts utilize the principle, which is a neologism from the 1931 Republican Civil Code, much influenced by German and Japanese laws. The introduction of the term in 1931 was meant to strike a balance between modernity and traditional Chinese values and ‘good faith’s’ collective quality was considered instrumental to social justice. Socialist interpretation does not necessarily lead to particularly original solutions: The use of the notion of ‘good faith’ in a judicial context is consistent with the judicial practice in several countries belonging to a Western legal tradition. However, ‘good faith’ is often placed alongside traditional Chinese criteria such as ‘reasonableness’ and ‘fairness’, and as such ‘good faith’ is frequently used to achieve the end of ‘justice’ in specific cases, leading the author to conclude that the application of rules borrowed from Western legal cultures, in several cases, seemingly mirrored solutions developed within the Chinese tradition.
Résumé: La notion de ‘bonne foi’, ou plutôt de ‘bonne foi objective’, est une notion clé du droit de la République Populaire de Chine (RPC). Cette notion s’inscrit dans le système de valeurs que recouvre le terme chinois ‘chengshi xinyong’. Le présent article offre une analyse de cette notion de droit chinois et de la manière dont les cours de la RPC utilisent ce principe, un néologisme introduit en 1931 par le Code civil républicain et fortement infl uencé par les droits allemand et japonais.European Review of Private Law