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Cops and Printers

Recent modifications of Chinese administrative regulations adjust the functions of the police and publications authorities regarding the printing industry.

  1. Social Credit Regulation and Information Sharing with Law Enforcement (article 13)

An entirely new line has been added, saying that the administrative departments for publications are to exchange information on printing companies with the police and commercial regulators through the nation’s rapidly forming social credit information platform.

The social credit system is not a traditional credit system, but an expansive data aggregation system designed  to evaluate the trustworthiness of companies and individuals based on their past conduct. Its records are not only meant to inform consumers, but are the basis for a collective reward and punishment scheme, which include reduced regulation for the creditworthy, and even being banned from certain fields if found untrustworthy.

  1. Reduced roles for the police

Perhaps because police will now have access to information through the credit platform, several of their direct regulatory roles have also been removed. This appears to largely eliminate double registration or double approval systems that had printing companies regulated by both police and publications authorities (some of which had been removed under previous revisions).

  • Public Security Department under State council is no longer involved in drafting measures on several required systems such as for verification and registration of printing jobs, preservation of originals and destruction of defects (Article 5 paragraph 1), leaving this job solely to the administrative department of publication.
  • It is no longer necessary to separately file with the police when establishing an in-house printer in a unit; allowing that registration with the publication authorities alone is sufficient (article 15). The power to enforce this registration requirements is also now solely with the publication authorities.
  • Police approval is no longer required for printing proclamations, notices, employee cards for major events, traffic/gate passes, and coupons or tickets circulated publicly. Moreover, these works no longer need to be printed at establishments designated by the police.(article 31)
  • Enforcement authority, including steep fines, has been shifted from the police to the publication authorities for some offenses as well, such as where one fails to verify approvals for printing the document types mentioned above; or prints counterfeit official documents such as diplomas. (article 43)
    • For the first time, also, the regulations now clarify that criminal liability may be pursued for these offenses. This is more likely included as a reminder that police could be brought in if there is a crime than to reflect a harder stance against the offenses.
  1. Roles left for the police.

The police role is now reduced to situations where there is criminal activity or public security offenses, and less regulatory. (see article 38)

Comparison Chart of Impacted Sections





第三十一条 印刷布告、通告、重大活动工作证、通行证、在社会上流通使用的票证的,委托印刷单位必须出具主管部门的证明,并按照国家有关规定向印刷企业所在地公安部门办理准印手续,在公安部门指定的印刷企业印刷。公安部门指定的印刷企业必须验证主管部门的证明和公安部门的准印证明,并保存主管部门的证明副本和公安部门的准印证明副本2年,以备查验;并且不得再委托他人印刷上述印刷品。印刷布告、通告、重大活动工作证、通行证、在社会上流通使用的票证的,委托印刷单位必须向印刷企业出具主管部门的证明。印刷企业必须验证主管部门的证明,并保存主管部门的证明副本2年,以备查验;并且不得再委托他人印刷上述印刷品。








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