Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Monday, February 13, 2006

The last word on the yishang/yixia problem?

For those of you who, like me, are annoyed or frustrated by the frequent use in Chinese legal drafting of the ambiguous yishang (以上) and yixia (以下), here's an essay that thoroughly examines the issue: Download YiShangYiXia.pdf. Apparently these expressions have been around for thousands of years, and the ancients used them unambiguously (to include the number in question). It's only the moderns who have gotten sloppy. O tempora, o mores!

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Professor Clarke, we have been told since the very beginning of law study that "Yishang" and "Yixia" include the number in question (包括本数).

Posted by: Wang | Feb 14, 2006 3:39:33 AM

Very possibly that's what you were told. But the question is, is the statement accurate? Take Art. 41 of the new Company Law. It states that in certain cases, a presiding director for board meetings is to be elected by half-"yishang" of the directors. If this means "at least half", then half the directors could elect one person and half the directors could elect another person. Who would preside? Clearly the meaning of the drafters is "a majority", i.e., more than half and not including half. One can find many other examples in Chinese legislation.

Posted by: Don Clarke | Feb 14, 2006 3:00:56 PM

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