In Back to the Future III, Mary McFly tries to explain to the Doc, “Hey Doc all the best stuff is made in Japan.” Twenty years later we can say the same for China. China is one of the world’s largest producers of goods, many of which are consumed here in the United States. With the rise in goods imported from China, invariably, comes a rise in litigation against Chinese companies, producers and individuals. But how does one go about serving a Chinese entity? Simple.

Service of an entity or person in China under the Hague Convention on Service must be done through the designated Chinese Central Authority in Beijing, which is the Bureau of International Judicial Assistance, Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China. To accomplish this, the U.S. party must submit the following to China’s Ministry of Justice:

  1. A completed United States Marshall Form USM-94
  2. The original English language version of the documents to be served (the summons must have the issuing court’s seal)
  3. A Mandarin Chinese language translation of all documents to be served.
  4. A photocopy of each of these documents
  5. A payment of $100 UDS by an international payment order, payable to the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.

China’s Ministry of Justice will then send the service documents to the appropriate local court. That local court will then effect service. Chinese courts are fairly slow to send out service, repeatedly calling and emailing both the court itself and the Ministry of Justice can often expedite service. Service typically takes between one and three months.

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