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违反本法规定,构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任is a sentence I read in a law stipulation. My paraphrasing is like that: if this is something against the criminal law, it shall be placed under the criminal investigation.

But here is the problem, If it has been determined to be a criminal case, of course there will be the related proceeding for that, the last portion of the sentence is redundant, but if it is not, how can one know or judge (is he given the power to do so)whether the act violates the criminal law or not?

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    刑事责任 means "criminal liability" not "criminal investigation", which in Chinese would be 刑事調查
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 27, 2023 at 12:39
  • I would say it's "the person will be prosecuted" where your paraphrase is "it shall be placed under the criminal investigation."
    – magni
    Nov 29, 2023 at 4:48

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Legal matters are never as simple as "yes or no." The criminal law gives a list crimes that may be prosecuted, but does not give detailed explanation for the scope of each crime. Since mainland China adopts a civil law system, not a common law system, case law is not a thing, so we rely heavily on additional laws and statutory interpretation documents to clarify the criminal law.

Example (刑法第338条):

违反国家规定,排放、倾倒或者处置有放射性的废物、含传染病病原体的废物、有毒物质或者其他有害物质,严重污染环境的,处三年以下有期徒刑或者拘役,并处或者单处罚金;后果特别严重的,处三年以上七年以下有期徒刑,并处罚金。 (My translation: Discharging, dumping, or otherwise disposing radioactive wastes, wastes containing pathogens, toxic substances, or other harmful substances against regulations, causing serious environment pollutions, shall be penalized with imprisonment of up to 3 years or detention, together with fines, or fines only; if the consequence is very serious, it may be penalized with imprisonment of at least 3 years and up to 7 years, together with fines.)

This clause says polluting the environment by dumping harmful substances can be penalized. However, a lot of details are subject to interpretation. Therefore we have another law 环境保护法. This law contains detailed regulations such as:

施用农药、化肥等农业投入品及进行灌溉,应当采取措施,防止重金属和其他有毒有害物质污染环境。 (My translation: When applying pesticides or fertilizers and irrigating the field, one should take precautions to prevent heavy metals or other toxic substances from polluting the environment.)

To make the law complete it needs to specify the consequences of going against the law. This is achieved via "违反本法规定,构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任." It basically says, if you violate this law, a court may prosecute you with 污染环境罪 (the crime law cited above).

Of course there are also legal scholars who hold the same opinion as yours: the 构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任 clause does not have independent meaning. See for example http://law.hnu.edu.cn/info/1184/14571.htm

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I don't see a contradiction.

Bereft of legal-eagle knowledge, I would just translate the said phrases so:

违反本法规定,
Violation of this/these legal stipulation(s)
构成犯罪的,
constitutes a crime,
依法追究刑事责任
(whose) criminal liability shall be investigated according to the law.

Simply put: if you break the law, you may be held accountable.

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