+86 21 60613575

Litigation Star

English and Chinese



Practice area:

Government and regulatory

Mr. Gary GAO is the Partner and the Head of Compliance & Regulatory Department of Beijing Zhong Lun Law Firm. He has got LLM in UK and his working languages are English and Chinese. He has practiced law for 27 years, which makes him an experienced lawyer. Before admitted by PRC Bar in 1995, he worked as a criminal judge in a district court in Shanghai since 1990. More than 25 years of work experience in compliance and international dispute solution makes Mr. Gary GAO has full understanding of the whole operation of the enterprises, and, he is very familiar with the international business skills and traps in the negotiations and accumulate rich experience for the compliance of companies. Mr. Gary GAO has provided legal services to a numerous multinational enterprises, institutions and large domestic enterprises and has been widely praised by clients.

  • Gopher Asset Management & Noah Holdings Limited - To provide comprehensive compliance legal services for Gopher Asset Management, the top private equity funds management, under Noah Holdings Limited which is listed in the US to deal with the regulatory supervision by the China Securities Regulatory Commission after the promulgation and implementation of the Regulations on Strengthening the Supervision of Private Investment Funds (“Document No. 71”). Gary and his team perused Document 71 and learn the various operation modes of the funds under Gopher’s management. Based on the understanding of Document 71 and clients’ business, Gary communicated with the officers of CSRC to explore the benchmarks of mode of supervision for private equities, e.g. how to evaluate if a fund has performed its due diligence, which level a fund manager shall look into, i.e. whether shall go to the bottom assets. Gary and his team creatively set up some measures of evaluation. The roadmap was highly appreciated by all parties after communication with the officers and Gopher as well as Kirkland, Deloitte. The report has was completed by the end of Jan. 2022. CSRC and other supervision authorities recognized the report and underneath methodology. This case is the first regulatory supervision case after the promulgation and implementation of Document No. 71, which is specific benchmarking and pioneering in the industry. Just because it’s the first case, not only Noah and Gopher do not know how to deal with the regulatory supervision, but also for the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) does not know where to start and how to carry out the supervision. In addition, asset management companies usually manage a large number of private equity funds, and the levels of the funds are layer by layer.
  • Airbus S.A.S. - The client is one of the largest aircraft manufacturing company worldwide. Gary was engaged as a PRC counsel to assist the client to handle a multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption investigation from the French Parquet National Financier (“PNF”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”). This case is also the biggest case PNF has worked on in history and the highest fine amount in cross-border anti-corruption sanctions. Gary’s service targets the PNF, DOJ and SFO’s investigation into possible misconduct by intermediaries and senior government officials in the sale and purchase of aircraft in China. Gary utilised his extensive experience in government enforcement compliance matters, performed multi-level and multi-faceted legal defence techniques (attorney-client privilege, etc.), and delicately grasped the deep understandings on domestic political sensitivities and of international compliance policies. Gary helped the client to successfully design a solution that met the investigation requirements of the overseas regulators without triggering governmental investigations in China. In this case, Gary also demonstrated his oriental wisdom to closely team up with international well-known offshore law firms and professional lawyers, and to bridge up the civil law and common law mindsets.
  • A world-famous social trading and multi-asset brokerage company - Two of the Chinese senior executives of the Client’s wholly subsidiary in PRC were charged by the PRC procuratorate’s office of illegal business operation. Gary has been engaged by the client to design an overall litigation strategy with multiple international lawyer teams of the client’s overseas entities (UK based and Israel based) and the defence lawyers (PRC based) of the two senior executives to protect both the company’s interests and the individuals’ interests. Gary’s contribution in the case helped the client to protect one of the group’s most important profit earning subsidiary in the global market and to justify the client’s business operation in China. Gary is now liaising with the handling judge of the case to try to mitigate the client’s and the two individuals’ damage to the utmost extent. Due to the sensitivity and high level of the case, China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) was also involved as a guiding administrative authority. Gary’s smooth coordination and communication with CSRC demonstrated his distinguished capacity in deeply understanding the functioning principles within the PRC compliance and regulatory authorities. Gary also worked as a bridge among international lawyers representing different interest group and facilitated in the mutual win among each stakeholder.
  • SoftBank Group Corporation - The client intended to invest approximately USD 100 million into a hi-tech company in China. The hi-tech company, founded in 2014, is a leading chronic disease management SaaS provider for doctors with hospital information system integration and provides in-hospital (offline) and remote (online) management for chronic disease patients in China, with 20% market penetration with China’s Class III and II hospitals. Besides, the above investment, the client conducts different M&A projects in PRC, which the total investment amount accumulated is continuously increasing. Gary and his team assisted the client conducting healthcare and privacy data compliance due diligence review in the purchase of the hi-tech company and reviewed the contractual language for data compliance clauses concerning this potential investment. Besides, Gary and his team provide cyber security legal due diligence review in the client’s different pre-M&A proceedings. Due to the special business model of the hi-tech company, and PRC government’s tightening regulatory requirements in cyber security compliance, healthcare and privacy data compliance are essential factors for the client to consider a share purchase price and its future management risks as a shareholder.
  • CBRE Global Investors (Asia Pacific) Ltd - The Chinese shareholder and its appointed management passed an invalid board resolution to provide loan out of JV’s funds to its affiliate, at the same time, obtained control over the JV’s bank account where the RMB 200 million funds sit. The legal representative of the JV, appointed by the foreign shareholder, found out this and instructed us to engage with the bank and issue formal letter to it to freeze the account, which has timely prevented the PRC party from withdrawing money. Later on, we initiated legal proceedings to recover control of the bank account and obtained a freezing order over the bank account, buying name for DLA Piper to solve certain issues offshore. The PRC party fight back, claiming that the legal rep has infringed the JV’s interests by freezing the bank account and causing losses of interests, and asking the legal rep to compensate millions of RMB to the JV. This is not a straightforward case - the first instance court had to held three hearings before rendering a judgment. However, both the first instance court and appeal court ruled in favor of us, deciding that the legal rep had no intention to cause losses to the JV, and that the legal rep’ actions taken under exceptional circumstances are neither illegal nor unethical. The dispute between the two parties is still ongoing. This case concerns control of a joint venture, reminding us again of the importance of a properly designed corporate governance structure. Procedurally, there was difficulty with using whose name and what cause action to bring an action. For our side, the specific governance structure of this JV restricted us from obtaining authorization from the foreign shareholder to bring an action, and we were limited with using the legal rep’s name to bring an action. The PRC party has its own problem because they cannot instruct the legal rep to file a lawsuit, which is commonly seen in PRC proceedings, they had to instruct a corporate body named supervisor to file the lawsuit, which has faced doubts from the judge of appeal court. Substantively, as is usual with this kind of case, the facts were complicated, and the parties brought various actions against each other, which required us to present facts in a focused manner and deal with different actions at the same time. In addition, we had to come up with and deploy strategy given the specific situation of JV, especially the governance structure of the JV, including not to bring an action to invalidate board resolutions which the PRC Party has made such effects to pass. The judge in charge of this case wrote an article about the significance and underneath legal theory. The Supreme Court gave an award to the judge which evidence the recognition of the case.

  • Competition/antitrust
  • Corporate and M&A
  • Dispute resolution
  • Regulatory
  • Restructuring and insolvency

  • Aviation and shipping
  • Industrials and manufacturing
  • Oil and gas
  • Pharmaceuticals and life sciences
  • Technology and telecommunications

  • Member of the “Addressing Issues of Corruption in International Arbitration” Task Force of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR

  • Council Member of China Academy of Arbitration Law
  • Anti-Corruption Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Arbitration Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Business Crime Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Litigation Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member

  • LLM from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK (1999-2000)

  • LLB from the East China Institute of Political Science and Law (1986 - 1990) (Currently: East China University of Political Science and Law)