Life imprisonment in China is legal for a variety of crimes. It is an indeterminate punishment, is the second most serious punishment in the country, and may last for the remainder of the convict's life. Those sentenced to life imprisonment can be eligible for parole after 13 years of the original sentence having been actually served. Since 2015 amendments made to the Criminal Law, those sentenced to life imprisonment may have no possibility of parole if they are convicted of extremely serious economic crimes, murder, terrorism or hijacking. Pardon can be issued by the National People's Congress. Inmates sentenced to life imprisonment are also required to serve some time in solitary confinement. Those under 18 are also subjected to life imprisonment.

Although life imprisonment does not exist as a mandatory punishment in China, the following crimes may carry life imprisonment:

  1. Arson
  2. Murder
  3. Arms trafficking
  4. Drug trafficking
  5. Terrorism offences
  6. Aircraft hijacking
  7. Rape
  8. 3rd Conviction of Burglary
  9. Fraud
  10. Embezzlement
  11. Robbery
  12. Kidnapping
  13. Corruption