Until WWII, Americans in China Had Their Own Special Expat Courts

For decades, the U.S., like Great Britain, France, Japan and a handful of other countries, had enjoyed extensive “extraterritorial” powers in China. Since 1906, the court had been part of these powers. This meant that U.S. citizens in China were subject to American, not Chinese law, even when on Chinese soil. If an American were accused of a crime or sued anywhere in China, United States Circuit Court for China Judge Milton J. Helmick or one of his four predecessors, not a Chinese judge, would have heard her case.