Image: John Tso

John Tso

Partner, Litigation Department


John Tso is a partner in the Litigation department of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Mr. Tso advises clients on anti-corruption laws, trade controls and sanctions regulations, data privacy, and other regulatory compliance issues. He conducts high-stakes internal investigations and compliance reviews on issues including bribery and corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation, forgery, conflicts of interests, sales fraud, and other misconduct. He has extensive experience in devising internal controls, conducting compliance trainings, and leading compliance due diligence reviews for complex cross-border transactions. His clients include multinational companies in the life sciences, technology, real estate, finance, apparel, transportation, media, and food and beverage industries, as well as international non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Tso acts in a wide range of international arbitration and cross-border litigation. He has successfully represented clients in proceedings before the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). He has handled disputes arising from project development, mergers and acquisitions, distribution agreement, TV program licensing, and other cross-border transactions. He also leads pre-arbitration consultations, settlement negotiations, and award enforcement procedures.

Mr. Tso is active in community engagement. He co-founded the non-governmental organization Chinese Initiative on International Law, and has been a director of the organization since its establishment in 2012, promoting the notion and education of public international law in China.

Mr. Tso is a Registered Foreign Lawyer (New York) in Hong Kong. He also passed the PRC bar exam but does not currently hold a PRC practicing certificate. He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.


  • Shortlisted as a “Rising Star,” China Law & Practice (2021)


  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2018 (Vice President, Harvard China Law Association)
  • Tsinghua University School of Law, LL.M., 2013
  • Tsinghua University School of Law, LL.B., 2009


  • Representing the independent audit committee of the board of directors of a U.S. public-listed Chinese corporation in an internal investigation into allegations of financial irregularities.
  • Representing a multinational business software corporation in internal investigations of its operations in Greater China in connection with whistleblower allegations, bribery and corruption, revenue recognition, and suspected fraudulent practices.
  • Representing a multinational pharmaceutical company in internal investigations of its operations in China in connection with whistleblower allegations, bribery and corruption, fraud, and misconduct concerning its sales force, academic department, marketing department, and third-party service providers.
  • Acting as the compliance officer and overseeing all compliance matters in a U.S. funded real estate company in China.
  • Represented a European company before the U.S. DOJ with respect to allegations of bribery and export control violations as part of a global corruption investigation involving UK and French criminal enforcement authorities.
  • Designed internal controls, delivered compliance trainings, and conducted compliance risk assessment for Chinese and multinational companies in a wide range of industries.
  • Representing a leading multinational pharmaceutical company in a dispute arising out of the licensing and distribution arrangements in China involving one of its major products.
  • Representing a global conglomerate in a dispute arising out of its investment in PRC-foreign chemical production joint ventures.
  • Representing a private equity real estate fund in parallel HKIAC and CIETAC arbitrations arising out of a PRC-foreign real estate joint venture dispute in excess of US$200 million.
  • Represented a private equity fund in an HKIAC arbitration arising out of its acquisition of a leading software company in China from a U.S.-listed conglomerate.
  • Represented a leading Chinese media company in an HKIAC arbitration against a European licensor of one of the most popular television programs in the world.
  • Represented an entrepreneur and related privately held company with institutional investors in an HKIAC arbitration regarding an educational services venture in China.
  • Representing a pharmaceutical company in its negotiations with government authorities on matters regarding regulatory approval, registration, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Advising Hong Kong IPO issuers and sponsors on sanctions related matters.

Engagement & Publications

  • "Recent Enforcement Trends: U.S. DOJ's Corporate Enforcement Policies in China and Asia" (speaker), Paul Hastings Webinar (October 2022)
  • "New Cross-Border Compliance Challenges" (speaker), China Annual Legal Professional Conference 2022, Webinar (September 2022)
  • “HKIAC as First outside PRC: Named by China International Commercial Court on One-Stop Platform for Diversified International Commercial Dispute Resolution” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2022), republished by Lexology
  • “China Enhances Scrutiny for Cross-Border Data Transfer that would Impact Multinational Companies” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2022), republished by JD Supra
  • “The End of the China Initiative and the Future of U.S. Enforcement Against Chinese Companies” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2022), republished by Lexology
  • “Looking Back on the Supplemental Arrangement on Mainland-Hong Kong Enforcement of Arbitral Awards” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2022), republished by Lexology
  • “Applications for Interim Measures in Mainland China: Advantages of Arbitrating in Hong Kong” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2021), republished by Lexology
  • “What Remedies Are Available to Life Sciences Companies if Their IP Rights Are Exploited During the Global Pandemic?” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2021), republished by Lexology
  • “China Enacts Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law: Increasing Uncertainty for Companies with China Operations” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2021), republished by Lexology
  • “China Enacts New Export Control Law – Global Businesses Take Heed” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2020), republished by Lexology
  • “China Enacts Regulations on Unreliable Entity List” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2020)
  • “The Case for Preserving South Korea’s Crackdown on Gifts,” The Global Anticorruption Blog (2018)
  • “What Happened to Hong Kong?” The Global Anticorruption Blog (2018)
  • “It's Time for China to Show Its Foreign Bribery Law is Not a Paper Tiger,” The Global Anticorruption Blog (2018)
  • “China’s New Cybersecurity Regime” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2017), republished by Lexology
  • “China Tightens Controls over Foreign NGOs with New Law” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2016), republished by Lexology
  • “Confronting FCPA and Anti-Corruption Risk in China M&A Deals” (co-author), Paul Hastings client alert (2014), republished by Lexology
  • “Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals Activities in 2012” (co-author), Chinese Yearbook of International Law (2012)
  • “The Burden of Proof under the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism” (co-author), WTO Law and China Symposium (2011)


  • Cofounder, Director, The Chinese Initiative on International Law
  • Member, Committee of the Specially-Invited Members of the Shanghai Bar Association

Practice Areas


Financial Services


Anti-Corruption and FCPA


Life Sciences and Healthcare

International Arbitration

Compliance & Regulatory Counseling


Chinese (Cantonese)

Chinese (Mandarin)



New York Bar

Hong Kong Registered Foreign Lawyer (USA)


Harvard Law School, LL.M. 2018

Tsinghua University School of Law, LL.M. 2013

Tsinghua University School of Law, LL.B. 2009

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