American attorney Jack Moore (Richard Gere) is in Beijing to clinch a satellite deal with the Chinese media minister. Out celebrating with the minister's son, Lin Dan (Byron Mann), Jack meets model Hong Ling in a club and takes her back to his apartment for a night of passion. The next morning, Hong Ling is dead, and Jack finds himself accused of her rape and murder. Presumed guilty until proven innocent under Chinese law, Jack appeals to his defence lawyer, Shen Yeulin (Bai Ling), who is initially sceptical. However, when she discovers Jack's story to be true, Shen sets out to help him prove his innocence.