China's legal reform progressing since 18th Party congress

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/12 23:13:41 Last Updated: 2017/10/13 8:23:07

Judicial system transparency improved


File photo: Xinhua


 
China's legal reform since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has progressed in many fields including the accountability of judges and prosecutors as well as the prevention and correction of false and unjust cases, experts said on Thursday.

"One of the biggest achievements in China's judicial system in the past five years is the improved transparency of the legal system," Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"The judicial authorities promote transparency not only in cases related to high-ranking corrupt officials but also ordinary people," Zhi said. For example, in July 2013, the trial of Bo Xilai, former Party chief of Chongqing Municipality, was broadcast live online, he noted.

There was also progress with the prevention and correction of false and unjust cases in recent years, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Huugjilt, wrongfully executed in 1996, was found not guilty in November 2014 and Nie Shubin, wrongly convicted and executed for rape and murder in 1995, was cleared in December 2016.

In the last five years up until July 1, a total of 34 wrongly judged cases were corrected, according to the website of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC.

Judicial reform also progressed. The third and fourth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, held in 2013 and 2014, issued 129 judicial reform tasks. A total of 118 received suggestions and 11 have set up a specific reform scheme, Xinhua said in July.

Rule of law

The rule of law is also another key point of judicial reform. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC in October 2014 was the first meeting dedicated to the theme of "rule of law."

The meeting, which included 200 members of the CPC Central Committee, was regarded as a landmark event that set the tone for the CPC to promote the rule of law in China in a comprehensive way, observers said.

China's top legislature discussed two draft revisions of laws on the organization of courts and procuratorates at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which opened on August 28 this year, Xinhua reported.

One draft empowers prosecutors to lodge public interest lawsuits according to the law. Both drafts spell out protections for judicial personnel carrying out their duties.

Judicial independence was enhanced by a pilot program in which local courts were administered by higher-level judicial bodies rather than local governments as stated in the decision of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2013.

"What people expect and the essence of the rule of law is to reject the rule of man," Sun Xiaoxia, dean of the law school at Fudan University, told the Global Times previously.

China's anti-corruption drive is in accordance with the rule of law as President Xi Jinping noted that "power should be restricted by the cage of regulations" parallel to the rule of law, Sun noted.

More needs to be done on judicial reform, including that judicial departments should prevent interference from local governments, said Yang Xiaojun, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

"Judges' professionalism also needs to be guaranteed. This includes better economic treatment, personal security, social status and more importantly, their independence to make judgments," said Zhu Zhengfu, a lawyer and a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference member, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Newspaper headline: China’s legal reform progressing: expert


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