Supreme Court talks tough

By Liu Meng Source:Global Times Published: 2011-6-14 6:14:00

The Supreme People's Court (SPC) made a judicial interpretation of the Amendment (VIII) to the Criminal Law on Sunday, calling for leniency not to be shown to those guilty of the most heinous crimes, while stressing the policy of "tempering justice with mercy" to solve social conflicts, according to the Beijing-based Legal Daily.

The amendment, adopted at the 19th Session of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on February 25, came into force on May 1.

Zhang Jun, vice president of the SPC, said at the amendment seminar in Sichuan Province, that severe penalties should be handed out to criminals who threaten the security of the country and people's property, especially those who show extreme hatred against the country and society, and attack random targets.

Zhang said that heinous crimes deserve serious punishment, and that there should be no hesitation shown against those who are condemned to death immediately after sentencing, the report said.

Several recent cases of extreme violence have drawn public attention.

On May 26, a well-planned series of bomb explosions hit a government building and the procuratorate building in Linchuan district, Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province.

At least two people were killed, including the alleged attacker. The suspect was allegedly a jobless petitioner who was involved in a land dispute, said an earlier Global Times report.

According to Tianjin Daily, an explosion at the gate of the building of the Tianjin government on Friday injured two.

Local police officials told the paper that the suspect was thought to be seeking revenge against society as a result of a family conflict and an addiction to gambling.

Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times that the harsh attitude reflected by the amendment items shows that legislators are cracking down on violent activities by strengthening punishments.

SPC Vice President Zhang also stressed the policy of "tempering justice with mercy" at the seminar, adding that criminal judgments should put greater emphasis on mediation to resolve social conflicts.

Late last month, the SPC said that it would continue to ensure that execution numbers are kept low. 

In February this year, 13 offenses, including the smuggling of cultural relics, were taken off the list of charges punishable by death under an amendment to the Criminal Law.

Liu Renwen, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  told the Global Times that it's too early for China to abolish the death penalty now.

"A more stable social environment and a more mature legal system are needed before the death penalty can be abolished," Liu said.

Posted in: China Watch

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