Criminal justice system to be hot topic at the two sessions

By Xu Jun from People’s Daily Source:People’s Published: 2015-3-2 19:03:59

Huugjilt, a young man from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region who was executed for rape and murder 19 years ago, was exonerated by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region's Higher People's Court in December. 

His case was reopened following the confession of Zhao Zhihong, who was arrested in 2005. About two months after the exoneration, Huugjilt’s parents received about 2 million yuan ($319,792) in compensation from the government, or equal to 40 years of China’s 2013 per capita annual salary. 

Observers pointed out that Huugjilt’s case not only marked the success of China’s judicial system to uphold the principle of "innocent until proven guilty", but also reflected judicial bodies had the courage to correct wrongful convictions. Media attention given to reversed wrongful conviction cases had increased significantly since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012. At least 12 major convictions were reversed in 2014. 

Judicial issues are mainstay topics during China’s annual two sessions. According to the Constitution, China’s top court and top procuratorate are required to deliver annual work reports to the deputies of the National People’s Congress. At this year’s two sessions, preventing wrongful convictions and ensuring judicial justice are likely to be heatedly discussed topics.

China’s top leader Xi Jinping has stressed “rule of Constitution” on many occasions. Xi said that judicial organs at all levels should make sure that litigants in every case are treated with fairness and justice.

Rule of law was established as China’s main governing principle during the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. At the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2014, members of the Central Committee approved the decision to advance rule of law in China.

China’s judicial and prosecution organs are currently working on promoting judicial reform. For example, all appointments and dismissals of personnel and the expenditures of the courts and procuratorates under the provincial level will be handled at the provincial level to prevent meddling from local governments. Also, trial judges and procurators will assume full accountability for their verdicts and lifelong responsibility for wrongly convictions. In addition, the Supreme People's Court has set up two circuit courts, while many cross-administrative regional courts have also been established.

Besides, China’s court records are now searchable online, making the database the largest of its kind in the world. “The rule of law guarantees China’s long term stability and a happy and peaceful life for its people. The public is confident the judicial system will deliver justice,” said Wang Mingwen, a deputy to the National People’s Congress from Southwest China.

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