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China details judicial, social reform measures to effectively advance rule of law
2015-April-14 Source: Xinhuanet.com
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China has unveiled a detailed plan and timetable on judicial and social reform, amid efforts to advance the rule of law in a more effective way.

On Thursday, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's General Office, and the General Office of the State Council published an implementation plan on deepening judicial and social reform, following the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in October 2014.

The implementation plan covers 84 reform measures, assigns each of the 84 tasks to specific organizations, and defines deadlines and verifiable results for each item.


Wrongful convictions, judicial corruption and other injustices have damaged the public's opinion of the judicial system; all can be traced to ambiguities within the system.

To improve judicial justice and credibility, 48 measures -- including litigation reform to prioritize trials, letting judges assume lifelong responsibility for cases they handle and holding them accountable for any miscarriages of justice, as well as improving jury and public supervision -- were outlined.

An official with the central leading group for deepening judicial reform said that departments would now shoulder more responsibilities, by "gnawing on hard bones" to ensure deep-rooted problems were addressed.

Chen Weidong, professor with the Renmin University of China's Law School, said the central leading group would dismantle departmental interests and address issues that impaired justice and capacity.

Some of the measures, including the administrative mechanism of judges and prosecutors, were raised a decade ago but had not been not successfully implemented due to a lack of a unified management, according to Chen.

"Steered by the CPC Central Committee, this round of reform will see measures put into real practice," he said.

Meng Qingtao, professor with the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said that structural reform within judicial organs and their administrative systems, as well as management of officials and financing, were already being trialed to ensure independent exercise of power.

Specialized judicial organs or those with jurisdictions spanning different administrative regions have, for example, already been established. In late 2014, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) set up three Intellectual Property Right (IPR) courts to handle IPR-related cases. The SPC also inaugurated two circuit courts in Shenzhen and Shenyang at the beginning of 2015.

Going forward, measures will be carried out to foster a strong legal team, including improvements to the professional threshold, the establishment of a selection mechanism for judges and prosecutors, as well as the encouragement of exchange between legal practitioners and researchers.

Chen said the management of personnel would be difficult as measures were needed to ensure the right candidates get the posts.


Chen Weidong lauded the plan for its design, as it would be rolled out step by step.

Judicial transparency was highlighted as a starting point, which is relatively easy to be achieved and can be directly felt by the public.

While regarding major changes, pilot schemes have been initiated, to ensure success before wider implementation.

In seven provincial areas judges and prosecutors are now accountable for the cases they handle and changes have been made to the selection of judges and prosecutors.

Another 11 provincial areas rolled out these measures at the beginning of this year.

According to the timetable, reforms already initiated should achieve "greater progress within this year," including the establishment of cross-regional courts and procuratorates, as well as circuit courts.

Other measures set to see progress by the end of this year include the establishment of a system to record and report intervention by officials in legal activities, and litigation reform.

In addition, more attention will be given to the design and implementation of more complex measures.

This will not be a blind and reckless campaign, Chen said.


Editor: Steven
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