Press conference on working measures and effect of people's courts in the new era

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According to this year's work report of the SPC, the number of major criminal cases in eight categories has remained low, and their proportion in all criminal cases has steadily declined. Could you tell us what efforts the people's courts have made since the 18th National Congress of the CPC to give full play to criminal trials and contribute to building a Peaceful China and advancing the rule of law in China? Thank you.

Tao Kaiyuan:

I'd like to invite Mr. Shen Liang, justice and vice president of the SPC in charge of criminal trials, to take this question.

Shen Liang:

I'm glad to answer your question. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law and focusing on the aim to ensure that the people can see that justice is served in every judicial case, the people's courts throughout the country have faithfully performed their duties of criminal trials to punish crimes and protect the people, playing an important role in safeguarding the national political security, ensuring overall social stability, promoting social fairness and justice, and ensuring that people enjoy peace and contentment in work and life. 

Over the past decade, the people's courts have resolutely implemented the criminal policy of combining punishment and clemency and severely punished serious criminal offenses in accordance with the law. They have cracked down on major violent and terrorist crimes that seriously endangered national security and social stability and punished crimes that seriously affect people's sense of security, including those of hijacking buses, killing innocent people, and injuring doctors with violence. For the crimes that seriously challenge the bottom line of law and ethics, such as harming minors, sexual assault on children, and trafficking of women and children, severe punishment or death sentence, if applicable, shall be meted out. The people's courts have severely punished in accordance with the law financial crimes and fundraising fraud to maintain financial security, as well as embezzlement and bribery crimes to deepen the fight against corruption. They have continued the ongoing efforts to combat organized crime and root out local criminal gangs. A number of criminals involved in these crimes, including Liu Han, Liu Wei, Sun Xiaoguo, and Huang Hongfa, as well as their "protection umbrellas," have been severely punished in accordance with the law. The number of serious violent crimes handled by the people's courts, including murder, robbery, kidnapping, arson, and explosions, dropped from 75,000 cases involving 95,7000 criminals in 2013 to 49,000 cases involving 56,800 criminals in 2021. Meanwhile, lighter punishment shall be meted out for those cases caused by civil conflicts with statutory or discretionary mitigating circumstances. In 2021, the number of criminals sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years accounted for 84.6% of all the criminals in effective sentences. That is to say, 84.6% of criminal cases sentenced by the people's courts were light punishment cases with imprisonment of not more than three years, showing that China's social order continues to improve.

Over the past decade, the people's courts have been committed to putting people at the center. We have performed our duty through criminal trials and worked to enhance people's sense of security, contentment, and happiness. We have taken firm action against telecom and cyber fraud, infringement upon women and children, and drug-related crimes, etc. We have carried out special campaigns to crack down on pension scams and severely punished crimes that infringe upon the people's immediate interests. These include crimes such as endangering food and drug safety, harming epidemic prevention and control, environmental pollution crimes, infringements of personal information, throwing objects from height, and identity theft in school or college enrollments. In particular, the people's courts have stepped up protection for women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. We have worked to protect people's safety in all respects, from food to drug, from head to toe, and from offline to online.  

In the past 10 years, the people's courts have placed equal importance on punishing crimes and protecting human rights, working to deepen the reform of an adjudication-centered litigation system. We have strictly followed the principles of legality, the presumption of innocence, and evidence-based verdict and prevented and redressed miscarriages of justice. We have taken a fact-based approach and corrected a batch of wrongly adjudicated cases, including the cases of Hugjiltu for rape and murder, Nie Shubin for rape and murder, Zhang Wenzhong for bribery and fraud, the "Zhang Hui, Zhang Gaoping rape and murder case," and "the case of Wang Lijun for his unlicensed corn purchasing business." We have drawn a clear line between crime and non-crime, between economic disputes and economic crimes. The criminal punishment is prohibited in civil disputes and turning civil liability into a criminal liability is prevented. We worked to standardize commutation, parole, and execution of sentences outside the prison. We cracked down on violations of regulations related to such activities to ensure justice and fairness in executing punishment.

Over the past decade, the people's courts have valued promoting social fairness and justice and adhered to the principle that responsibility and punishment must suit the crime during criminal trials. We dealt with cases in strict accordance with the laws while considering society's rules and people's feelings. When handling cases with close social attention and diversified public opinions, the people's courts have maintained law-based focus and stood by the law. Working to integrate professional judgment based on the law with people's simple aspiration for fairness and justice, the people's courts have made the judicial process of cases with close public attention into open courses for the public to learn about the rule of law, enabling people to see that justice is served in every judicial case.

Thank you.

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