Third Plenary Session to map out judicial reform

By Li Shen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 7, 2013
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The Chinese government issued a white paper on the reform of the country's judicial system in 2012.[ file photo] 

After 24 years, the Supreme People's Procuratorate reported its anti-corruption work to the Standing Committee of National People's Congress (NPC) again on Oct. 22.

Analysts said this is a signal that the central leadership hopes to further the anti-corruption campaign through judicial reforms, in which the NPC plays a decisive role.

This Saturday, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee will be held in Beijing. A resolution on how to promote comprehensive reforms, including judicial reforms, is expected to be unveiled at the session.

A new round of judicial reform

On Oct. 8, 2012, the State Council Information Office issued a White Paper on China's judicial reform, saying that China had basically completed the round of judicial reform launched in 2008, as relevant laws have been amended and improved.

A month later, the report approved by the 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China pointed out that the country should continue to deepen reform of the judicial structure, improve the socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics, and ensure that judicial and procuratorial bodies exercise their respective legal powers independently and impartially. This description has been seen as a central government initiative to launch a new round of judicial reform.

According to Song Yinghui, vice dean of Research Center for Criminal Law Science of Beijing Normal University, documents on the framework of judicial reform, but not the details, will be issued after the Third Plenary Session, to complete the requirements and tasks discussed at the session. Meanwhile, Vice Dean of the Law School of Nankai University, Hou Xinyi, said that all the important CPC resolutions have included reforms on judicial system since the report of the 15th National Congress of CPC in 1997 first mentioned "promoting judicial reforms". Although the description in the 18th CPC National Congress report did not change much compared with the previous ones, the repeated mention of "judicial reforms" makes us cautiously optimistic about reform, he said.

The Commission of Politics and Law of the CPC Central Committee, at its national meeting in January 2013, proposed judicial reform based on improving the socialist judicial system and focusing on issues of law enforcement and justice. The contents of judiciary reform have become apparent: Optimizing the distribution of judicial power, improving the procedural legal system, strengthening supervision and restriction of judicial power, expanding the channels for orderly participation by citizens in judicial activities and promoting judicial transparency in order to build a fair, efficient and authoritative socialist judiciary system to ensure the credibility of courts and procuratorates.

The Rule of Law Weekend reports that decision makers have started collecting opinions on a new round of judicial reforms after this year's two sessions of China's National People's Congress and Political Consultative Conference. The contents will be discussed at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th National Congress of the CPC.

According to Song, de-administration and delocalization are the two major problems in implementing judicial reforms to ensure that courts and procuratorates exercise their respective powers independently and impartially in accordance with the law.

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