In 2000, Chinese courts at different levels strengthened judicial work in an all-around way and provided a strong guarantee for China's social stability and economic development.
This was announced by Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court, in his report on the work of the Supreme People's Court he delivered at the current session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Saturday.
Last year, the supreme court handled 4,288 second-instance, death penalty review and sentencing supervision cases and concluded 4,832 cases, including those left over from the previous year.
In the same year, local courts handled 5.35 million first-instance cases and concluded 5.38 million cases, including those handed down from the previous year, with 88 percent of the finished cases being civil ones with a sued value of 586.4 billion yuan.
In the past year, courts punished 650,000 criminals throughout the country and concluded 847 smuggling cases, up by 6.21 percent and 122 percent respectively, compared with the previous year.
Chinese courts are stepping up efforts to strengthen judicial discipline for increasing judicial guarantee on human rights, Xiao stressed.
In 2000, a total of 6,617 people received verdicts of not guilty, including 2,591 who were declared innocent because of unclear facts and insufficient evidence and 4,026 who had been found not to have violated the law.
Meanwhile, the courts tried hard to mediate civil, commercial and administrative relations, in an effort to dissolve civil confrontations. Last year, courts at all levels received visits and letters from people, which contributed a lot to maintaining social stability, he said.
On the issue of "difficulty in the enforcement of court verdicts", Xiao said China has set up a new system at higher courts to coordinate the enforcement of judgments. Efforts were made to deal with local protectionism and violent activities against enforcement.
The efforts paid off as 2.64 million cases were successfully implemented at the request of the concerned parties, involving a total target value of 306.4 billion yuan.
Last year, the supreme court worked hard to improve the quality and efficiency of judicial work, carry out active reforms, and promoted the innovation of the judicial structure, Xiao reported.
Efforts were made to bring into practice an open judicial system, so as to let the public supervise judicial work, by adopting a series of reforms on the judicial structure.
In 2000, courts at different levels readjudicated and finished 15,770 appeals by procuratorates across the country, with 3,765 of the cases overturned.
Furthermore, efforts were made to improve the system of judicial assistance in a bid to help the poor and vulnerable groups involved in lawsuits, especially the aged, women, the underaged, the handicapped and layoffs who went to court on cases regarding various kinds of allowance and compensation. A total of 190,000 people were exempted of court charges or allowed to postpone payment in 2000.
Xiao noted that China has introduced a chief justice system and so far, 50 percent of local courts have adopted the system, enabling a group of high-quality judges to be nominated chief justices.
(People's Daily 03/10/2001)