A senior judge with the Supreme People's Court said on Tuesday that China has set up a mechanism to supervise the work of the nation's judges in an effort to guarantee that cases are tried and verdicts implemented fairly.
Grand Justice Li Yucheng told a press conference in Beijing that the supervisory mechanism comprises four regulations. The measures hold responsible judges whose negligence has led to serious consequences, spell out the disciplinary measures to be taken against judges for abuse of power in trials and the enforcement of verdicts, and deal with the implementation of the system of withdrawing individual judges.
The four regulations were issued between August 1998 and last month.
"Enhancing discipline within the courts is the most effective and fundamental way to prevent and root out the abuse of judicial power and law enforcement," said Li, who also heads a discipline and supervision department under the Supreme People's Court.
There was an unprecedented number of complaints from the public about judicial corruption in the late 1990s, leading to a one-year intensive rectification campaign across China in 1998 to rescue the image of the nation's judges and the authority of the law. The momentum continued afterwards as Chinese courts became more aware of the importance of judicial fairness in building a country ruled by the law.
Analysts said they believe that the mechanism, together with existing laws and regulations on the supervision of trials and the ethics of judges, will help build up a contingent of high-caliber judges in China and make them more professional.
Yan Xiaojing - a judge with the department under Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court responsible for the implementation of court verdicts - said: "The regulations are necessary even though more pressure has been added to our work. The increasing amount of supervision will help put the courts in a truly neutral position."
Supreme People's Court statistics indicate that the number of judges who have been disciplined and punished for malpractice more than halved from 2,512 in 1998 to 1,080 last year. The figure was further reduced to 378 in the first seven months of this year.
Li said that the bulk of China's judges are good but he admitted that some judges have failed to observe the law and have given biased judgements or even perverted justice for bribes.
(China Daily October 9, 2002)