The aims and the task of China's judicial work are to protect the basic rights, freedom and other lawful rights and interests of all citizens in accordance with the law, protect public property and lawfully-owned private property, maintain social order, guarantee the smooth progress of socialist modernization undertakings and punish law-breakers according to law.
In 2001, the Supreme People's Court, under the supervision of the NPC and its Standing Committee, earnestly fulfilled its duties entrusted by the Constitution and the law, actively practiced its work theme of "fairness and efficiency," enhanced adjudication work, and accelerated court reform. Continuous efforts were made in building up a contingent of highly qualified personnel and fresh achievements were scored in various aspects.
In 2001, the Supreme People's Court adjudicated and concluded a total of 3,047 cases, formulated 34 items of judicial interpretation, and handled 152,557 letters and visits. Local people's courts at various levels and special people's courts adjudicated and concluded 5.93 million cases, comprising 729,958 criminal cases, accounting for 12.31 percent of the total; 5.08 civil cases (85.64 percent); and 121,008 administrative cases (2.05 percent).
In accordance with the law, the courts nationwide sternly cracked down on serious criminal crimes, the crimes aimed at subverting State power or damaging national unity and crimes involving terrorism and disruption of law enforcement by organizing and making use of evil cults such as Falun Gong. During the campaign to severely crack down on criminal activities, the courts focused on cracking down on gang-related crimes, violent crimes such as homicide, robbery, causing explosions and kidnapping, as well as theft and other repeated crimes that seriously threaten the safety and lives of the people. They also took strong measures against the crimes related to production, trafficking and sale of drugs and pornographic materials. Efforts were made to firmly crack down on gun- and explosion-related crimes, and severely punish criminals involved who have seriously harmed the lives and property of the people. Crimes involving abuse of women and children were also severely dealt with. These efforts contributed to maintaining the public order.
The courts took strong measures against crimes involving serious disruption of market economic order, the production and sale of shoddy and fake goods, smuggling, financial fraud, tax evasion, export refund fraud, foreign exchange fraud, and the forging and selling of counterfeit money, as well as pyramid selling activities. In 2001, a total of 14,953 cases that seriously sabotaged market economic order were adjudicated, with 19,972 convicts sentenced and 2.23 billion yuan in economic losses retrieved for the State.
Efforts were made in cracking down on crimes harming financial security. In 2001, a total of 6,650 such cases were adjudicated, with penalties imposed on 8,906 criminals. The courts also adjudicated 764 cases involving in production and sale of fake and substandard foodstuffs, medicine, cotton, agricultural-related materials, and medical apparatus and instruments, with 921 criminals sentenced.
The courts severely dealt with crimes involving embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty. In 2001, punishments were inflicted on 20,120 criminals involved in such cases, including five civil servants at provincial (ministerial) level, 89 officials at prefectural (departmental) level and 419 at county (divisional) level.
During the adjudication of criminal cases, the courts paid close attention to facts, evidence, legal procedures and applicable laws, strengthened the judicial guarantee for human rights and ensured that innocent citizens were free from wrong punishment. In 2001, a total of 6,597 people were acquitted.
In regulating economic relations and other social relationships, the courts handled 1.28 million cases related to enterprise ownership transformation, purchase and sale, credit and loans, agriculture and rural economic development, and financial and maritime disputes. They also dealt with 1.39 million cases involving marriage and family matters, in line with the principles of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women, children, the elderly, and the parties without fault, ensuring normal production and living activities, and promoting fine morality and ethics.
The courts paid due attention to handling labor dispute cases. In 2001, a total of 100,440 such cases were concluded, an increase of 33 percent over 2000. They also adjudicated and concluded 100,000 administrative cases, and handled 6,753 cases involving State compensation, thus promoting administration by law and fair jurisdiction. The courts earnestly practiced legal assistance, reducing or exempting lawsuit costs for litigants whose legal rights and interests had been infringed and were in economic difficulties. They invited defenders or agents for the litigants with physical disadvantages, thus ensuring their full rights in legal actions.
Based on the "one country, two systems" principle and the basic laws of Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SAR), the Supreme People's Court reached agreements with the Macao SAR on mutual authorization and service of judicial documents in civil or commercial lawsuits and taking of evidence between the courts on the mainland and in Macao. In the meantime, the mainland has also strengthened exchanges and cooperation with Hong Kong in the legal field. The court has also begun implementing the Regulations on People's Courts' Recognition of Civil Lawsuit Rulings by Courts in Taiwan.
The courts nationwide have intensified construction of the law-enforcement organs by consolidating their ranks, improving enforcement methods and increasing the rigorousness of enforcement. The courts enforced rulings on and wound up 2.54 million cases in 2001, involving a total of 315 billion yuan. In enforcement, priority was given to cases related to alimony, pensions, labor insurance and labor payment. In 2001, rulings on more than 60,000 such cases were enforced. The courts also stepped up enforcement of financial, securities and loan cases, enforcing the rulings on or winding up 300,000 such cases in the year, effectively ensuring the country's normal economic order.
In accordance with the principle of seeking conformity with the Constitution and Chinese laws, with WTO rules and China's commitments, and with international conventions signed by China, the Supreme People's Court has overhauled more than 2,600 judicial interpretations and documents of that nature promulgated since the founding of the PRC. Among them, 177 have been rescinded. The court has also stepped up efforts to formulate and revise a host of judicial interpretations to meet new judicial needs after China's WTO accession.
The Supreme People's Court has also been pushing forward court reform and construction of a high-quality contingent of judges. Centering on the aim of achieving "fairness and efficiency," the court has been carrying out the 39 reform tasks listed in the five-year court reform plan, with remarkable progress already made in 35 of them. In 2001, the court reform was focused on the judicial evidence system, retrial system, judges' system and adjudication bodies.
In 2001, the procuratorial organs greatly contributed to a successful crackdown on criminal activities by taking more rigorous measures against serious criminal crimes, with focus put on the most acute public security problems.
The procuratorial organs have been focusing on swift and harsher crackdown on offences by the mafia and gangsters, violent crimes such as explosions, murder, robbery and kidnapping, as well as theft and other high-incidence crimes that seriously affect the general public order.
In 2001, the Supreme People's Procuratorate provided timely judicial interpretation of applicable laws for the crackdown of criminal activities. It also directly oversaw the investigation of 381 major criminal cases involving mafia gangs. The crackdown of gangs was carried out alongside corruption investigations. For cases involving government staff who acted as protectors of gangsters, higher-level procuratorates either directly investigate them or send officials to oversee the investigation. In 2001, a total of 297 such cases involving 345 people were put on file for investigation.
The procuratorial organs have also been actively participating in regulation of economic order by cracking down on the production and sale of fraudulent and counterfeit food and drugs, as well as tax evasion, financial fraud, smuggling, pyramid marketing and other activities that seriously hamper normal economic orders. In 2001, they approved the arrest of 26,002 suspects and prosecuted 23,526 people involved in such cases. The Supreme People's Procuratorate also worked out a standard for the prosecution of economic cases, provided judicial interpretation for criminal cases related to the production and sale of counterfeit and fraudulent products, and directly handled 195 major cases. The procuratorial organs also investigated and punished 397 judicial workers involved in the malpractice and investigated a batch of cases in which criminal responsibilities were not properly ascertained.
Over the past year, procuratorial organs nationwide have strengthened supervision over litigation to safeguard judicial justice and dignity. On one hand, they have rectified law-enforcement laxity such as failing to file cases that should have been investigated, substituting criminal penalties with administrative punishment, and inflicting inadequate punishment on serious offences. The procuratorial organs oversaw putting 18,447 cases on file for investigation that had been intentionally ignored, decided to arrest 13,341 suspects that had previously been allowed to go free, and prosecuted 6,440 people who had evaded prosecution. In addition, they also lodged appeals against 3,875 wrongfully judged cases, and rectified enforcement irregularities in 8,548 cases.
On the other hand, the procuratorial organs also paid great attention to the protection of lawful rights of various parties in legal proceedings, carefully reviewing evidence and applicable laws and curbing irregularities such as inquisition by torture and prolonged detention.
The procuratorial organs have also intensified supervision over civil trials and administrative litigation. To root out causes for the failure of the supervision system, the Supreme People's Procuratorate has set out rules for the handling of civil and administrative appeals. In 2001, the procuratorial organs lodged appeals against 16,488 cases. Of the 10,145 cases concluded by courts, 5,377 cases had original rulings vetoed and 900 were required for retrial.
The procuratorial organs have also intensified investigation over misbehavior by judicial workers, including abusing power, accepting or asking for bribes, perverting the law in prosecution and judging, releasing detainees without official permits, irregularities in handing out commutation, parole, and the execution of sentences outside the jail. In 2001, a total of 4,342 judicial workers suspected of such offences were investigated.
The procuratorial organs have also been trying to make it easier for ordinary people to make complaints and file lawsuits. In 2001, they handled 656,080 letters and visitors. Procurators-general nationwide received 188,116 visits. Of the 72,346 cases under the charge of procuratorial organs, 55,336 were handled and concluded. Criminal compensation was made to 777 wrongfully judged cases. To expedite the litigation process and reduce the burden on parties concerned, some local procuratorial organs have introduced a system requiring prosecutors to try to resolve problems at a grass-roots level, instead of leaving them to superior departments.
The procuratorial organs have intensified the investigation and prevention of offences committed by government officials. In 2001, a total of 36,447 corruption and graft cases were investigated, involving 40,195 people and retrieving 4.1 billion yuan in economic losses for the State. Among these cases, 1,319 involved graft or bribes amounting to above 1 million yuan each. Among the offenders, 9,452 were government or judicial officials, including 2,670 officials at and above the county level and six provincial-level officials. In addition, 17,920 suspects alleged to have appropriated and transferred State assets in enterprise reform and reorganization were also put under investigation. In 2001, a total of 1,906 bribery cases were investigated, up 39.4 percent over 2000. Also, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and public security departments captured 3,046 fugitives, retrieving 680 million yuan of illicit money.
The Supreme People's Procuratorate has also formulated criteria for major malfeasance cases and put a system in place facilitating the transfer of such cases from related administrative bodies. In 2001, procuratorial organs nationwide investigated 8,819 cases involving power abuse and dereliction of duties, and 1,983 government workers suspected of involvement in illicit detention, inquiry by torture and circumvention for revenge.
To prevent incidences of offences committed by government officials, the procuratorial organs have helped establish over 1,300 non-governmental organizations for that purpose, and offered 28,500 suggestions to related government agencies.
The Supreme People's Procuratorate and provincial-level procuratorates have also set up investigation command centers to improve the overall efficiency of investigations of major cases involving government workers.