III. Civil and Political Rights
Between 2012 and 2015, the construction of socialist political democracy and the rule of law have been pushed forward in a comprehensive way, citizens' civil and political rights have been effectively protected, and the people have been guaranteed and supported to act as masters of their own country.
(1) Rights of the person
The amended Criminal Procedure Law adopted in March 2012 clearly stipulated the respect and protection of human rights, and improved the evidence collecting system, compulsory measures, defense system, criminal investigation, trial procedures and enforcement procedures.
The personal rights of suspects in lawsuits are guaranteed. The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security promulgated regulations in greater detail on the applicable conditions, approval procedures and informing procedures for the adoption of such compulsory measures as arrest, release on bail pending trial, and residential surveillance. Between 2012 and 2015, the procuratorates throughout the country disapproved the arrest of 816,379 people, among whom 340,491 were not arrested on the grounds that they were posing no danger to society, 63,809 were not arrested on the grounds that their behavior constituted no crimes, and 379,290 were not arrested on the grounds of unclear facts and insufficient evidence. The public security organs strictly followed rules that required notifying the family members of criminal suspects within 24 hours of detentions or arrests. During the first interrogation or while taking compulsory measures, the security personnel should inform the suspects of their right to retain defense lawyers, or to apply for legal aid. An internet appointment platform has been established to publicize phone numbers for appointments and provide convenience for lawyers to meet suspects. Great efforts were made to push forward the construction of legal aid centers within detention houses to make sure that detainees and their families obtain timely legal aid. During a criminal investigation, defense lawyers can inquire about the accusations and major established facts implicating the suspects in the crimes and the situation on compulsory measures taken by the investigation organs.
The supervision and examination against extortion of confession by torture and other illegal acts have been strengthened. Between 2012 and 2015, procuratorial organs made 869,775 remedial proposals on illegal acts during criminal investigations including abusing compulsory measures, collecting evidence through illegal means and extorting confessions by torture. In 2015, China handled 208 cases against 243 procurators for their violation of laws and disciplines. Since 2012, the country' s procuratorial organs have continued to take stern actions to investigate and deal with cases concerning staffers of state functionaries who violated citizens' personal rights by taking advantage of their functions and powers.
The regulations on comprehensive collection and examination of evidence have been strictly implemented. Public security organs put all evidence collected proving guilt or innocence, felony or misdemeanor on file, with all records then transferred to examine the reliability, legitimacy and probative value of evidence. The people's procuratorates placed on record all the proposals made by defense lawyers about cases of suspects constituting no crimes, causing no harm to society or excluding evidence collected through illegal means. Before the end of criminal investigations, if defense lawyers make demands, public security organs are required to listen to their views, verify facts according to specific circumstances and place them on record. If defense lawyers submit opinions in written form, the document should be attached to the other records. The public security organs have standardized the use and management of the venues of law enforcement and case investigation. Case investigation areas are separated physically from other areas to ensure that criminal suspects have food and drinks and necessary time for rest in these venues. After being taken into public security organs, criminal suspects should be taken directly to case investigation areas where video surveillance systems should be installed. By the end of 2015, public security organs at various locations had completed the standardized renovation of the venues of law enforcement and case investigation.
The system of community-based correction has been further improved. The amended Criminal Procedure Law adopted in 2012 stipulated that those criminals sentenced to public surveillance, probationary suspension, parole and serving terms outside of jail temporarily, should undergo community-based correction according to law, and be subject to the administration of community correctional institutions. According to the provisions of the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law, the Ministry of Justice worked with other related departments in jointly laying down Measures for the Implementation of Community Correction, and made comprehensive stipulations on the delivery, execution and legal supervision of community correction. Efforts were made to strengthen education and management and effectively raise the quality of community correction. To help those serving sentences adapt to society, the government formulated, improved and fulfilled earnestly the assistance policy, and coordinated with others to find solutions to the problems concerning the employment, schooling, subsistence allowances, provisional aid and social security, which has helped create conditions for those serving sentences to feel reassured in receiving community correction and assimilate back into society. By the end of 2015, China had established 1,339 community-based correction centers at the county (district) level, which received cumulatively 2.702 million people serving sentences, and released cumulatively 2.004 million such people. There were 698,000 people serving sentences on the roster to receive community correction, and the rate of recidivism for people receiving community correction has remained at a relatively low level of 0.2 percent.
In December 2012, the NPC Standing Committee adopted a decision to abolish laws and regulations on reeducation through labor.
In August 2015, the NPC Standing Committee decided to grant amnesty to four categories of prisoners. By the end of 2015, official pardons had been given to 31,527 prisoners according to law.
(2) Rights of detainees
Supervision over detention has been strengthened. For those detainees who are sick or injured or in a situation eligible for release on bail or residential surveillance and unsuitable for continued detention according to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law, public security organs will change compulsory measures according to law. Between 2012 and 2015, procuratorial institutions across the country proposed release or changing compulsory measures for 83,341 people who were involved in cases unnecessary for detention, and case-handling organs accepted such proposals for 77,591 detainees, with the adoption rate standing at 93.1 percent. Supervision over the term of criminal detention was intensified in a comprehensive way. Between 2012 and 2015, 1,974 detainees were found to be in extended custody, calls for correction were then made about 1,967 detainees, and the situations of 1,939 detainees have been corrected so far.
Efforts were made to guarantee the legal rights of detainees. In 2013, the Ministry of Public Security organized the amending of Construction Standards for Detention Houses that call for the all-round adoption of the goal of one bed for one inmate in newly built, renovated and expanded detention houses. The Ministry of Public Security worked together with the National Health and Family Planning Commission to specialize and socialize medical care for inmates in venues under public security supervision and establish medical records for detainees, with professional medical institutions in charge of daily medical and health care services. The systems of physical examination for detainees when they are taken into custody, regular body surface examinations for detainees and the notification of the rights and obligations of the detainees and emergency alarming procedures were strictly implemented. The system of interrogation and remand of criminal suspects was also strictly carried out. The systems of assessing detainees' security risk, psychological intervention and investigation, and handling of their complaints were continually improved. The same was so for the system and working mechanism for inviting special supervisors to inspect the detention houses. Various regulations were formulated concerning detainees' rights of the person and belongings, and their litigation rights in detention houses of public security organs. Through the working mechanism and system regarding the establishment of procurator mailboxes, detainees' requests to see resident procurators, meetings between resident procurators and detainees in detention houses and prisons, people's procuratorates were able to find out whether there were violations of the rights of detainees, such as physical punishment, torture, insult and retaliation, and propose remedies and supervise the prisons and detention houses for correction. Between 2012 and 2015, procuratorial organs across China proposed to supervisory organs 7,770 remedies for practices that had been conducted on detainees, including physical punishment, torture, the illegal use of instruments and confinement. All of the practices were corrected. In March 2015, Regulations on the Handling of Cases Involving the Death of Detainees in Prisons were enforced to provide for concrete steps for reporting, investigating and handling, inspecting and establishing accountability.
(3) Right to a fair trial
The system of excluding illegally obtained evidence has been further improved. In 2013, the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued Proposals for Investigation and Supervision Departments to Investigate and Verify Illegal Behaviors during Criminal Investigations (for trial implementation), and further improved the working mechanism for supervising illegal behaviors during criminal investigations. The Supreme People's Court's judicial interpretation on the application of the Criminal Procedure Law also provided for specific rules on the scope of witnesses appearing in court; the scope of appraisers appearing in court; the protection of witnesses, and subsidies for providing testimonies. In a special chapter devoted to eliminating illegal evidence, it clearly stipulated the procedures to apply for excluding illegal evidence and examine and investigate the legitimacy of evidence collection. In 2013, the Supreme People's Court promulgated Regulations on Establishing a Sound Working Mechanism to Guard against Unjust, False or Erroneous Charges in Criminal Cases. For cases having insufficient evidence, defendants should be found not guilty. It provided for eliminating all confessions extorted by torture or other illegal methods, not collected through interrogation in designated venues of case investigation, or confessions collected without audio-visual recordings of the whole interrogation process and those that could not exclude the possibility of being collected through illegal means. Between 2012 and 2015, the people' s courts at various levels found 3,369 suspects not guilty.
The right to defense by suspects and defendants was safeguarded. In 2013, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice jointly issued Regulations on Legal Aid for Criminal Proceedings. Criminal suspects and defendants who could not afford to retain defenders may apply for legal aid. In particular cases, the public security organs, people's procuratorates and people's courts should notify legal aid agencies to designate lawyers for criminal suspects and defendants who do not authorize defenders.
The right of lawyers to practice law has been safeguarded. In 2015, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Justice jointly issued the Provisions on Protecting Lawyers' Practicing Rights in Accordance with the Law, further detailing the rights of lawyers to know, apply, appeal, meet, review case files, collect evidence, question, cross-examine, debate and make defense, etc. Measures were put in place to make it more convenient for lawyers to participate in litigations, and improve the mechanisms for relief and accountability aimed at protecting the rights of lawyers in practicing law. It was clearly stipulated that related institutions should in a timely manner stop, and handle in accordance with the law, any insults, defamations, retaliations, and personal injuries received by lawyers while practicing law and offer protection if necessary.
A system of simultaneous audio and video recording has been put in place. Between 2012 and 2015, 3,512 people's courts nationwide were provided with full access to the internet and relevant data, and opened various services. More than 18,000 tribunals were equipped with the necessary technology to enable them to record each and every serious case. 2,160 long-distance inquiry systems were set up, making possible long-distance inquiries between upper and lower-level courts and between a court and a detention station. Procuratorial organs made it clear that people who handle functionary crimes would be held responsible for selectively practicing audio/video recording, or for deliberately shutting down the audio/video recording system in an attempt to prevent oversight. Audio and video recording equipment has been installed inside all interrogation rooms in case-handling areas of public security organs and detention houses, and the practice of audio and video recording in the interrogation of suspects has been started nationwide in accordance with the law.
Tighter checks have been placed on the application of the death penalty. In August 2015, nine crimes were removed from the list of crimes subject to the death penalty in the Amendment (IX) to the Criminal Law, and therefore the number of crimes subject to the death penalty decreased from the previous 55 to 46. In 2012, the Supreme People's Procuratorate established the Oversight Office on the Review of the Death Penalty, in an effort to strengthen legal supervision procedures on the review of the death penalty. Since 2012, the Supreme People's Court has issued 56 exemplary cases of guiding importance, with 3 of them involving criminal acts where the death penalty was applicable. Second trials of death penalty cases have all been conducted in open courts. More importance is given to listening to the opinions of defense lawyers in the course of reviewing death penalty cases. When a higher people's court reviews a death penalty, for which the defendant didn't ask for a defense lawyer, it is required to ask legal aid agencies to designate a lawyer for defense service.
On January 1st, 2014, courts nationwide formally launched work on the standardization on sentencing. On May 1, 2015, people's courts started implementing the mechanism of case registration.
The Law of Civil Procedure and the Law of Administrative Procedure have been revised. The procedure of cases involving small sums and the procedure of cases involving public interest have been introduced. The evidence system, the system of publicizing judgment documents and the supervision procedure on trials have been improved. Additions were made concerning the conversion of the procedure of cases involving small sums to common procedures and the principle of sharing responsibility in evidence collection. A system is in place, which requires the head of an administrative organ that is being sued to appear and respond in court. The trial process and evidence regulation of cases of administrative procedures have been improved further, and individuals and organizations that have been harmed by illegal administrative acts are provided with a strengthened guarantee of their right to secure judicial aid.
A state compensation system has been effectively implemented. Between 2012 and 2015, the people's courts at various levels concluded 12,300 state compensation cases. In 2015, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly promulgated the Interpretations on Certain Issues Relating to Laws Applicable to Criminal Compensation Cases, which specified scenarios where criminal liability shall cease to be looked into. This further solves the problem of citizens being unable to apply for state compensation due to the procrastination and inconclusiveness of criminal cases.
(4) Freedom of religious belief
Freedom of religious belief is fully guaranteed. The freedom of religious belief of citizens is protected according to the Constitution and the law. Citizens have the liberty to believe or not to believe in religions. In either case, their legitimate rights are equally protected. Normal religious needs of citizens who have religious beliefs are guaranteed according to the law and their customs are respected.
Normal religious activities are protected by law. The State Administration for Religious Affairs promulgated the Measures for Confirming the Qualifications and Determining the Professional Titles of Teachers of Religious Schools (for trial implementation) and the Measures on the Granting of Degrees by Religious Schools (for trial implementation), so as to further protect the legitimate rights and interests of teachers and students of religious schools and regulate the schools' management. Between 2012 and 2015, the administration canceled or adjusted 12 items subject for administrative approval in the field of religious affairs.
The work on the protection of pilgrimage activities of Muslims has constantly improved. The State Council established the mechanism of the inter-ministerial joint meeting on the work of pilgrimage made by believers in Islam. The facilitation of pilgrims' accommodation, food and drinks, and transport has been further elevated, and the work on their physical examination and vaccination, medical service, epidemic prevention and pilgrimage security when they stay abroad has been improved continuously.
The construction of religious sites and colleges is supported. Between 2011 and 2015, a total of 200 million yuan was invested in the renovation and expansion projects of religious places in Tibet. By the end of 2015, all of the 87 temples scattered in 17 townships of 5 counties, that were damaged by the Yushu earthquake and placed on the list of religious places slated for reconstruction, had been rebuilt. Breakthroughs were made in the construction of the Tibet College of Buddhism. The college has so far trained nearly 2,000 monks and nuns, established the department of nuns, and opened several branch schools. The Gansu and Qinghai Buddhist seminaries in the Tibetan Language Family as well as the new campus of the Sichuan Tibetan-language Buddhist Seminary are to be completed and will come into operation soon. From 2012 to 2015, the State set aside a total of nearly 15 million yuan to support and assist the Islamic circle in repairing and preserving major mosques and religious sites that possess value for protection as cultural relics. The revamping and expansion project of the China Islamic Seminary has been completed. In 2012, the State invested 513 million yuan in the construction of new buildings of the Buddhist Academy of China.
Full coverage of the social security system has been realized for religious workers. By the end of 2013, participation on a voluntary basis in medical insurance among religious workers had reached 96.5 percent, participation in old age pension schemes had reached 89.62 percent, and religious workers who qualified for subsistence allowance and the Five Guarantees (food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses) had all been provided for by the program.
The Chinese religious circle has formed friendly relations and conducted exchange activities with religious organizations from more than 80 countries.
(5) Right to be informed
The disclosure of government information has been further promoted. The State Council implemented the Provisions on the Disclosure of Government Information. Emphasis was put on the disclosure of information relating to administrative examination and approval, financial budgets and final accounts, government-subsidized housing, food and drug safety, land requisition and resettlement as well as information in other fields. "Beautiful China - Action for Barrier-Free Access to China Government Service" was launched in 2013, under which 126 government service websites were revamped for barrier-free access. The mechanism on government working in a transparent way has been fully pushed forward. The scope of service and responsibility of government personnel are publicized and information relating to the handling of matters is made known according to law.
The Rules on the Disclosure of Government Information of the National Audit Office has been revised and improved. In 2015, the National Audit Office launched its government affairs account on WeChat, the China Audit newspaper digital APP, and the China Audit Digital Publication Website. Between 2012 and 2015, the National Audit Office issued 124 notices on the auditing results, held 50 news conferences, accepted more than 220 media interviews, and conducted more than 30 live online press briefings and online interviews.
Between 2012 and 2015, the State Council Information Office organized 322 news conferences on the major meetings, major decisions and major work of the CPC and the State. The CPC Central Committee, the State Council and local CPC committees and governments organized more than 9,300 news conferences and news briefings.
Judicial openness has been continuously deepened. The Supreme People's Court established three major platforms for the disclosure of court proceedings, judgment documents and enforcement information. By the end of 2015, 14.48 million judgment documents and 34.347 million pieces of information concerning people subjected to enforcement, were released. In 2015, the China Law Court Live Broadcast Website offered live video streaming of 3,795 court hearings. By the end of 2015, the system for the disclosure of information of cases with the people's procuratorates had released 2.54 million pieces of information concerning case procedures, 1.02 million pieces of information concerning major cases, and 760,000 effective legal documents. The Ministry of Public Security promulgated regulations, demanding the release to the general public and specially targeted people of law-enforcement evidence, progress of procedures, results and other information. Public security organs at various levels have made it easier for the public to handle issues, search and supervise by opening online public security bureaus, online police stations, micro-blogs and by other means.
The system for transparency of enterprise and village affairs has been further implemented. By September 2015, among all enterprises and public institutions with trade unions, 4.931 million had established a separate system of making enterprise affairs public, and 4.106 million non-public sector enterprises had established a separate system of making enterprise affairs public, accounting for 93 percent of the total, far exceeding the targeted goal of 80 percent. More than 90 percent of the counties (cities and districts) nationwide have compiled a unified catalogue of village affairs for disclosure, 91 percent of the villages have put in place the system of disclosure of village affairs, and 92 percent of villages have set up committees for supervision of village affairs or other forms of bodies in overseeing village affairs.
(6) Right to participate
In accordance with the relevant stipulations of the Election Law amended in 2010, during elections of deputies to the people's congresses at various levels from 2011 to 2013, the principle began to be executed formally and fully that deputies are elected in the same proportion to the populations of urban and rural areas, demonstrating the equality among all people, regions and ethnic groups.
The channels through which the public get involved in legislation have been widened. In 2015, the Legislation Law was revised, broadening the channels for citizens to participate in legislation in an orderly way, conducting legislation consultation, and improving the systems of legislative debate, hearing and openly soliciting opinions on draft laws. From March 2013 to December 2015, 140,753 people raised more than 340,000 opinions on relevant draft laws. Each time the deadline for soliciting opinions is over, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will sort out and summarize the opinions on draft laws and make prompt feedback to society on opinions about important draft laws. From 2012 to 2015, through the Chinese Government Legal Information Website, 64 laws and administrative regulations were offered up for public comment with more than 283,000 opinions collected, and 465 departmental rules opened for public comments with more than 89,000 opinions gathered. In March 2016, based on opinions collected from all sides, the National People's Congress deliberated on and adopted the Charity Law, protecting the legitimate interests of participants in charitable activities.
The right of members of non-Communist parties and personages without party affiliation to make comments, raise proposals and deliver reports on social conditions and public opinions at various meetings of the CPPCC has been respected and guaranteed. From 2012 to 2015, various non-Communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce put forth a total of 1,461 proposals and 11,998 reports on social conditions and public opinions.
Mass organizations and social groups take an active part in public management. Trade unions involved themselves in the study of the revising of the Regulations on Supervision of Labor Security. Since 2012, trade unions at all levels have performed their duty in supervising the implementation of labor laws. By 2015, trade unions throughout the country had established up to 960,000 labor law supervision organizations, with a total of nearly 2.13 million supervisors. The Communist Youth League of China, the All-China Women's Federation and other mass organizations conveyed their requests through multiple channels.
The system of trade union organizations and workers' congresses has constantly improved. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions issued the Opinions on Strengthening the Construction of Grassroots Trade Unions under New Situations and the Plan of Work on the Construction of Grassroots Organizations (2014-2018), to expand the effective coverage of trade unions. By the end of September 2015, about 13 million workers who moved from rural to urban areas for employment had been newly adopted as members of trade unions. Relevant departments have formulated Measures of Implementation on Workers' Congresses in State-owned Cultural Units, Enterprises and Institutions (Temporary). By the end of September 2015, among all the enterprises and public institutions with trade unions throughout the country, 5.059 million had established a separate system of workers' congresses, regional (professional) workers' congresses had covered 1.873 million enterprises, and 4.207 million non-public sector enterprises had established a separate system of workers' congresses, accounting for 94.6 percent, exceeding the projected target of 80 percent.
The system of people's self-governance at grassroots level has been further improved. The Ministry of Civil Affairs has formulated the Regulations and Procedures on the Election of Village Committees, and more than 98 percent of village committees are directly elected according to law. The systems of conferences of villagers (residents), conferences of deputies of villagers (residents), consultative conferences of villagers (residents), etc, have been implemented, guaranteeing the participation of the masses in the management and decision making of public affairs at grassroots level. Relevant departments have worked out the Opinions on the Enhancement of Consultation between Urban and Rural Communities, refining the system of democratic consultation at grassroots level.
Social groups have become an important channel through which the masses of people take part in social management and public service. Their structures have been continuously optimized and their quality has been steadily improved. By the end of 2015, the number of social groups registered nationwide according to law had reached about 660,000, an increase of 32.3 percent over the corresponding period of 2012. Social groups of various types nationwide had generated incomes of around 260 billion yuan, providing about 8.5 million people of various kinds with employment, and accepted donations of approximately 90 billion yuan. Direct registration for professional associations of such types as commerce, science and technology, charity, urban and rural community service has been explored and practiced. The delinking between chambers of commerce and administrative organs has been activated. The strengths and role that social groups in the philanthropic field have in poverty and disaster relief and dealing with various emergencies have been fully utilized. Privately-run schools, hospitals and homes for the aged and other social service facilities, that are not for profit, have been actively nurtured and developed, to meet the increasing demands of the people for diversified public services. Government has been encouraged to transfer its functions to and purchase services from social groups. Consultation between social groups, especially grassroots social groups in urban and rural areas, has been explored.
(7) Right to be heard
The construction of consultative democracy has been pushed forward. In 2013, the CPPCC initiated Bi-weekly Consultative Forums, which were held about 20 times a year, focusing on specific topics, taking advantage of the inclusiveness of the National Committee, relying on special committees and taking the form of discussion meetings. The CPPCC held consultations on specific issues, consultations with representatives of specific sectors of society, consultations with Party and government departments and consultations on the handling of proposals.
The internet information platform has enriched channels through which citizens can have their voices heard. By the end of 2015, China's online population had reached 688 million and the internet penetration rate had reached 50.3 percent. Netizens make remarks and comments through online news commentaries, forums, blogs, micro-blogs, WeChat accounts and other internet platforms, putting forward criticisms and suggestions on the work of the government at various levels and exercise supervision over the conducts of civil servants.
The channels for people to make complaints in the form of letters and visits have been continuously broadened. Letters and visits and other traditional channels for citizens to express opinions have been optimized. Efforts have been made to make sure that complaints can reach officials through their letter boxes and short messages or through video links. A system has been put in place to collect suggestions from the public. The operational mechanism of the nationwide complaint system has been improved, with the process of complaints being received and handled open to the public and subject to citizens' comments and social supervision. Interconnection and inter-working have been realized in all provinces of China and 30 ministries and ministerial-level commissions, and online complaint making has gradually become the main channel for citizens to make demands.
The rights of workers in enterprises and public institutions to be heard are guaranteed. Relevant departments jointly produced the Regulations on Democratic Management of Enterprises, under which the formulation and revision of labor rules and regulations of enterprises, major decisions about the operation and management of enterprises, and important matters concerning the immediate interests of workers must be submitted to workers' congresses for deliberation. During the adjournment of workers' congresses, workers' demands are promptly conveyed through joint meetings of leaders of workers' delegations, workers' democratic management committees, talks between labor and capital and other channels.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has implemented the Measures for the Administration of Press Cards and the Measures for the Administration of Correspondent Bureaus of Newspapers and Periodicals, to protect the legitimate rights of news media and their branches and reporters to interview and supervise by public opinion.
(8) Right to oversee
The NPC and its Standing Committee have continuously strengthened supervision. In 2015, the Legislation Law was revised, the system of filing and examining laws, regulations and regulatory documents was strengthened, and clear guidelines were set out on voluntary examination feedback to applicants for examinations and openness to society. From 2012 to 2015, the NPC Standing Committee held 12 special consultations, carried out 15 special investigations and surveys, and conducted inspections on the enforcement of 17 laws. In 2014, the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee formulated A Number of Opinions on the Improvement of the Work of Special Consultations, listing reports and bills that involve reform of a high rate of difficulty, reflect numerous problems, draw high degrees of public attention, and concern the immediate interests of the general public as topics of special consultation, and organically combining the three forms of supervision, law-enforcement inspection, report hearing and special consultation. In 2015, the NPC Standing Committee carried out inspections on the enforcement of 6 laws including the Law on Vocational Education, the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Consumers and the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Water Pollution.
The CPPCC actively explored ways to improve the system of democratic supervision. In 2015, it launched several supervisory investigations and surveys especially concerning the treatment of pollution of the Tengger Desert, reform of the system of investment examination and approval and other significant matters, putting forth criticisms and suggestions in relation to the problems that had emerged in the execution of the decisions.
Supervision over regulations and regulatory documents has been strengthened. By the end of 2015, relevant departments had by official order nullified 35 rules and regulations, comprehensively amended 24, and partially amended 182. Between June 2012 and June 2014, they dealt with 81 rules and regulations on administrative authorization, administrative compulsion and administrative punishment that had been illegally put in place. They especially conducted concentrated examinations on and supervised and urged amendments to those departmental rules and regulations related to items of administrative examination and approval that had been canceled or delegated by the State Council.
The systems of administrative accountability, administrative review and administrative proceedings have been further improved. From 2012 to 2014, administrative review organs at various levels accepted about 340,000 applications for administrative reconsideration and concluded 320,000 cases, or 94 percent of the total. The Supreme People's Court promulgated the Guiding Opinions on People's Courts Exercising Trans-Administrative Regional and Centralized Jurisdiction of Administrative Cases, promoting relevant institutional reforms. By the end of 2015, people's courts that transcend administrative divisions, including the No. 4 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing and the No. 3 Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai, had been put in place.
Social supervision has been strengthened. The Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Justice printed and distributed the Plan of Reform on the Enhancement of the Mechanism of People's Supervisors. By the end of 2015, more than 15,000 people's supervisors had been recruited and 3,786 special procurators had been appointed. People's supervisors oversaw 7,974 cases of functionary crimes which procuratorial organs either "planned to dismiss" or "planned not to proceed with charges." People's supervisors raised opinions of disagreement to the planned decisions of procuratorial organs over 212 cases, put forth 992 suggestions for the correction of some scenarios that occurred in the course of procuratorial organs handling functionary crimes, and made 156 suggestions on procuratorial work and the construction of the procuratorial team. The supervisory role of the internet has been fully utilized. In recent years, the discipline inspection and supervision organs of the CPC Central Committee, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and others have opened offence-reporting websites and a large number of problems that were raised on the internet have been resolved, which played an important role in preventing and penalizing embezzlement and corruption.