March ahead with rule of law

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, October 27, 2014
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Some people in Hong Kong have cast doubts on the central authorities' governance because there is room for improvement in the rule of law. Yet the communiqué should be seen as a big step by the central authorities, led by the Party, to carry out those improvements. Also, the central authorities have reiterated that they will promote the practice of "One Country, Two Systems" strictly in accordance with the law.

Residents and officials in Hong Kong across the social and economic divide have accused the "Occupy Central" protestors of violating the law. Therefore, to safeguard the rule of law, the students should call off their protest and the ill-intentioned instigators should be penalized for their actions according to law. After all, the Party's consistent efforts to promote the rule of law will not only end the misunderstandings over political reform, but also boost the stability and prosperity of the city.

Zhang Dinghuai, a professor at Shenzhen University and member of Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

A welcome move to deliver justice

The cross-region circuit court system, proposed by the communiqué issued by the Fourth Plenum, is expected to facilitate the handling of judicial cases filed by the public. Also, the authorities will explore the possibility of setting up courts and procuratorates whose jurisdiction spans different administrative regions, as well as developing a system that allows prosecuting bodies to register public interest litigations.

Local vested interests, including enterprises and officials, are more likely to interfere in cases, especially those related to economic issues, are registered locally. Besides, local court officials and procuratorates could turn a blind eye to protectionism in order to protect local interests. The moves to rule out such possibilities reflect the Party's determination to boost judicial independence and eradicate local protectionism and industrial monopoly in the country.

The ultimate purpose of the proposed circuit court and the existing cross-region trial system may be similar, but they would be different in terms of duration and effectiveness. Though cross-region trials are often applied to national and major cases, they vary according to individual cases and don't have uniform norms. The proposed circuit court, on the other hand, is supposed to be a standing trial mechanism exclusively for cross-province and complicated cases aimed at ensuring total judicial fairness.

This is not to say that the cross-region trial system should be abolished. It could act as a supplement, if not a substitute, to the circuit court system. And to rule out the possibility of local interference, administrative regions must cut across provinces, and all circuit court judges should be qualified and capable of handling major cases.

Feng Yujun, a professor of the School of Law, the Renmin University of China


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