Judicial reform enforces rule of law

By Ren Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, December 4, 2014
Adjust font size:

The three distortions combined lead to disastrous results. One infamous example is Nie Shubin from North China's Hebei province who was wrongfully sentenced to death and executed in 1995 for rape and murder. The true killer emerged in 2005, indicating the police had forced a false confession from him and the courts took it for granted.

The Fourth Plenum will hopefully have changed all these, as it emphasizes that judges should be free from interference from within the judicial agencies.

Of all the related moves the plenum raised, the most important must be separating judicial power from the administrative power of judicial agencies. A power list might be published for administrative leaders of courts and procuratorates, so that they stop issuing commands to judges and procurators on how to do their job.

The plenum's decision also raised the principle of "taking judgment as the center of legal proceedings", which would limit the police's power and refrain it from influencing a court. That is a positive move.

Other meaningful innovations include forming courts that transcend administrative regions, for example, the Beijing Intellectual Property Rights Court, which opened in late November. Unlike the Beijing Municipal People's Court that deals with cases from within the municipality only, the Beijing IPR Court accepts lawsuits from a much wider area.

In the latest move, the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform chaired by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday reviewed and adopted pilot plans to set up circuit courts by the Supreme People's Court and transregional courts and procuratorates.

The establishment of circuit courts and transregional courts and procuratorates is seen as an important step in the nation's judicial reform, as it addresses some deep-seated problems in the judicial system, according to a statement of the meeting.

The Supreme People's Court will set up circuit courts for major administrative, civil and commercial cases involving different administrative regions, these will facilitate the filing of lawsuits from local communities and help solve conflicts at the local level, it said.

Courts and procuratorates with jurisdictions over different administrative regions will help eliminate interference from local officials and ensure judicial independence.

Administrative power also seems set to be further supervised. According to an earlier document, a citizen's lawsuit against an administrative agency will have more chances of being accepted than before, and if the court refuses to set up a case it must reply in writing within a certain time range. Ordinary citizens might also join court proceedings as jurors, whose responsibility is to find the facts, not to make rulings.

If these measures are well implemented, the pressure of petitioning might be eased, too. Many powerless people tend to petition Party and government authorities when they feel they suffered a judicial injustice, because they know power dominates the judiciary and only through power can they correct what they consider their wrong rulings.

The fact people have resorted to approaching the government for judicial affairs shows they have lost confidence in the judicial system. If the reform can restrain power from interfering with the judiciary, their confidence might be regained.

That is also why the Fourth Plenum designed that petitions about unjust judiciary should be sent to judicial agencies, and government petitioning offices should no longer accept them. It aims at reforming the system, so that the judiciary deals with judicial affairs, and administrative departments with administrative affairs.

The author is a professor of law at Party School of the Central Committee of CPC.


Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
   Previous   1   2  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter