I. Legislation and Supervision by the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee
II. Administration by Law
III. Judicature, Prosecution, Public Security
IV. Reform of the Judicial System
V. Legal Guarantee for Human Rights
VI Protection of Intellectual Property
VII. Promoting Progress in Ecological Environment Management
VIII. Legal Publicity, Legal Education and Legal Research
IX. International Exchange and International Cooperation
China made new and great achievements in promoting the rule of law by firmly taking the socialist road of the rule of law with Chinese characteristics and firmly advancing the law-based governance of the country under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China in 2016: it persisted in scientific legislation and democratic legislation with the quality becoming better and better; it exercised administration by law thoroughly and strictly standardized fair and civilized law enforcement with conspicuous achievements in the construction of a law-based government; it made tremendous efforts to advance the judicial reform, improve the judicial management system and the mechanism for the exercise of the judicial power, standardized the judicial behaviors and strengthened oversight over judicial activities with judicial credibility further growing; it noticeably increased the people’s consciousness of the need to promote the rule of law by giving wide publicity and education on the rule of law and improving the mechanism for the popularization of the law; and it reaped rich fruits in the construction of the socialist law-based culture with Chinese characteristics by constantly innovating and developing legal education and legal research. The vivid practices in Chinese legislation, law enforcement, administration of justice, popularization of the law and legal publicity in 2016 showed the good prospect of the efforts China has made to promote the rule of law.
I. Legislation and Supervision by the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee
The Chinese National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee formulated a total of ten laws, revised 24 laws, and adopted six decisions on legal issues and made one legal interpretation in 2016. By the end of December, there were 256 current effective laws, apart from the current Constitution.
(1) Strengthen Legislation in the Major Fields
——Formulating the Charity Law. The Charity Law is an important law in the social sphere, and a basic and comprehensive law guiding the construction of the charity system. It was adopted at the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress in March. Its main contents are: one, it clarifies that the “charitable activities” herein refer to the public benefit activities carried out voluntarily by natural persons, legal persons, and other organizations in the forms of donating property and providing services: such as helping the poor and needy, assisting the elderly, orphans, the ill and disabled, and providing special care, alleviating losses incurred by natural disasters, accidents, public health incidents and other emergencies, promoting the development of education, science, culture and public health and sports, and protecting environments. Two, it clarifies the definition of charity organization and the procedure for its establishment, standardizes its code of conduct and internal management and defines its obligation for the transparency of information. Three, it clarifies that charity fund raising includes public fund raising activities directed at society at large and targeted fund raising activities directed at special targets, and prescribes special standards for public fund raising. Four, it clarifies the record system for charitable trusts, the scope of trustees and the obligations of trustees and supervisors. Five, it standardizes the use of financial assets of charitable organizations. It makes clear that financial assets shall be used entirely for charitable purposes in accordance with the organizational charter and donation agreements. In addition, it includes prescriptions for the measures taken to promote the development of charitable services and charitable causes, supervision over and service guidance for charitable activities and legal responsibilities for law violations in the charitable sphere.
——Formulating the Law on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-governmental Organizations in the Mainland of China. In order to standardize the activities of overseas non-governmental organizations in the mainland of China and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests to promote exchanges and cooperation, the NPC Standing Committee adopted the Law on the Administration of the Activities of Overseas Non-governmental Organizations in the Mainland of China in April. The law states that overseas NGOs refer to the non-profit and non-governmental foundations, social groups and think tanks, established lawfully outside the mainland of China, and can carry out public interest activities in economy, education, science, technology, culture, public health and sports, environmental protection, poverty alleviation and disaster relief that are beneficial to the development of public interest causes. The law also prescribes the way how they carry out their activities, the procedure and promotional measures. It improves the relevant system and measures for administration, strengthens supervision over financial sources and use of their funds and clarifies the corresponding legal responsibilities.
——Formulating the Cyber Security Law. The Cyber security Law is a basic law in the cyber security field. It was adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in November. The law correctly handles the relationships between space freedom and order, security and development, and autonomy and opening-up. It upholds the principles of active utilization, scientific development, law-based management and guarantee for security, clarifies the responsibilities of the competent departments, operators and users of the networks for cyber security, and established the basic management system for guaranteeing national cyber security to provide the legal guarantee for maintaining the security and order in the cyber space and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the people.
——Formulating the Law on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is a treasure of the Chinese nation, and an important component part of the Chinese medical and health service. The law was adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in December. Its main contents are: One, it clarifies the important place of traditional Chinese medicine and the principle for its development, and makes it clear that traditional Chinese medicine includes medicines of the Han and all other nationalities living in China. It makes clear that the government makes large efforts to develop traditional Chinese medicine and attaches equal importance to both traditional Chinese and Western medicines. Two, it develops the service of traditional Chinese medicine, and retains and exploits the advantages of traditional Chinese medicines. Three, it establishes a management system that conforms to the characteristics of traditional Chinese medicine. Four, it increases government support to traditional Chinese medicine. Five, it strengthens supervision over the medical service, and the production and sale of traditional Chinese medicines. Six, it strengthens the training of personnel working in traditional Chinese medicine service. Moreover, it also includes provisions on support to the inheritance, innovation and promotion of traditional Chinese medicine, popularization of the culture of traditional Chinese medicine and legal responsibilities.
——Formulating the Public Cultural Service Guarantee Law. The law is a basic law of overall importance in the cultural field. It was adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in December. Its main contents are: One, it clarifies the extents of the public culture service, that is, public cultural facilities, cultural products, cultural activities or other relevant services in which the government takes the lead and social resources participate, and which are supplied mainly for the purpose of satisfying the basic cultural demand of citizens. Two, it clarifies the principles that should be observed for public cultural services, that is, adhering to the orientation for the advancement of the advanced socialist culture, adhering to the people as the center, and adhering to the guidance of the socialist core values; and, giving support to the creation and production of fine public cultural products to enrich the content of public cultural services in accordance with the policy of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend”. Three, it clarifies the standards for the basic public cultural services and the systems for free public cultural service facilities or preferential admission and public notices on public cultural services. Four, it defines the responsibilities of the government for the work of public cultural services. Five, it prescribes the procedures for the demolition and reconstruction of public cultural facilities. Six,it strengthens the digitalization of the public cultural services and the construction of the webs. Seven, it improve the effectiveness of public cultural services. Moreover, it also includes the financial guarantee, supervision and management, personnel training, and the legal responsibilities for the violations of the law.
——Formulating the Environmental Protection Tax Law. It was adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in December. It was the first tax law adopted by the current NPC Standing Committee. It was based on the current pollution discharge fee system and connected with the newly revised Law on Environmental Protection. In accordance with the principle of “level shift from pollution discharge fee to the tax burden”, it clarifies the systems for tax payers, targets for taxation, basis for taxation, tax items, tax amount, tax collection and management.
——Revising the Law on the Protection of Wildlife. The NPC Standing Committee revised the Law on the Protection of Wildlife in July. The revision upholds the principles of giving priority to the protection of wildlife, rational utilization of wildlife resources and strict supervision and control, further strengthens the protection of wildlife and its habitat, improves the systems and measures for the protection of wildlife, supervision and control. It explicitly prohibits the production and sale of foods made of wildlife under special government protection and their products, and explicitly prohibits the illegal purchase of wildlife under special government protection and their products for food. It increases guard against and punishment to the illegal capture and hunting of wildlife, and illegal trading of wildlife.
——Revising the Law on Promoting Privately-Run Schools. In order to advance the reform of classified management and promote the healthy development of privately-run schools, the NPC Standing Committee adopted the decision on revising the Law on Promoting Privately-run Schools in November. It clarifies the classified management of privately-run schools, prohibits the establishment of profitable privately-run schools, improves the mechanism for the management of privately-run schools by legal persons, increases the government measures to support privately-run schools, and includes provisions on the issue of transition from current privately-run schools.
In 2016, the NPC Standing Committee also adopted the Law on the Exploration and Development of Deep Seabed Area Resources, the Asset Evaluation Law, the National Defence Transportation Law, and the Law on Promoting the Film Industry, revised the Law on the Protection of Maritime Environment, and reviewed the Red Cross Society Law, the Law on Promoting Medium-sized and Small Enterprises, the revised draft of the Surveying and Mapping Law, the drafts of the amendments to the Nuclear Security Law, the State Intelligence Law, the Electronic Commerce Law and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. The NPC Standing Committee also reviewed the draft of the General Principles of the Civil Law.
(2) Support and Guarantee the Reforms in the Relevant Fields
——Making decisions on authorization according to law to provide the basis for the experimental work of reforms. The deepening of the reform of the national supervision system has a great deal to do with the reform of the major political system that concerns the overall situation. In the spirit of the instruction that “all major reforms should be based on law”, the NPC Standing Committee made the decision on making experiments on the reform of the national supervision system in the municipality of Beijing and the provinces of Shanxi and Zhejiang. It made clear that supervision committees would be set up in the experimental regions to exercise the power of supervision. The supervision committees, elected at the people’s congresses at the same level, are responsible to the people’s congresses and their standing committees and the supervision committees at the upper level and accept their oversight. The supervision committees exercise supervision over all public officials in their respective regions who use public power according to law. The regions making experiments temporarily adjusted or suspended the application of the relevant provisions of the Administrative Supervision Law, Criminal Procedure Law and local organic laws.
The NPC Standing Committee also adopted decisions on authorizing the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to make experiments on adopting the system of giving leniency to whoever admit guilt and submit to punishment, authorizing the State Council to make temporary adjustment to the application of relevant provisions of the Civil Servant Law of the People’s Republic of China in some regions and some central organs in Beijing, and authorizing the State Council to make temporary adjustment to the application of relevant provisions of the Social Insurance Law of the People’s Republic of China in the administrative areas of Handan in Hebei Province, and eleven other cities, and make temporary adjustments to the application of provisions of the relevant laws during the period of the reform of the officer system.
——Making an overall plan for revising a number of laws to continue the reforms in the relevant fields. The NPC Standing Committee adopted a decision on revising six laws including the Energy Conservation Law in July to further optimize the process of examining and approving investments and improve the efficiency of administrative examination and approval. It adopted another decision in November on revising the Foreign Trade Law and eleven other laws and making changes to the similar or relevant clauses and paragraphs in the laws related to administrative examination and approval and the acceptance of professional qualifications. The two overall revisions provided the legal support and guarantee for deepening the reforms to streamline administration, delegate more powers, improve regulation, provide better services, and promote the transformation of government functions. The NPC Standing Committee made two decisions in August 2013 and December 2014 on authorizing the State Council to make temporary adjustments to the administrative examination and approval prescribed in the relevant laws in the pilot free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian and made a explicit provision that if the relevant reform measures “proved to be workable in the three years of experiments, the relevant laws should be revised and perfected.” The State Council submitted a proposal after summing up the experience in the experiments, and the NPC Standing Committee made an overall revision in September, 2016, of the Law on Foreign Capital Enterprises, the Law on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, the Law on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures and the Law on the Protection of Investments of Taiwan Compatriots, and upgraded the reform measures taken for the experiments in the pilot free trade zones into laws, and at the same time terminated the legal validity of the two authorization decisions.
(3) Make the Interpretation on Article 104 of the Hong Kong Basic Law
In the light of the advocacy of “Hong Kong independence” by individual members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region when taking oaths and their words and acts insulting the country and nation and the disputes arising from them inside the Legislative Council and the society of Hong Kong as a whole, the NPC Standing Committee exercised the power conferred on it by the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, adopted an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, making it clear that the provision in the article “swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” is both the statutory content that must be included in the oath prescribed in the article and the statutory requirement and qualification for entering in the contest for or taking an official post listed in the article; it makes clear the statutory procedure and content that must be abided by in taking the oath for an official post; and it makes clear the legal consequence of losing the qualification for taking the official post after violating the provision on oath taking and the legal responsibility for taking a false oath or contravening the oath.
(4) Promoting Scientific Legislation and Democratic Legislation
The NPC Standing Committee attached importance to further improving the mechanism and methods for the legislative work and strengthened organization and coordination to improve the precision and accuracy of the legislative work. One, it issued the Opinions on Establishing and Improving the System of the Working Organs of the Special Committees and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for the Organization of Preparing the Drafts of Major Laws to strengthen its organization and coordination for the legislative work and give full play to the leading role of the National People’s Congress in the legislative work. Two, it improved the system of soliciting opinions from NPC deputies for preparing law drafts by inviting deputies to participate in the work of making legislative investigations, argumentations, reviews and assessments, and conscientiously heard and adopted opinions and suggestions from NPC deputies to give still better play to the role of the deputies in legislation. Three, it formulated the Norms for the Collection of and Argumentation for Legislation Projects and improved the system for the collection of legislation projects and the work of argumentation to advance the standardization and systematization of the legislative work. Four, it set up a legislative expert committee to give play to the role of legislative experts and advisors. Five, it actively advanced the establishment of contact points for basic level legislation and solicited opinions from four contact points for the drafts of seven laws and the legislative work plan for 2017 so that the legislative work was more closely related with the feelings and conditions of the people at the grassroots. Six, it held the Twenty-second National Symposium on Local Legislation to strengthen its guidance over the local legislative work and further promote the local legislative power of the cities with districts.
(5) The Supervision Work of the NPC Standing Committee
The NPC Standing Committee exercised its power of supervision in 2016, strengthened its supervision and innovated the method of supervision to urge the government, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to exercise administration by law and administer justice fairly to guarantee that the legitimate rights and interests of the people were earnestly protected and the major policies arrangements made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party were implemented in an all-round way.
——Inspecting the implementation of laws. The NPC Standing Committee inspected the implementation of six laws, including the Food Safety Law, the Work Safety Law, the Road Traffic Safety Law, the Environmental Protection Law, the Water Law and the Law on Promoting the Transformation of Scientific and Technological Achievements.
The NPC Standing Committee inspected the implementation of the Food Safety Law, by laying emphasis on risk monitoring, risk assessment and classified risk management, the implementation of the relevant laws and systems related to food production and sale to prevent risks and the implementation of the supervisory laws and systems in the whole process, the implementation of the legal responsibility systems and the implementation of the relevant laws and systems for supervision over special foods and the social governance of food safety. As to the implementation of the Work Safety Law, the NPC Standing Committee focused its inspection on the establishment of the work safety system, the publicity to and implementation of the work safety law, the corresponding measures taken by the relevant departments as required by legal supervision, the main problems in work safety and the opinions and suggestions for work safety. As to the implementation of the Road Traffic Safety Law, it focused on law enforcement and supervision over law enforcement, the outstanding problems in road traffic safety and the measures and suggestions for the improvement of the ability to improve road traffic safety. The inspection of the implementation of the Environmental Protection Law focused on the efforts made by local governments and departments to promote progress in the implementation of the law and the systems, and the measures to strengthen supervision over environments, promote the prevention and control of environmental pollution and improve the environmental quality and the main problems in the environments. As to the implementation of the Water Law, the stress was laid on the inspection of the construction of the facilities and investment for farm irrigation and water conservancy, introduction of water-saving irrigation methods and water-saving technologies, protection of water sources and facilities for farm irrigation, participation of collective economic organizations and their members in the construction of farm water conservancy facilities, the reform of the system of property rights to small farm irrigation facilities, and the improvement of the water conservancy service system. When inspecting the implementation of the Law on Promoting the Transformation of Scientific and Technological achievements, the NPC Standing Committee focused its attention on the principal role of enterprises strengthened by local governments and departments in the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, and the measures they took to encourage schools of higher learning and research institutions to transform scientific and research achievements and improve the services provided for the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, the use and disposal of scientific and technological achievements and management of the income from them, and the implementation of the law related to awards and remunerations for scientific and research achievements made on jobs, and the main problems pending solutions.
In the course of inspecting the implementation of the six laws, members of the NPC Standing Committee put forward opinions and suggestions for the revision of the relevant laws and the improvement of the work. The State Council and the related departments under the State Council paid special attention to their opinions and suggestions, and adopted corresponding measures to improve their work.
Moreover, in order to strengthen follow-up oversight over the work of the Government and the Supreme Court and Supreme Procuratorate in handling the inspection reports and the opinions and suggestions from NPC Standing Committee members on the reports and the improvements made by the government, court and procuratorate thereafter, and to urge them to solve the outstanding contradictions and problems, the NPC Standing Committee asked them to submit written or oral reports on their follow-up work. Apart from hearing the feedback report from the State Council on handling the inspection report on the implementation of the Food Safety Law and the opinions from NPC Standing Committee members, it also reviewed the feedback reports from the State Council on handling the inspection reports on the implementation of the Vocational Education Law and the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly in 2016.
——Hearing and reviewing special work reports. The NPC Standing Committee heard and reviewed 20 work reports from the State Council, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on the work in economy, finance, environments and judicature in 2016.
One, it heard a report on the implementation of the 2016 National Economic and Social Development Plan, a report on the management of the state-owned assets and the system reform and a report on the work of innovations in agricultural and forestry science and technology from the State Council and firmly advanced the supply-side structural reform to promote the steady and healthy economic and social development and guarantee a good beginning of the Thirteenth Five-Year National Economic and Social Plan.
Two, it heard from the State Council the report on the implementation of the 2016 budget, the work report on the auditing of the implementation of the 2015 central budget and other revenues and expenditures, the report on the 2015 central final accounts, the report on the correction of the problems found in the auditing of the implementation of the 2015 central budget and other revenues and expenditures and the report on deepening the reform of the transfer pay system and reviewed them. It examined and approved the 2015 central final accounts, examined and approved the 2016 central budget adjustment plan submitted by the State Council and promoted the reform of the fiscal and tax system and the related legislative work to ensure that the state funds are well managed and used.
Three, it heard the report from the State Council on the environmental situation and the fulfillment of the targets for environmental protection in 2015 and the report on the construction and management of the natural preservation zones to push forward the comprehensive implementation of the strictest legal system for environmental protection and solve the outstanding environmental problems to which the people had expressed strong negative sentiments and make efforts to promote the green development mode and lifestyle. It was for the first time that the NPC Standing Committee heard and reviewed the annual report on the environmental situation and the fulfillment of the targets for environmental protection in accordance with the provision in Article 27 of the newly revised Environmental Protection Law. It will become a system for the NPC Standing Committee to hear such reports, and urge local governments at all levels to make reports on the annual environmental conditions to the people’s congresses and their standing committees at the same level and the fulfillment of the targets for environmental protection, and accept supervision from people’s congresses and the people.
Four, it heard the report from the Supreme People’s Court on deepening judicial transparency and promoting judicial fairness and the mid-term report on the experiments on the reform of the people’s assessor system, the report from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on strengthening supervision over investigations to safeguard judicial fairness and the mid-term report on the experiments on bringing public interest actions. It strengthened supervision, deepened the reform of the judicial system, supported and pushed forward the orderly proceeding of the experimental work of the reform in the judicial sphere to further strengthen judicial transparency, standardize judicial behaviors, improve the supervision mechanism and improve judicial credibility.
Moreover, the NPC Standing Committee also heard and reviewed the report on the implementation of the decision on the Sixth Five-Year Plan for Wide Publicity to the Judicial System, the report on the work of the reform and development of higher education and the work report on the implementation of the Law on Administration of Entry and Exit.
——Strengthen the implementation of and supervision of the Constitution. One, it comprehensively implemented the system of taking the oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The NPC Standing Committee held six ceremonies of taking the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and organized 23 newly appointed state functionaries to take the oath in 2016. Two, it held a symposium to mark the national Constitution Day. December 4, 2016 was the third national Constitution Day, and General Secretary Xi Jinping made an important instruction on the Exhibition Hall for the 1954 Constitution Historical Data. He stressed that to conduct publicity and education on the Constitution was an important task for the comprehensive governance of the country according to law, it was essential to uphold the organic unity of the leadership of the Party, the people becoming the masters of the country and law-based governance of the country, popularize the knowledge of the Constitution, enhance the sense of the Constitution and carry forward the spirit of the Constitution to promote the implementation of the Constitution. Three, strengthen publicity and education on the Constitution. When it heard the report from the State Council on the implementation of the Sixth Five-Year Plan for the Popularization of the Knowledge of the Law and the relevant proposals, the NPC Standing Committee made the resolution on conducting publicity and education on the Seventh Five-Year Plan for the Popularization of the Knowledge of the Law, requiring organizers to give first place to publicity to the Constitution, conduct publicity and education on the Constitution in the whole society, develop the spirit of the Constitution and establish the authority of the Constitution.
——Promote the work of examining the normative documents filed to the central organs. One, the working organ of the NPC Standing Committee examined 37 administrative regulations and judicial interpretations submitted by the State Council, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for record one by one. It put forward explicit opinions and suggestions to all these documents whether they had the problem of inconsistency with laws. On the important matters of the revision of the Electoral Law, the implementation of the Budget Law and the reform of the administrative examination and approval system, it chose the relevant local statutes for examination and required the relevant local governments to handle the matters in time when finding inconsistencies with the revised laws. Two, it conscientiously handled suggestions for examination submitted by citizens and organizations. In 2016, the working organ of the NPC Standing Committee handled 92 suggestions, and found one document with inconsistency with the relevant law, and helped the formulating organ to include the revision of the document in the 2017 legislative plan. The feedback work for the examination of suggestions gradually became standard and normal. It gave written feedbacks to 28 citizens who submitted suggestions in 2016. It notified the suggestion makers with conclusions after the NPC Standing Committee finished the examination of the statutes and judicial interpretations within its competency, but transferred the suggestions to other normative documents not within its competency to the relative state organs for handling them. Three, it improved the work mechanism for the examination of filed documents. The working organ of the NPC Standing Committee formulated the Work Rules of the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee for the Examination of Statutes and Judicial Interpretations Filed for Record (for trial implementation), and standardized the major links of making communications and consultations with document makers, submitting written opinions and suggestions for correction to promote the systematization and standardization of the work of examining filed documents. The NPC Standing Committee started the construction of the platform for the retrieval of information on filed statutes and put it into operation to make preparations for the electronic filing of statutes.
II. Administration by Law
China continued to make large efforts to exercise administration by law, conscientiously implemented the Implementation Programme for the Construction of Law-based Government (2015-2020), and obtained new achievements in the construction of the law-based government in 2016.
(1)The Legislative Work of the State Council
The State Council submitted thirteen law bills and two resolution drafts to the NPC Standing Committee, requested the NPC Standing Committee to review ten treaties and conventions, formulated and revised eight administrative regulations, and ratified eleven conventions, agreements and protocols.
——Promulgating the Decision of the State Council on Revising Part of the Administrative Regulations. In order to promote the reform of streamlining administration, delegating more powers, improving regulation, and providing better services, the State Council cleaned up the administrative regulations related to the cancellation and adjustment of examination and approval items, the price reform and the universal measures taken to reduce fees, and issued the Decision of the State Council on Revising Part of the Administrative Regulations in February and revised part of the articles and paragraphs of 66 administrative statutes. The State Council cancelled a total of 165 examination and approval matters that the State Council departments and the local government departments they had designated to handle, cleaned up and standardized the examination and approval matters for 192 intermediary services, and the acceptance of 220 professional qualifications.
——Formulating the National Regulations on Social Security Funds. In order to standardize the management and operation of the social security funds throughout the country and strengthen supervision over the social security funds throughout the country to preserve and increase the value of the funds on the premise of guaranteeing their safety, the State Council adopted the National Regulations on Social Security Funds in February, and it became effective as from May 1, 2016. The Regulations make clear that the national social security fund is the national social security reserve fund. It is composed of allocations from the central budget, transfers from state-owned capital, profits from the fund investments and funds raised in other forms approved by the State Council, and is used to supplement or regulate the expenditures for social security at the peak of the aging population. It prescribes explicit provisions on the raising, use, management and operation of the fund and supervision over it.
——Formulating the Regulations on Farm Irrigation and Water Conservancy. In order to accelerate the development of farm irrigation and water conservancy facilities and increase the overall agricultural producing capacity to guarantee the security of the national food grain supply, the State Council adopted the Regulations on Farm Irrigation and Water Conservancy in April, and the Regulations became effective on July 1. The regulations established the principles that should be upheld for the development of the farm irrigation and water conservancy work, prescribed the procedure for the preparation of the plan for irrigation and water conservancy, enacted the corresponding measures for strengthening the construction of the irrigation and water conservancy projects, the operation and maintenance of the projects, the management for farmland irrigation and drainage and absorbing social forces to participate in the construction of farm irrigation and water conservancy projects, and clarified the legal responsibilities of behavior subject for the violation of the regulations.
——Formulating the Regulations on the Administration of Approval and Record for Enterprise Investment Projects. In order to standardize the government behavior of approval and record for enterprise investment projects, accelerate the transfer of the government function of investment management and guarantee the power of the enterprises to make decisions on investment, the State Council issued the Regulations on the Administration of Approval and Record for Enterprise Investment Projects in December, and it took effect as from February 1, 2017. The regulations are the first administrative statue China issued in the field of fixed assets investment. Its main contents are: one, it standardizes the behavior of approval for projects; two, it standardizes the behavior of submitting files for record; three, it strengthens operational and post-operational oversight; four, it provides better services and five, it ascertains responsibilities strictly.
——Revising the Regulations on the Circulation and Preventive Inoculation of Vaccines. Since the regulations became effective in June, 2005, it played an important role in strengthening the management of the circulation and inoculation of vaccines, preventing and controlling the occurrence and prevalence of infectious diseases and protecting the personal health and public health. The State Council revised the regulations in April. Its main changes are: One, it improves the legal system for the sales channel, cold chain storage and transportation of second vaccines; two, it establishes the legal system for the thorough retrospective legal system for vaccines, and three, it increases punishment and accountability for criminal behaviors and ineffective supervision in the circulation and preventive inoculation of vaccines.
——Revising the Customs Inspection Regulations of the People’s Republic of China. In order to meet the requirement for the facilitation of customs clearance for foreign trade at ports, the State Council revised the Customs Inspection Regulations of the People’s Republic of China in June. One, it adds the basic measures to support customs clearance, two, it further standardizes and optimizes the customs clearance procedure, three, it improves the power and measures for customs clearance, and four, it clarifies the principles for the implementation of the policy of combining leniency with severity in incurring punishments for the violations of laws.
——Revising the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Management of Radio Operation. Since it became effective in September 1993, the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Management of Radio Operation played a positive role in guaranteeing the rational development and utilization of the radio frequency and safeguarding the radio wave order. With the deepening of the reform and the widespread application of the radio technology in all spheres of the social life, the State Council and the Central Military Commission revised the regulations in November to meet the actual need of the radio management work. The main contents of the revised regulations are: One, it covers the management of radio frequencies, the management of radio stations and bases, the management of transmission equipment and the foreign-related radio management. Two, it improves the management system for the effectively development and utilization of the radio frequencies. Three, it reduces and standardizes the administrative examination and approvals for radio. Four, it strengthens the operational and post-operational oversight, and increases punishment for the criminal activities of using “pseudo base stations” for telecommunication frauds.
(2) Administration by Law
——Administrative reconsideration. The State Council received a total of 7,491 applications for administrative reconsideration (including 2,702 applications carried over from the previous year), and concluded 2,409 of them. It filed for the examination of 1,495 applications including cases carried over from the previous year), and concluded 373 of them. It continued to push forward the work of promoting the reform of the administrative reconsideration system and the revision of the Administrative Reconsideration Law, and guided and supervised the administrative reconsideration work throughout the country, put forward the explicit requirement for the improvement of the work of filing cases for administrative reconsideration at the original level, and developed the statistics system for administrative reconsideration and administrative response cases throughout the country.
——Filing regulations and rules for the record. A total of 891 local regulations, autonomous regulations and single regulations were submitted to the State Council for the record by local people’s congresses with legislative power in 2016. The departments of the State Council and the local governments with legislative power submitted 747 rules to the State Council for the record, including 488 rules from local governments and 259 rules from State Council departments. The Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council laid emphasis on the examination of the rules and regulations submitted by cities and autonomous prefectures with newly acquired legislative power, and made special examination of the department rules already filed for record in relation to the reform of “delegating power, improving regulation and providing better services”.
——Implementing the Implementation Programme for the Construction of A Law-based Government (2015-2020). After the programme was published, the Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council gave positive publicity to the programme, and travelled to Jiangsu and Guangdong to urge the local governments to implement the programme and called meetings of the departments under the State Council for the same purpose.
——Construction of the arbitration system. The Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council further improved the system of submitting statistics on the acceptance of cases by arbitration organs, established the system of submitting reports on the violation of laws and discipline in handling arbitration cases and the correction of wrong arbitral rulings by judicial organs, and improved the system of election of new leaderships of arbitration commissions and the review system. It actively coordinated relevant departments to formulate policies and measures for the development of the arbitration work. The Ministry of Justice formulated and issued the Opinions on Standardizing and Strengthening the Management of the Registration of Arbitration Organs to improve the credibility of arbitration. At the same time, it included the “formulation of and organization of the implementation of the Provisions on the Management of the Registration of Arbitration Organs” in the power and responsibility list of the Ministry of Justice, published it on the Web of the Central Institutional Organization Commission. The establishment of arbitration organs is defined as an administrative examination and approval matter exercised by provincial judicial and administrative organs.
——The reform of the relatively concentrated administrative licensing power. Since the Central Institutional Organization Commission and the Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council jointly issued the Circular on the Distribution of the Plan for the Work of Experiment on the Relatively Concentrated Administrative Licensing Power, the country started a new round of the reform of the relatively concentrated administrative licensing power. The relevant reform in the experimental zones of Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Sichuan and Guizhou was deepened on the original basis. In the current round of the reform, most of the experimental zones established independent “administrative examination and approval bureaus”, and greatly reduced the number of examination and approval matters, and cut down the number of organs and personnel for examination and approval, and improved the efficiency to a certain degree and explored to establish the list of division between power and responsibility for supervision.
III. Judicature, Prosecution, Public Security
And Judicial Administration
The Supreme People’s Court accepted 22,742 cases and concluded 20,151 cases in 2016, 42.3% and 42.6% respectively more than in the previous year. The local courts at all levels accepted 23.03 million cases, tried, executed and concluded 19.772 million cases with a subject amounting to 4,980 billion yuan, 18%, 18.3% and 23.1% respectively more than in the previous year.
——Trying criminal trials. The courts at all levels tried and closed 1.116 million criminal cases of first instance, and sentenced 1.22 million criminals in 2016. They severely punished the crime of endangering the state security. They tried and closed the cases of Zhou Shifeng and others for subverting the state power, and increased punishment to violence, terror, cult and other crimes. They severely punished corruption and bribery and tried and closed 45,000 cases of corruption and bribery, involving 63,000 persons. They provided judicial services for poverty alleviation, and firmly punished the crime of corruption and embezzlement of funds allocated for helping the poor by trying and closing 15,000 cases. They strengthened the work of cracking down on the Mafia-type organizations and evil forces by trying and closing 226,000 criminal cases of homicide, robbery, kidnapping and theft. They punished the drug-related crimes by trying and closing 118,000 cases. They tried and closed 23,000 cases of insider trading and financing frauds. They severely punished the crime of infringing on the rights and interests of women and children by trying and closing 5,335 criminal cases of kidnapping and sexually assaulting women and children and 213 criminal cases of bullying or humiliating people in schools. They severely punished telecommunication and cyber crimes by trying and closing 1,726 cases. The Supreme People’s Court tried Nie Shubin’s intentional homicide and rape case and changed his verdict to innocence.
——Trying civil and commercial cases. The courts at all levels tried and closed 6.738 million civil cases of first instance in 2016, 8.2% more than in the previous year. Among them, there were 1.752 million marriage and family cases, 475,000 labour dispute cases and 29,000 cases for the protection of the rights and interests of consumers. The courts at all levels tried and closed 4.026 million commercial cases of first instance, 20.3% more than in the previous year. Among them, there were 1.248 million dispute cases in relation to equity, securities, futures, bills and insurance, 3,373 bankruptcy cases, 255,000 real estate dispute cases and 318,000 cases involving the separation of the three rights of the rural land in the reform.
——Administrative trials and state compensation. The courts at all levels tried and closed 225,000 administrative cases of first instances, 13.2% more than in the previous year. The Supreme People’s Court strengthened the construction of the trans-regional courts in Beijing and Shanghai and promoted concentrated jurisdiction over administrative cases in alien places. It encouraged responsible persons of administrative organs to appear in court sessions in response. The courts at all levels tried and closed 5,812 state compensation cases.
——Execution work. The courts at all levels accepted 6.149 million execution cases and concluded 5.079 million execution cases in 2016, 31.6% and 33.1% respectively more than in the previous year, with the amount of the subject totaling 1,500 billion yuan, 54% more than in the previous year. The Supreme People’s Court joined with the Ministry of Public Security, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, the People’s Bank of China, the Securities Regulatory Commission in establishing the check and control network system to solve the problem of difficulty in execution. The courts promoted the online judicial auction and held more than 430,000 auctions with the amount of transactions coming to more than 270 billion yuan. It initiated the construction of “Honest China” and united with the State Reform and Development Commission and more than 40 other central departments in signing a cooperation memorandum of understanding on punishment to create an honesty and punishment situation in which “dishonesty once leads to restriction everywhere”. The courts published a total of 6.89 million pieces of information on dishonest persons subject to punishment and adopted disciplinary measures for 8.57 million men times. The courts sentenced 16,000 persons to judicial detention, and investigated the criminal responsibilities of 2,167 persons for refusing to execute judgements.
——Registration for letters and visits and supervision over trials. The courts at all levels tried and closed 179,702 cases for appeals and applications for retrials, and brought 33,890 retrial cases according to law in 2016. They strengthened supervision over trials, and changed verdicts for 11,055 cases from among the retried cases closed in 2016 for errors in original judgements or for other reasons, accounting for 0.09% of the effective judgements. The courts at all levels accelerated the construction of litigation service centres, and made full use of the litigation service networks, APP, and the 12368 hotline to provide omnidirectional and three-dimensional litigation service to the parties. The Supreme People’s Court explored to establish electronic courts and online tribunals and other intelligent service platforms, streamlined the filing procedures. It introduced online filing and circuit filing, and the on-line filing percentage of the courts throughout the country exceeded 95%. They strengthened the work of online appeals and video receptions.
——Performing the functions of approving arrests and prosecution. The procuratorial organs throughout the country approved the arrest of 828,618 criminal suspects of all categories and prosecuted 1,402,463 persons. They firmly safeguarded state security and deepened the struggle against secession, infiltration, subversion and cult. They severely punished serious criminal offences and cracked down on the crimes of organizing and leading terrorist organizations and spread audio-video of violence and terror, prosecuted 65,076 persons for the serious crimes of intentional homicide, rape, and arson, prosecuted 1,106 persons for the crime of organizing Mafia-type groups, and prosecuted 399,708 persons for the crimes of robbery, seizure and theft. They severely punished television and cyber fraud crimes, and cooperated with the Ministry of Public Security in supervising the handling of 62 major cases, including the Xu Yuyu case and approved the arrest of 19,345 criminal suspects for telecommunication and cyber frauds. They earnestly safeguarded security in school camps and joined with the Ministry of Education in issuing the Guiding Opinions on Preventing Primary and Secondary Children from being bullied and attacked by violence, and prosecuted 4,604 persons for using serious violence in schools and prosecuted 678 persons for instigating and inducing school children to commit crimes. They punished the crimes committed in hospitals, and launched special actions with the Ministry of Public Security and the State Public Health and Family Planning Commission to prosecute 3,308 persons for injuring doctors and other hospital staff and stirring up troubles in hospitals, and exercised supervision on handling 30 major cases related to hospital. They severely punished the crime of endangering the safety of foods and drugs, and suggested the transfer of 1,591 suspected criminal cases from the food and drug administrations, and prosecuted 11,958 persons for endangering the safety of foods and drugs. They protected the legitimate rights and interests of minors, women, aged persons and disabled people, and prosecuted 16,078 persons for sexually assaulting and kidnapping minors, and prosecuted 2,663 for infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of persons in rural areas and 24,061 persons for infringing the personal rights and interests of women, and 34,709 persons for infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of the elderly, and prosecuted 4,750 persons for infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of the disabled. They deepened the comprehensive control and improvement of the social order on the part of the procuratorial work, and prosecuted 210,325 persons for pornography, gambling and drug-related crimes, 1,405 persons for the crimes of maltreatment, abandonment and bigamy and 5,134 persons for the crimes of family violence. They resolutely combated ill-intentional back pay and prosecuted 2,135 persons for refusing to pay labor remunerations.
——Guaranteeing the steady and healthy development of the economy. They positively served the implementation of the major state strategy and strengthened judicial cooperation with countries and regions along One Belt and One Road and gave prominence to the punishment and prevention of crimes that occurred in the fields of infrastructure facilities and the construction of economic and trade cooperative industrial zones. The procuratorial organs made efforts to prevent financial risks, prominently punished the economic crimes of raising funds from residents illegally and Internet financial crimes, and prosecuted 16, 406 persons for fund raising frauds. They strengthened the judicial protection of property rights and persisted in provide equal protection and formulated the Eighteen Opinions to guarantee and promote the development of the nonpublic economy and the Twenty-two Opinions to strengthen the judicial protection of property rights, and prosecuted 13,629 persons for infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of the nonpublic businesses and persons operating nonpublic economy. They filed cases for the investigation of 1,009 criminal cases of infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of nonpublic businesses. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate formulated the Fifteen Opinions to guarantee scientific and technological innovations and prosecuted 21,505 persons to punish the crimes of infringing on intellectual property rights. They punished the crime of endangering work safety and prosecuted 2,635 persons for major responsibility accidents and investigated the responsibility of 814 officials for the crime of malfeasance that caused the accidents.
——Investigating and preventing duty crimes. The procuratorial organs filed cases for the investigation of the duty crimes of 47,650 persons, including 2,882 former officials at the county level, and 446 officials at the departmental or bureau level. They investigated and handled 17,410 “fly grafters” in the fields of the livelihood of the people, including land requisition for demolition and resettlements, social security and funds for agriculture, the rural areas and peasants. They investigated and handled 10,472 persons for the crime of accepting bribes and 7,375 persons for giving bribes. They investigated and handled 11,916 persons for the crimes of malfeasance and tort through dereliction of duty and abuse of power. They investigated and handled the duty crimes related to cheating in the elections in Liaoning Province. They made intensive investigations of the crime of corruption behind judicial injustice and handled 8,703 administrative law enforcers and 2,183 judicial officials suspected of committing duty crimes. They cracked down on the duty crimes in the field of poverty alleviation and investigated 1,892 persons for duty crimes. They strengthened the work of preventing duty crimes at sources. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate cooperated with the China Postal Group Corporation to popularize the experience of Jiangsu Province “the Postal Road for Preventing Duty Crimes”. The procuratorial organs throughout the country put forward 11,172 procuratorial suggestions in the light of the outstanding problems found in handling cases. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate relied on the people to investigate and handle duty crimes, aroused and encouraged the initiative of individuals and units to make real-name reports, and joined with the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Finance in issuing Some Provisions on Protecting and Encouraging People to Report Duty Crimes.
——Strengthening supervision over judicial activities. They strengthened legal supervision over litigious activities and urged investigative organs to file 14,650 cases, arrested and prosecuted 43,960 persons additionally, and supervised the correction of 34,230 law violations in obtaining evidences, applying compulsory measures and extorting confessions by torture. They protested against 3,282 effective civil and administrative judgements and mediation papers with real mistakes and put forward 2,851 suggestions for retrials, and made 13,254 procuratorial suggestions against law violations in civil and administrative trial procedures and 20,505 procuratorial suggestions for civil executions. They upheld the principles of prescribed punishment for specified crimes and innocence in doubtful cases, and made efforts to improve the long-term mechanisms for reporting the discovery of framed-up and wrong cases, examination guidance, supervision over corrections and accountability for compensations. They made concentrated efforts to clean up real sentences that were not executed, found 11,379 such sentenced persons, supervised the correction for 6,381 of them and 5,062 persons were put into prison again. They verified all cases related to the property penalty sentenced by people’s courts since 2013, and supervised the execution of the sentences that were not yet executed or that were not yet finished, put forward 3,172 written correction opinions and 11,897 procuratorial suggestions. They continued to supervise the correction of the cases that had been held without decisions for a long time, and finished the correction of all cases involving 4,459 persons held without conclusion for three or more years found in 2013. They strengthened the examination of the necessity of detention and put forward suggestions for release or change of compulsory measures for 42,159 persons. They continued to supervise the correction of illegal commutation, parole and temporary service outside prison, and supervised the correction of improper requests for 23,831 persons and the correction of improper rulings or decisions for 3,703 persons. They urged the correction of escapes from control for 8,477 persons. They strengthened supervision over false civil lawsuits, put forward opinions on supervision for 2,017 “false lawsuits” in private lending and enterprise bankruptcy, and filed cases for the investigation of 146 cases of duty crimes involved in the false lawsuits.
(3) Judicial Interpretations and Guiding Cases
The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued three judicial interpretations in 2016. The Supreme People’s Court issued 26 judicial interpretations separately, including seven criminal judicial interpretations, eleven civil judicial interpretations, one administrative judicial interpretation and ten other judicial interpretations, and issued 21 guiding cases. The judicial interpretations and guiding cases played a positive role in the correct implementation of the laws.
——Giving guidance to handling major and complicated issues in the work of criminal justice. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Drug Criminal Cases in April to punish drug crimes according to law. It and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Corruption and Bribery in April to punish the crime of corruption and bribery. The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Illegal Mining and Destructive Mining in November to punish illegal mining and destructive mining. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Specific Application of the Law to Hearing Criminal Cases of Practicing Medicine Illegally in December to punish practicing medicine illegally and guarantee the health and life of citizens. It issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Concrete Application of the Law to Hearing Criminal Cases of Kidnapping and Selling Women and Children to punish the crime of kidnapping and selling women and children and guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of women and children. It and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Environmental Pollution to punish the crime of environmental pollution.
——Giving guidance to handling the new circumstances and new issues properly in the fields of economic and social development and the livelihood of the people. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Property Law of the People’s Republic of China (1) in February to guarantee the property rights and the security and efficiency of the market transactions. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Cases of Consumer Civil Public Interest Litigation in April. It contains provisions on the application of the law to hearing cases of consumer civil public interest litigation and the protection of legitimate rights and interests of consumers to the maxim. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Written Reply on the Issue of the Relevant Procedure for the Cases of Personal Safety Protection Order in July to provide protection to the victims of family violence. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Provisions concerning Some Issues on Hearing Cases of Disputes over Independent Letter of Guarantee in November to guide the courts at all levels to correctly hear cases of disputes over independent letter of guarantee and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the parties.
——Giving guidance to the new circumstances and new issues in the fields of administrative litigation and state compensation. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Cases of Judicial Compensations in Civil and Administrative Law Suits in September to uniform the discretionary standards for compensation cases of noncriminal judicature.
(4) Public Security
——Safeguarding social order and stability. The Ministry of Public Security carried out an intensive special action to combat violence and terror, and deepened the struggle against Mafia-type organizations, kidnapping, holding illegal arms, robbery, seizure and frauds, pornography, gambling, narcotics, inferior-quality foods and drugs and environmental pollution, infringements on the personal information of citizens, telecommunication and cyber crimes and financial and securities frauds, accelerated the improvement of the prevention and control system for social security to maintain social order and stability. The Ministry promoted the work of “Internet+ public security administrative service”, and used big data technology and modern technological means to promote intelligent social governance and raise the efficiency of preventing and combating law violations and crimes. It strengthened fire prevention, road traffic control and the security of places under surveillance. No extremely big fire accident occurred in 2016, and there was no big accident that killed more than 10 persons. The number of fire accidents, road traffic accidents and liability accidents at places under surveillance hit the new low in recent years. The percentage of people with the sense of security always surpassed 90%.
——Pushing forward the reform of the public security work. It promoted the reform of the household registration system and comprehensively implemented the residence card system to encourage rural migrants with the ability to live and work in cities to settle with families in cities. The ministry joined with the relevant departments in issuing the Opinions on Improving and Standardizing the Work of Police Offices in Issuing Certificates to effectively solve the problem of “weird certification”. It further standardized the use and management of identity cards to promote the real-name system and the construction of the social honesty system and improve the standard of the management and service of the window units. New achievements were made in streamlining administration, delegating more powers, improving regulation, and providing better services after adopting 28 measures to help people start businesses and making innovations and promoting the reforms of the system of training motor vehicle drivers through examination, the vehicle inspection system, the permanent residence system for aliens and submitting applications for certificates in alien places. The Ministry deepened the reform of the mechanism for the exercise of law enforcement power, implemented the opinions on the reform of the systems for accepting and filing cases, the systems for the assessment of the quality of law enforcement and accountability for errors in law enforcement, introduced experiments on the reform of the mechanism for centralized examination and verification and centralized transfer of criminal cases by legislative affairs departments. They further standardized the work procedure for the acceptance by public security organs of cases of suspected criminals transferred by administrative law enforcement organs. They deepened the reform of the enrolment and training of people’s police and the education in police schools and colleges and standardized the management of auxiliary personnel for police affairs.
——Deepening the standardization of law enforcement. The Ministry of Public Security implemented the Opinions of the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council on Deepening the Normalization of Law Enforcement by Public Security Organs, and adopted a number of systems for audio and video recordings of on-site law enforcement by public security organs and discretionary datum for public security administrative punishment, revised detailed rules for law enforcement by public security organs, and further detailed and clarified the standards for law enforcement and standardized behaviors of law enforcement. It promoted the standard transformation of places and premises for handling cases, explored the establishment of the mechanism for handling cases at one stop with cooperation among different police forces. The public security organs throughout the country basically completed the transformation of their standardized case handling zones and established more than 3,500 case handling centres. The public security organs at all levels strictly met the requirements for taking criminal suspects directly to the case-handling zones, giving them personal security checks, keeping watch on them and put them under video surveillance and recording to guarantee security for law enforcement and improve quality and efficiency. The ministry organized a new round of selection of model law enforcement units and named ten city and prefectural public security organs, 100 county public security organs and 200 grassroots police offices as national law enforcement model units. Public security organs at all levels continued to organize concentrated training, actual combat exercises and case assessments. The ministry organized two national video demonstrations on standard law enforcement for public security organs throughout the country, and trained civil police more than one million men times in 2016. It deepened the classified examinations for law enforcement qualifications. By the end of 2016, 2.087 million civil police acquired basic level law enforcement qualifications, 1.115 million civil police acquired middle class law enforcement qualifications and 40,500 civil police acquired high level law enforcement qualifications. In the light of the outstanding problems to which residents expressed strong complaints, the ministry united with the relevant departments in making special investigations on guaranteeing the right of lawyers to practice according to law and the application of arrest and online inspections of law enforcements.
(5) Judicial Administration
——Prison work. By the end of 2016, there were 680 prisons in China, and they detained 1.56 million prisoners. They strengthened the internal management and implemented the security and stability work system. They reported no major cases, no major work safety accidents and no major epidemics. They strengthened the work of education and remolding for prisoners, and the rate of acceptance for entry examination was 99.51%, and the psychological health and education popularization rate was 99.08%, and the composite assessment rate for the release of prisoners was 98.4%. They strictly standardized the execution work for commutation, parole and temporary sentence service outside prison. The Ministry issued the Provisions on the Procedure for Handling Temporary Sentence Service outside Prison and other systems, and further enforced the prison sentence execution system more rigorously.
——Drug rehabilitation work of judicial administrative organs. By the end of 2016, the drug rehabilitation houses of judicial administrative organs throughout the country accepted more than 250,000 drug addicts. They earnestly strengthened the work of medical service for drug rehabilitation, education and correction, and physical, mental and labor rehabilitation training for drug addicts. At present, there are 343 medical institutions. All drug addicts received legal and moral education and anti-drug education, 87.2% of them received professional and technical training and 95.5% of them accepted psychological consultation. The houses strengthened security and sanitation work, and they reported no drugs, no work and epidemic accidents.
——Community correction, and the work of resettlement, helping and education. The country accepted a total of 486,000 community correction targets in communities and released 498,000 community correction targets in 2016. By the end of the year, the country established a total of 9,353 community correction education bases, 25,204 community service bases, 8,216 employment bases. The bureaus of justice of 98% of the prefectures and counties have set up community correction work agencies. The country had more than 83,000 social workers and more than 690,000 social volunteers engaged in community correction, and established 1,560 county (district) community correction centres. The settlement, helping and education institutions at all levels accepted 582,000 released persons, installed more than 546,000 persons, and helped and educated more than 570,000 persons. By the end of 2016, the country established 273 transitional settlement bases, mainly with government funds, and 10,326 bases set up by relying on the enterprises.
——The work of legal service and legal assistance. By the end of 2016, China had more than 328,000 practicing lawyers, and 26,000 law firms. The lawyers throughout the country handled a total of 3,540,000 lawsuits of all categories, and more than 840,000 non-contentious legal affairs. Seven hundred and ten notaries were newly appointed in 2016 and 124 notaries were dismissed. By the end of the year, there were a total of 13,000 notaries in China. The Chinese notary organizations handled a total of 13,990,000 notary documents. The country handled more than 1,300,000 cases of legal assistance, and provided legal consulting service 8,020,000 men times in 2015.
——People’s mediation. By the end of 2016, China had 784,000 people’s mediation organizations and 3,852,000 people’s mediators. They made investigations of contradictions and disputes more than 3,014,000 times, and mediated 9,019,000 disputes of all kinds, the success rate of mediation was 97.5%. Among them, China had set up 45,000 industrial and specialized people’s mediation organizations with 87,000 people’s mediators, and resolved 1.402 million industrial and specialized disputes.
——National judicial examination and judicial evaluation. More than 438,000 people took part in the national judicial examination in 2016, and more than 6,000 forensic clinical evaluators took part in the training examination. Judicial evaluation managerial personnel and judicial evaluators from China’s 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities completed their training in different forms. The Evaluation Group of Judicial Appraisal for National Certification joined with the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China and the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment trained 50 new evaluators for accreditation and assessment. It carried out activities of verification of the ability of judicial appraisal institutions, and 2,051 appraisal institutions from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities took part in the verification of ability for 6,060 items, and 87% of them passed the verification. By the end of 2016, 1,772 judicial appraisal institutions and 22,601 appraisers were examined and registered by judicial administrative organs. They finished a total of 505,200 appraisal businesses..
IV. Reform of the Judicial System
China promoted the reform of the judicial system, further improved the main framework of the reform, improved judicial credibility and increased the sense of gain of the people to promote the implementation of the major decisions made by the central leadership.
(1) Establish the Main Framework for the Reform
The main framework of the general reform was basically established. They are the reform of the mechanism for the exercise of the judicial power with the judicial responsibility system as the core, the reform of the judicial management system with the classified management of the judicial personnel as the symbol, the reform of the judiciary with adjudication as the centre and leniency for pleading guilty and judicial transparency as the crucial points and the reform of the system of filing cases for registration and the system of applying for resident identity cards in alien places.
——The supplementary policies for the reform of the judicial responsibility system are adopted. One, in implementing the judicial responsibility system, it issued the Plan for Experiments on the Reform of the Internal Organizational Structure of People’s Courts at and under the Provincial Level, and the Opinions on the Establishment of a Disciplinary System for Judges and Procurators. Two, in improving the job security system, it issued the Plan for Experiments on the Reform of the Ranking Order for Judge Assistants, Procurator Assistants and Clerks, the Provisions on Protection for Judicial Personnel in Performing Legal Duties according to Law and the Measures for the Implementation of the Plan for Experiments on the Reform of the Wage System for Judges and Procurators. Three, in improving the system of classified personnel management, it issued the Opinions on the Establishment of the System for the Selection of Judges and Procurators Level by Level and the Opinions on the Open Selection of Legislative Workers, Judges and Procurators from among Lawyers and Law Specialists to broaden the channels for the selection of judicial personnel and standardize the selection mechanism.
——The main framework for the reform of the Judiciary was basically established. One, it issued the Opinions on Promoting the Reform of the Criminal Procedure System with adjudication as the centre, to collect, fix, preserve, examine and use evidences strictly according to law and give play to the substantive role of court sessions in finding out facts, ascertaining evidences, guaranteeing the right of action and applying the law to use systems to prevent the occurrence of framed-up and wrong cases. Two, as authorized by the NPC Standing Committee, it made experiments on the reform of the system of applying leniency for pleading guilty in criminal cases to apply leniency in substance to criminal suspects and defendants who plead guilty voluntarily to simplify the procedure, improve judicial efficiency and reduce social resistance. Three, it improves the mechanism for the exercise of power, supervision and restriction, issued the Opinions on Deepening the Standardization of Law Enforcement by Public Security Organs, the Opinions on the Establishment of the Mechanism for Connection between the Management and Use of Judicial Appraisal and the Plan for the Establishment of a Trans-departmental Platform for Information on the Concentrated Management of Property Involved in Local Cases to standardize law enforcement behaviors of public security organs and standardize the entrustment and acceptance of judicial appraisal, make arrangements for appraisers to appear in court as witnesses, and strengthen management of the property involved in cases. Four, Deepen the reform of the lawyer system. It issued the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Lawyer System, the Measures for the Management of the Practicing of Lawyers, the Measures for the Management of Law Firms and the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Building of Lawyers’ Associations. While guaranteeing the right of lawyers to practice, it drew the “red line” for the behaviors of lawyers and strengthened the self-discipline of the lawyers’ trade. Five, it deepened judicial transparence, formulated the provisions on publishing judgements on the Internet and the operating process for online live broadcasts of court sessions, and established the system of audio-video recording of interrogations and recording of whole processes of law enforcements. It promoted the reform of the people’s supervisor system, and broadened the channel for the orderly participation of ordinary people in the administration of justice. Six, it promoted the separation of simple cases from complex cases and the use of mediation with litigation in the resolution of disputes, issued the Some Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Further Promoting the Separation of Simple Cases from Complex Cases to Optimize the Allocation of Judicial Resources to deepen the separation of the simple from the complex in the procedures, judgements and general affairs to improve the efficiency of litigation.
——Improve the reform measures to make it easier for people to file law suits. The Supreme People’s Court established four more circuit courts in Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Chongqing and Xian in 2016 to complete the general geographic distribution of circuit courts and make it easier for people to file law suits. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Opinions on Further Deepening the Reform of the Diversified Dispute Resolution Mechanism in People’s Courts, and the Provisions on Specially Invited Mediation of People’s Courts, and the judicial administrative organ issued the Opinions on the Development of Foreign-related Legal Service Industry, the Measures for Promoting the Work of Providing Legal Assistance to Servicemen and Their Families, the Opinions on the Participation of Social Groups in the Work of Helping and Educating Persons Released after Serving Sentences, the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Work of Community Correction and the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Work of Industrial and Specialized People’s Mediation to provide more efficient and easer dispute resolutions.
(2) Reforms Take Roots Gradually
——Grasp the crucial matters to solidify the foundation for the reform. The Ministry of Justice started experiments on the reform of the judicial responsibility system at the beginning of 2016. It held a national meeting to promote the reform of the judicial system, further improved the system for the specified number of personnel, ascertainment of judicial responsibility, job security for judicial personnel and the centralized management of the personnel, funds and property of the local courts and procuratorates at and below the provincial level. By the end of 2016, all courts and procuratorates started experiments on the reform of the judicial responsibility system.
——Uphold the scientific orientation to ensure the quality of the reforms. One, it promoted the reform of the system for the specified number of personnel to raise the standards of specialization and professionalism. It guided local departments of justice to give prominence to the achievements and ability in handling cases and started the scientific and fair selection of personnel and established the system of removal of disqualified personnel. Two, it ascertained the judicial responsibility system for the purpose of improving the quality and efficiency of handling cases, established power lists, organized case handling teams in a scientific way and used systems and mechanisms, modern technology and case guidance to promote the change of the management and supervision from examination and approval for individual cases and signing of documents to supervision on the quality and efficiency of the whole staff and whole process in handling cases to ensure the implementation of the judicial responsibility system under which the judges hand down verdicts and the collegiate bench is responsible for carrying them out.
——Lay stress on overall planning to strengthen system integration. One, in the course of promoting the reform of the judicial responsibility system, it promoted the reform of the internal organizational structure to solve the problems of “more officers than men” and the overlapping of functions of courts and procuratorates at the basic level and integrate the resources of the judicial forces to encourage the top-notch professionals at the middle level to return to the frontline to handle cases after they were included in the specified number of personnel. Two, it promoted the reform of the criminal procedure system with adjudication as the centre and the reform of the procedure system with leniency for pleading guilty, promoted the separation of simple cases from complex cases, improved the multi-layer procedure system of small claim procedure, quick judgement procedure, summary procedure and general procedure in an effort to achieve the diversity and exquisiteness of the procedure and make the best possible use of the integral efficacy of the reform. Three, while promoting the reform of the criminal procedure system with adjudication as the centre, it explored to make experiments on the reform of the policy of giving leniency for pleading guilty to achieve the unity of fairness and efficiency and the unity of combating crimes and protecting human rights on a still higher level.
——Strengthen supervision and inspection to promote reforms to taker roots. One, it made special supervision. The Central Reform Office exercised supervision over the reform of the judicial system in Hubei and Anhui in 2016. The Central Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, together with the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, exercised two rounds of supervision in Jilin, Chongqing, Hebei, Shandong and six other provinces and autonomous regions. Moreover, the Supreme People’s Court exercised supervision over the reform of the judicial responsibility system and supplementary reforms in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Henan and Shanxi. In the light of the problems found in the supervision, the Supreme People’s Court held a national conference in Kunming to promote the supervision over the reform of the judicial responsibility system of the courts throughout the country, heard reports on the relevant problems, and required all courts to find and correct their own problems. The relevant central departments sent people to make inspection of the reforms of the judicial responsibility system, the system of petition-related letters and visits and the measures to prevent leading cadres from intervention in judicial activities, exercised supervision, discovered problems, summed up experience and improved the policies. Two, it made the third party evaluation. The China Law Society and the China University of Political Science and Law made the third party evaluation of the reform of the judicial system and an objective evaluation of the progress and achievements to look for problems and put forward counter proposals.
(3) Achievements in the Reforms Were Gradually Revealed
——The standards of specialization and professionalism of the judicial personnel were notably raised. After the classified management of the personnel was adopted, the problem of the nonconformity of the mode of personnel management in the courts and procuratorates with the characteristics of the judicial profession and the problem of many chief judges and procurators being assigned administrative posts instead of doing their professional jobs were fundamentally solved, the personnel structure of the courts and procuratorates and the allocation of the judicial human resources were further optimized. As a result, about 20% more personnel were assigned to their original professional jobs and more than 85% of the judicial human resources were allocated to handle cases.
——The judicial management system and the mechanism for the exercise of judicial power that conformed to the judicial rules were further improved, and the quality and efficiency of handling cases were notably improved. The subject position of judges and procurators in handling cases was further established. Judges and collegiate benches directly handled more than 98% of the cases and procurators examined and decided more than 90% of the prosecuted cases. The courts throughout the country tried and closed 19.795 million cases in 2016, 18.33% more than in the previous year, and 87.2% of the judgements of first instance were obeyed without appeals.
V. Legal Guarantee for Human Rights
China continued to give more legal guarantee for human rights, the living standards and quality of the people’s life were further improved, their economic, social and cultural rights were effectively strengthened and their citizen rights and political rights were firmly guaranteed. The socialist cause of human rights with Chinese characteristics rose to a new height.
(1) The right to life and health was safeguarded
——Formulating the Programme for Healthy China 2030. The programme makes it clear that the good health of the whole people is the fundamental aim of building healthy China. It must focus the work on the whole population and the life cycle, provide fair, systematic and continuous service for health, do a good job of the health work for women, children, elderly, disabled persons and low income earners, strengthen effective intervention in the main health problems in the different periods of the life and the main affecting effects to benefit the whole population over the whole life cycle to achieve the good health of the whole people at a still higher standard. The programme centers on the factors affecting health (including biological factors of heredity and psychology, natural and social factors, medical and health service factors and the factors of life and behaviors), and outlines the five strategic tasks of popularizing the healthy life, optimizing the health service, improving the health security, constructing a health environment and developing the health industry, and the goals of “three steps for Healthy China: the main health standard for 2020 is targeted at that in the frontline of middle and high income countries”, “the main health target for 2030 is aimed at that in high income countries”, and “by 2050, Healthy China will be built to comply with the standard of a modern socialist country”.
——Deepening the reform of the medical and public health system. The State Council issued the Opinions on Integrating the Basic Medical Insurance System for Urban and Rural Residents in January. It made clear that the basic medical insurance system for urban residents and the new type rural cooperative medical system would be integrated to establish a unified basic medical insurance system for urban and rural residents. The State Public Health and Family Planning Commission, the State Council Office of Poverty Alleviation and thirteen other central departments jointly issued the Guiding Opinions on Implementing the Health and Poverty Alleviation Project in June to strengthen the work of health and poverty alleviation. It says that every person in the poor areas will enjoy the basic medical and health service by 2020. The General Office of the State Council issued the Guiding Opinions on Promoting and Standardizing the Application and Development of the Big Data for Public Health and Medical Service in June, and made arrangements for 14 major tasks and major projects to solidify the application foundation, comprehensively deepen application, standardize and promote the “Internet+ Medical Service for Health”. The State Development and Reform Commission, the State Public Health and Family Planning Commission, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued the Circular on the Distribution of the Opinions on Promoting the Reform of the Prices of Medical Services in July to promote the classified management of the prices of medical services, making clear that public medical institutions shall mark the mandatory prices for the basic medical services they provide. The Leading Group of the State Council for Deepening the Reform of the Medical Service and Health System issued the Some Opinions on Further Popularizing the Experience in Deepening the Reform of the Medical Service and Health System in November, putting forward the measures to promote the development of the medical reform in eight aspects of establishing the joint work mechanism for medical service, medical insurance and medicine, improving the new mechanism for the operation of public hospitals, strengthening the external restraint on the medical service, establishing the modern hospital management system, accelerating the establishment of the classified consultation system and making full use of Internet technologies.
——Strengthening supervision over food safety. The State Food and Drug Administration published the spot check of the food safety under supervision in 2015 in February. Among the 172,310 food samples checked throughout the country, there were 5,541 samples not up to the standard. The standard rate was 96.8%. As a whole, the food safety situation was stable while tending to be better. The General Office of the State Council issued the Major Arrangements for the Food Safety Work for 2016 in May. It improved the mandatory standards, required strict prevention of inferior-quality materials from sources, strict supervision and control over the production process and severe punishment for law violations to accelerate the improvement of the unified and authoritative supervision and control system.
(2) Household Registration and the Reform of Household Registration System
——The General Office of the State Council issued the Opinions concerning the Issue of Solving the Problem of Household Registration for Persons without Registered Residence in January. It required local governments to further improve the household registration policy, prohibited the establishment of any preconditions that did not conform to the provisions on household registration, strengthen the management on household registration and earnestly guarantee that every citizen has one permanent residence and make efforts to reach the targets of the accuracy, uniqueness and authority of the identity number of the households and citizens of the whole country. The Opinions prescribed the measures for the household registration of persons without registered residence who do not conform to the family planning policy, persons without registered residence who do not have medical birth certificates, adopted persons without registered residence who have not gone through the formalities for adoption and other persons without registered residence.
——By September, 2016, the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities throughout the country had all issued plans for the reform of the household registration system in accordance with the Opinions of the State Council on Further Promoting the Reform of the Household Registration System, and all cancelled rural household residence. The dual urban and rural household residence system became part of the history. The General Office of the State Council issued the Plan for the Settlement of 100 Million Residents without Registered Residence in the Cities, and planned to accelerate the removal of the barrier for the transfer of the household registration in the areas adjoining cities and the countryside during the Thirteen Five-Year Plan period and further improve the supplementary policies, raising the urbanization rate of the registered residence by an average annual rate of more than one percentage point, an average transfer of more than 13 million persons a year, and raising the national urbanization rate of the registered residence to 45% by 2020, and the difference between the urbanization rate of the registered residence and the urbanization rate of the permanent population in all regions will be reduced by more than two percentage points as compared with 2013.
(3) Establish and Improve the Social Security System
——The State Council issued the Opinions on Further Improving the System of Assisting and Providing for Extremely Poor Persons in February. It calls for the establishment of a national system, connected with policies and operated up to standard, of assisting and providing for extremely poor persons in compliance with the economic and social development level under an overall plan with due consideration for both urban and rural conditions, with the target of helping extremely poor persons in the cities and the countryside to help them overcome dire difficulties and meet their basic needs, by giving play to the role of social forces under the guidance of the government.
——The State Public Health and Family Planning Commission, the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and three other central departments jointly issued the Circular on Doing a Good Job of the Critical Illness Insurance work for Urban and Rural Residents in 2016, requiring the local governments to raise more funds for critical illness insurance, and use one quarter of the newly-added government subsidy of 40 yuan per person for the basic medical insurance in 2016 for critical illness insurance, and encouraging local governments to find specific measures to tilt properly to the extremely poor persons, and adopt the tilting payment policy for poor people in the urban and rural areas, including the poor people on files, extremely poor persons and families enjoying the minimum guarantees for allowances.
——The General Office of the State Council retransmitted the Guiding Opinions on Ensuring the Effective Connection between the Rural Minimum Guaranteed Allowance System and the Poverty Alleviation Policy in September. It pointed out that it is essential to execute the basic plan for the targeted measures to alleviate poverty in the light of local conditions. By connecting the rural minimum guaranteed allowance system with the poverty alleviation policy effectively, the local governments shall make concerted efforts to alleviate poverty and provide policy guarantee for rural poor population who conform to the minimum guaranteed allowance criteria and ensure that by 2020, poverty would be alleviated for the whole rural poor population according to the current criteria prescribed for poverty alleviation.
(4) Guarantee the Right to Education
The State Council issued Some Opinions on Making Overall Planning for Promoting the Reform and Development of the Urban and Rural Compulsory Education in County Cities in July. It required the local governments to accelerate the narrowing of the difference between urban and rural education, promote educational fairness and make overall planning for promoting the integrated reform and development of the urban and rural compulsory education in county cities in accordance with the target of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. The Opinions proposed the uniform criteria for the construction of schools for urban and rural compulsory education, uniform criteria for the specified number of teachers, uniform basic quotas for per student public expenses, uniform criteria for the allocation of basic equipment and the extension of the policy of gradually exempting extra fees and book expenses and providing boarding allowances to students from poor families to all county cities and villages of the country, and by the year of 2020, the barriers for the dual structure in the cities and the countryside would be eliminated in the main, compulsory education and the development of urbanization would be basically coordinated, geographical distribution of schools in cities and the countryside would be more rational, big classes were basically eliminated, notable progress be gained in the construction of standard schools, the allocation of teachers in cities and the countryside basically balanced, the treatment for rural teachers be steadily raised, the job attraction be increased, the quality of rural education obviously improved, the nine-year compulsory education be consolidated in 95% of the rural schools, the compulsory education in the county areas be developed harmoniously, and the balance of the basic public educational service be basically achieved.
(5) Guarantee for the Right of Children
——The State Council issued the Opinions on Strengthening the Work of Cherishing Love and Care for and Protecting Children Left Behind in Rural Areas in February. It pointed out that it is the important duty and responsibility of the governments at all levels and the common responsibility of families and the whole society to strengthen the work of cherishing love and care for and protecting children left behind in rural areas and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minors. It said that the point of departure and the goal of the work were to promote the healthy growth of minors. It would be necessary to improve the laws, regulations, systems and mechanisms, strengthen the subject responsibility of family guardianship, give more care and protection to children, gradually reduce the number of children left behind in rural areas and ensure the effective guarantee of their safety, good health, education and other rights and interests.
——The Ministry of Civil Affairs established a division for the protection of minors (left-behind children) in February. Its responsibility and duty were to establish and improve the work mechanism and service system for the protection of minors, make a comprehensive investigation to improve the management of information on left-behind children and catenate the superior resources of civil affairs of social assistance, social welfare, social groups, community construction and social work to establish the coordination mechanism of the leadership and the cooperation mechanism of the joint actions of different departments for the protection of minors to promote the orderly connection of family protection, school protection, social protection and judicial protection. The Ministry of Civil Affairs and 26 other central departments established an inter-departmental joint meeting system for the work of care and protection of left-behind children in the rural areas to coordinate the work of giving care and protection for children left behind in rural areas throughout the country.
——The State Council issued the Opinions on Strengthening the Work of Safeguarding Children in Difficulty in June. It strengthened the classified guarantee for children in difficulty and established and improved the work system of safeguarding children in difficulty in the light of the outstanding difficulties confronted by children in difficulty and the outstanding problems in the work of safeguarding children.
(6) Safeguarding the Right of Disabled People
——The State Council issued the Programme for Accelerating the Course of Promoting Moderately Prosperity for Disabled People under the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan in July. It required the local governments to formulate the local Thirteenth Five-Year Plans for the cause of disabled persons or accelerate the course of making disabled persons moderately well-off, and include the main tasks and indices in the local general plans for economic and social development. The work committees for disabled persons and other related departments of the local governments at all levels should supervise, monitor, inspect and follow up the implementation of the plans.
——The General Office of the State Council issued the Action Plan for the Prevention of Disability (2016-2020) in September. It says that it is necessary to effectively control disability caused by birth defects and developmental disorder, to prevent and control disability due to illness and effectively reduce disability from injuries to effectively reduce and control the occurrence and development of disability of the Chinese population in all periods of the growth from birth to aging in the next five years. It is necessary to strengthen supervision over work safety, road traffic safety control, supervision over the food and drug safety, environmental protection and pollution control, and strengthen the ability to prevent and reduce disasters so as to reduce disability from injuries. This is the first national class plan in the field of preventing of disability.
(7) Guarantee for Human rights in the Judicial Procedure
——Guarantee the right of the parties in law suits. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued the Provisions on Cases Handled by People’s Procuratorates for the Examination of the Necessity of Detention (for trial implementation) in January. It says that an arrested criminal suspect or defendant may apply to a procuratorate for the examination of the necessity of detention. If the procuratorate believes that detention is unnecessary after examination, it shall suggest that the case handling organ release the detained suspect or defendant or changes the compulsory measure. The Supreme People’s Court issued the revised Court Rules of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China in April. It made clear that the defendant or appellant in custody shall not wear the identification clothes of the supervision organ during the court session nor use fetters for the defendant or appellant under normal circumstances. 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 Opinions on Promoting the Reform of the Criminal Procedure System with Adjudication as the Centre. It explicitly stated that judicial organs shall improve the interrogation system, prevent extortion of a confession by torture, and not force anyone to establish one’s guilt. It strictly requires the interrogation of a criminal suspect in a standard place for interrogation, the synchronous audio-video recordings throughout the entire process of interrogation strictly in accordance with the laws, and gradually making synchronous audio-video recordings throughout the process of interrogation in all cases.
——Improve the systems for judicial compensation and assistance. The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Cases of Criminal Compensation. It defines the connotation of criminal compensation, clarifies the circumstances for the termination of the investigation of criminal responsibility, the circumstances for infringement on property right, acceptance of an overdue application for compensation under special circumstances, illegal criminal detention and the scope of retrial for innocence compensation, clarifies the application of the exception clause, clarifies the subject of legal relationship for compensation, reasonable determination of standards for compensation, standardizes the time basis for the calculation of compensation, and clarifies the validity of the compensation decision. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Civil and Administrative Cases of Judicial Compensations in September. It included moral damage in the noncriminal judicial compensation sphere for the first time and improved the scope of application of moral damage for state compensation. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued the Detailed Rules for the Work of State Judicial Assistance (for trial implementation) in July. It clarifies that the state judicial assistance work is a supplementary relief measure taken by procuratorates for parties who could not receive valid compensation through procedures in the course of handling cases for criminal offences or civil infringements. It prescribes the seven types of specific circumstances under which the procuratorates should give assistance.
——Standardize police power. The Ministry of Public Security issued the revised Provisions on the Accountability for Errors in the Law Enforcements by People’s Police of Public Security Organs. It says that a wrong case caused intentionally or by major negligence shall be investigated for the liability of the person responsible for the error in law enforcement, regardless of his/her organization, post, reassignment or retirement.
VI Protection of Intellectual Property
(1) Legislation for Intellectual Property Rights
Promoting the work of revising the Patent Law. The revised draft of the Patent Law was published to solicit opinions from the public. The State Intellectual Property Office improved the patent office regulations, prepared the revised draft of the Guide to Patent Examination, and published it to solicit opinions from the public. It promoted the revision of the Measures for the Administration of Patent Priority Examination and Some Provisions on Regulating Patent Application Activities, and formulated the Measures for Reducing Royalties.
It promoted the work of revising the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People’s Republic of China, and published the revised draft of the law to solicit opinions from the public.
It promoted the third revision of the Copyright Law. It completed the drafting work for the revised Draft of the Copyright Law, formulated the Guide to the Management of the Authorized Software and the Interim Rules for the Registration of Copyrights for Military Computer Software.
(2) Registration for Examination and Approval for Intellectual Property Rights
——Patent. China accepted 3,465,000 patent applications in 2016, 23.8% more than in the previous year. Among them, there were 1,339,000 applications for invention patents, 1,476,000 applications for utility models, and 650,000 applications for appearance designs. In accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the State Intellectual Property Office accepted a total of 44,992 international applications in 2016, 47.3% more than in the previous year. It concluded the examination of 2,310,000 applications for patents, 11% more than in the previous year. Among them, there were 675,000 invention patents.
The State Intellectual Property Office authorized a total of 404,000 invention patents, 12.5% more than in the previous year. It authorized 903,000 utility model patents, 3.1% more than in the previous year, and 446,000 appearance design patents, 7.6% less than in the previous year.
——Trade marks. The Intellectual Property Office accepted 3,691,000 applications for the registration of trademarks throughout the country in 2016, 28.4% more than in the previous year. It completed the examination of the applications for the registration of 3,111,000 trademarks, 33% more than in the previous year.
China verified and approved the registration of a total of 389 collective trademarks and certification trademarks for geographical indications in 2016. It has verified and approved a total of 3,373 collective trademarks and certification marks for geographical indications.
Domestic applicants applied for 3,015 Madrid International trademarks in 2016, 29.8% more than in the previous year, ranking fifth in the Madrid Union for the first time. Foreign applicants applied for the registration of 21,238 trademarks in China through the Madrid Union, and continued to rank first in the union.
——Copyright. China registered a total of 2,007,600 copyrights in 2016, 22.33% more than in the previous year. Among them, there were 1,599,600 written works, 18.65% more than in the previous year, and 410,000 computer software copyrights, 39.48% more than in the previous year.
(3) Administrative Law Enforcement for Intellectual Property
——The law enforcement organs in charge of intellectual property handled a total of 48,916 cases in 2016, 36.5% more than in the previous year. Among them, the number of patent dispute cases surpassed 20,000 cases to reach 20,859 cases. They handled 13,123 patent law enforcement cases in the electronic commerce sphere, 71.4% more than in the previous year, and 2,860 patent law enforcement cases in the exhibition sphere, 2.4% more than in the previous year.
——Continuing to exert high pressure on the work of combating infringements on trade mark franchises. The administrative departments of industry and commerce and market regulation departments filed a total of 5,710 cases of imitative products, and infringements on intellectual property rights in 2016, involving a value of 110 million yuan, and the fines and confiscation totaled 58,270,000 yuan. The national offices strengthened guidance to the local trademark administrative law enforcement work and continued to protect the Disney trademark franchise. They organized the 2016 special action to regulate the Internet market and inspected websites and online shops 1,918,000 times and ordered web sites to correct their illegal activities 19,500 times and handled 13,400 cases of cyber law violation.
——Combating all types of infringements and piracies. They investigated and handled 514 administrative cases in combating cyber literature tort and piracy, APP tort and piracy and the Web Advertising Union with administrative fines totaling 4,670,000 yuan, closed 290 webs, and transferred 33 criminal cases to judicial organs, involving 200 million yuan. The copyright law enforcement and regulation departments at all levels filed a total of 1,033 cases, transferred 71 criminal cases to judicial organs for criminal liabilities, destroyed 181 piracy dens and disclosed information on 705 cases.
——Further promoting the work of producing genuine software, strengthening supervision over and inspection of genuine software production and making experiments on the application of domestic software. The Intellectual Property Office organized ten supervision and inspection teams to check 1,316 computers of 32 central party and government organs, 60 provincial organs of ten provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and 20 state-owned enterprises and 20 state-owned financial institutions to ensure the use of genuine software in the organs of the central party committee and government.
(4) Judicial Protection for Intellectual Property
The courts at all levels tried and closed 146,664 intellectual property cases of first instance in 2016. Among them, there were 131,813 intellectual property civil cases of first instance, 6,250 administrative cases and 8,601 criminal cases. One, the Supreme People’s Court innovated the work mechanism to serve and safeguard the implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy, and made large efforts to promote the construction of the intellectual property courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and made preparations for the establishment of special organs for the trial of intellectual property cases in Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu. Two, it gave full play to the leading role of the judicial protection for intellectual property. It issued the Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Promoting the “Three-in-One” Trial of Civil, Administrative and Criminal Intellectual Property Cases in the Courts throughout the Country, and held the Work Symposium of the People’s Courts on the Trial of Intellectual Property Cases and the national conference on promoting the “three-in-one” trial of intellectual property cases in courts. Three, it established the good image of the judicial protection of intellectual property in China. It held the 2016 National Publicity Week on Intellectual Property, and issued the White Book on the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property in Chinese Courts in 2015, and published typical cases on intellectual property in Chinese courts in 2015. It issued the Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Cases of Disputes over Infringements on Patent Rights (2). It formulated the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on Hearing Administrative Cases on the Authorization and Confirmation of the Right to Trademarks, and the Programme for the Judicial Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in China (2016-2020).
VII. Promoting Progress in Ecological Environment Management
(1) Legislation for Ecological Civilization
——Issuing a batch of guiding documents. The Leading Group of the Central Committee of the Communist Party for Comprehensively Deepening the Reform adopted the Opinions on the Compensation Mechanism for Improving the Ecological Protection, the Guiding Opinions on the Establishment of the Green Financial System, the Measures for the Evaluation and Assessment of Targets for the Construction of Ecological Civilization, Some Opinions on Delimiting and Strictly Holding to the Red Line for Ecological Protection and the Measures for the Registration for the Uniform Confirmation of the Right to Natural Resources. The Ministry of Environmental Protection distributed the Guiding Opinions on Giving Positive Play to the Role of Environmental Protection to Promote the Supply-side Structural Reform in April. It required the provincial environmental protection departments to strengthen supervision over environments to promote the elimination of outdated producing capacity and slash excessive capacity. The State Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the Opinions on Fostering Market Subjects for Environmental Control and Ecological Protection in September. It accelerated the fostering of market subjects for environmental control and ecological protection to promote the supply-side structural reform for environmental protection.
——Formulating, revising and annulling a batch of laws, local regulations and rules. The Nineteenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress adopted the Law on the Exploration and Development of Deep Seabed Resources in February. It made the norms for Chinese citizens, legal persons and other organizations to carry out activities of exploration and development of the resources in deep seabed areas. The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the Measures for the Supervision and Management of the Safe Transportation of Radioactive Goods in March. The Twenty-first session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress adopted the Decision on Revising Six Laws including the Energy Conservation Law of the People’s Republic of China in July. The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the Decision on the Annulment of Part of the Rules and Normative Documents of the Environmental Protection Departments in July, and annulled ten departmental rules and 12l normative documents. The ministry issued the Measures for the Management of Records for Environmental Impact Registration Forms for Construction Projects in November.
Moreover, local governments also formulated and revised a batch of local regulations. For example, the Hupei Provincial Regulations on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution is China’s first local statue concerning the prevention and control of soil pollution. Shanghai revised the Municipal Regulations on Environmental Protection, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region revised the Environmental Protection Regulations of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Tianjin City issued the Tianjin Municipal Regulations on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, and Jilin Province issued the Jilin Provincial Regulations on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution.
——Concluding and participating international environmental treaties. The Twentieth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in April. The Twenty-first Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress ratified the newly added Hexabromocyclododecane Amendment to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in July. China formally became a party to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity in September. This signified the entry of the Chinese biological industry in the time of sharing benefits and the oversight on the genetic resources under the rule of law. A Chinese government delegation attended the Twenty-eighth Conference of the States Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and played a positive role in reaching agreement to the amendment on controlled greenhouse gas of HFCs.
——Issuing a batch of technical norms for environmental resources. The Ministry of Environmental Protection published a total of 59 state norms for environmental protection in 2016. By the end of 2016, there were 1,732 effective norms for environmental protection. Moreover, the ministry also revised the Catalogue of Preferential Policies for Income Taxes from Special Equipment Enterprises for Environmental Protection, united with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in compiling and publishing the fourth list of invasive alien species of the Chinese natural ecologic system, united with the State Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Public Security in publishing the National Roster of Hazardous Wastes (2016 edition), and distributed the General Programme for Technical Guide to the Assessment of Ecological and Environmental Damages, and made experiments on the reform in Jilin and six other provinces and municipalities.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Environmental Protection published the 2016 Roster of Biological Species in China. The 2016 Roster collected 86,575 known species, including 35,905 species in the animal kingdom, 41,940 species in the plant kingdom, 469 species in the bacteria kingdom, 2,239 in the pigment kingdom, 3,488 species in the fungi kingdom, 1,729 species in Protozoa and 805 viruses.
(2) Law Enforcement for Ecological Civilization
——Formulating a number of plans for environmental resources. The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the Regulations for the Management of the State Demonstration Zones for the Construction of Ecological Civilization and the Norms for the Construction of Demonstration Counties and Cities for State Ecological Civilization. It stressed that it is necessary to further standardize the work of establishing demonstration zones for the construction of national ecological civilization, and promote the scientific, standard and systematic work of planning, reporting, technical evaluation, assessment for acceptance, notice and supervision and management. The ministry adopted the plan for the implementation of the plan for the construction of ecological environmental monitoring network (2016-2020) in February. It made clear that it would complete the task of taking back the monitoring power of the 1,436 state-controlled environmental air quality monitoring stations. The State Council printed and distributed the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution in May, and put forward the general periodic targets for the prevention and control of soil pollution by 2020, 2030 and 2050. The State Development and Reform Commission and the State Tourism jointly distributed the National Plan for the Development of Ecological Tourism (2016-2025). The State Council distributed the Plan for the Protection of Ecological Environments under the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan in December. It put forward the target for the general improvement of the quality of ecological environment by 2020, and decided to reach the restricted and expected norms of completing three campaigns, seven main tasks and safeguard measures in five aspects for the prevention and control of air pollution, water pollution and soil pollution by 2020 to fulfill the target of the general improvement of the quality of ecological environment.
——Deepening the reform of environment-related systems. The General Office of the State Council distributed the Plan for the Implementation of the Licensing System for the Controlled Discharge of Pollutants in November. It made clear that by 2020, it will complete the work of verifying and issuing licenses for the discharge of pollutants for all fixed pollutant sources, and establish the licensing system for the control of pollutant discharge to exercise control of pollution discharge with “one certificate for each enterprise”. The Ministry of Environmental Protection distributed the Interim Provisions on the Licensing Management of Pollutant Discharge in December to standardize the procedures for application, examination, verification, issuing and management.
China started the reform of the supervision and regulation system for environments in 2015. It set up three new departments for the management of water, air and soil. The General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of State Council printed and distributed the Guiding Opinions on the Work of Experiments on the Reform of the Vertical Management System for Law Enforcement through Monitoring and Supervision by Environmental Protection Organs at and below the Provincial Level in September. It started the Reform of the Vertical Management System for Law Enforcement through Monitoring and Supervision by Environmental Protection Organs at and below the Provincial Level.
——Strengthening the Work of Disclosing Information on Environments. The State Oceanic Administration published the Bulletin on China’s Sea Level and the Bulletin on Ocean Disasters in China. The Bulletin on China’s Sea Level reveals that the general tendency of change in the sea level in China between 1980 and 2015 was the rise with fluctuation, and the annual rise averaged three millimeters, higher than the global average. The Bulletin on Ocean Disasters in China showed that as a whole, the ocean disasters in 2015 were slight. They caused a direct economic loss of 7.274 billion yuan and 30 deaths (including missing persons). The General Office of the State Council distributed the Main Points of the Work of Disclosing the Major Administrative Affairs in 2016 in April. It required the major regions and main cities to disclose more information on the air quality and more monitored information on the water quality of the sources of the concentrated drinking water. It required the major pollutant discharging units to disclose the names of their main pollutants, how they were discharged, the density and total quantity of the pollutants discharged, the excesses they discharged, and the construction and operation of their facilities for the prevention and control of pollutants.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection published the names of the major enterprises under supervision for seriously discharging pollutants in the first quarter of 2016 in May. A total of 75 enterprises in 19 provinces and autonomous regions were involved. The ministry and 31 other central departments distributed the Memorandum of Cooperation for Joint Punishment for Dishonest Producers and Sellers and their Relevant Employees in the Field of Environmental Protection in July, and published the information on the administrative punishment related to environments on the National Honesty Sharing Platform.
All provincial and prefectural environmental protection departments opened columns on the government gateway webs for the exposure of law violations in environments. The provincial environmental protection departments all disclosed their automatically monitored data from major state-owned enterprises on the government gateway webs. The Ministry of Environmental Protection published the list of major state-owned enterprises which exceeded the pollutant discharge quotas every three months.
——Environmental protection supervision. Central environmental supervision teams exercised supervision over environmental protection in Hebei Province, Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Shanghai, and Eighteen provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. They accepted more than 33,000 reported cases in 2016, and filed 8,500 cases for punishment and fined more than 440 million yuan and held 6,454 persons accountable for responsibility. Twenty-one provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities issued provisional plans for supervision in environment protection, and more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions established environmental protection supervision organs.
——Investigating and handling environmental law violations. The ministry investigated 647,000 projects built in violation of the law and discipline, and cleaned up and consolidated 618,000 of them. It found 2,641 small enterprises that caused serious pollution, and outlawed 2,465 of them. It handled 974 cases of successive punishments on a daily basis, 9,622 cases of sealing up and seizure, and 5,211 cases of restricted or suspended production, and transferred 3,968 cases of administrative detention and 1,963 criminal cases of suspected environmental pollution.
(3) Administration of Justice for Ecological Civilization
——Formulating a batch of judicial documents for environments and resources. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate published the Measures for the Implementation of the Experimental Work of the People’s Procuratorate Concerning Public Interest Litigation in January. It made clear how a procuratorial organ brings a civil public interest case or an administrative public interest case. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Measures for the Implementation of the Experimental Work of the People’s Court on Hearing Public Interest Cases Filed by the People’s Procuratorate in February. It made clear how the people’s court hears a civil public interest case or administrative case filed by the people’s procuratorate. The Supreme People’s Court distributed the Opinions on Giving Full Play to the Role of Adjudicatory Function to Provide Judicial Service and Safeguard for Promoting the Construction of Ecological Civilization and Green Development in June. It made clear the guiding thought, overall requirement, hearing principle and case type, and stressed the use of modern environmental judicial conceptions as the guide to explore the establishment of special organs, innovate the trial system and mechanism, study special hearing rules, strengthen the study of theoretical actual evidence, establish specialized trial teams and deepen judicial transparency and international exchanges in accordance with the requirements of the specialization of trials, and constantly improve services to guarantee the ability and standard of promoting ecological civilization and green development. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate distributed the Opinions on Comprehensively Performing the Procuartorial Function to Provide Powerful Judicial Guarantee for the Construction of Healthy China in October. It prescribed special provisions on the punishment of crimes of destroying environmental resources and impairing ecological security. The Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly revised the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Environmental Pollution Criminal Cases in December. It further clarified the specific standards for the determination of the crime and sentencing for the offence of environmental pollution, and the specific standards for the determination of the offence and sentencing for the offence of disposing of imported solid wastes illegally, the offence of importing solid wastes without authorization and the offence of negligence in supervision over environments, and the specific application of the criminal policy of combining leniency with severity.
——Hearing environmental and resource cases. The courts throughout the country tried and closed 18, 900 criminal cases of environments and resources, 84,700 civil cases of environments and resources and 29,100 administrative cases of environments and resources in 2016. The procuratorial organs throughout the country prosecuted 29,173 persons for the offences of destroying environments and resources. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate carried out the activities of exercising supervision over filing special cases of destroying environments and resources, and suggested the transfer of 2,016 cases of committing suspected offences, and supervised the handling of 22 major cases committed by Zhang Baifeng and others for the offences of discharging waste acids stealthily. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate popularized the practices of Fujian, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Chongqing, and explored the ecological procuratorial model of “specialized legal supervision + restorative judicial practice + socialized comprehensive governance” to promote environment protection and ecological restoration. Since the newly revised Environmental Protection Law took effect on January 1, 2015, the courts accepted a total of 112 cases of environmental public interest cases of first instance and 54 cases of second instance, and closed 54 cases of first instance and ten cases of second instance. The court in Dezhou of Shandong Province tried and closed China’s first public interest litigation case of air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and their surrounding areas since the new Environmental Protection Law took effect, and sentenced the defendant to a compensation of more than 21.98 million yuan for the restoration of the quality of the air environment in July.
——Promoting the reform of environmental judiciary. By the end of 2016, the courts throughout the country had set up 559 tribunals, collegiate panels and circuit tribunals, 17 higher people’s courts set up special divisions for the trial of environmental and resources cases, and the courts in Fujian, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Yunnan and Chongqing established specialized systems of courts at three levels for the trial of environments and resources.
It promoted the trans-regional division of jurisdiction over environments and resources cases and the mode of hearing cases of environments and resources under the new divided jurisdiction. The courts in Guizhou, Jiangsu, Hubei, Guangdong, Hebei, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Beijing and Hainan exercised trans-regional concentrated jurisdiction over environments and resources civil cases of polluting environments and destroying ecology with the consequences of damages affecting other regions, environmental public interest cases and other types of environments and resources civil cases. It gradually promoted concentrated jurisdiction, special jurisdiction and upgraded jurisdiction over environments and resources cases in the major regions of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the three-river source region of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Lancang River, and the Yangtze River Basin to promote the sustained improvement of the quality of the environments in the major regions.
——Strengthening guidance by judicial policies for environment and resources. The Supreme People’s Court issued the second batch of ten administrative cases of environmental protection in March. It issued ten typical cases of civil disputes over the mining right in July. It issued the White Book Trial of Environments and Resources in China in the same month. It held a joint work meeting of the courts in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei on the trial of environment and resource cases, and signed the Framework Agreement on Cooperation among the Courts in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei in the Work of Trying Environment and Resource Cases in September. It issued the Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Supporting the Major Arrangements for Accelerating the Construction of the Ecological Civilization Pilot Zone in September.
——Strengthening the theoretical research on environmental justice. It established a theoretical research base for environments and resources, a research base for environmental damage appraisal and a practice base for the trial of environment and resource cases, and organized academic seminars on the topics of “environmental rights and interests and the enactment of the civil code”, “the judicial issues in the governance of environmental regions”, “the theory and practice of green justice” and “seminars on the judicial confirmation of environmental damages” to keep close interactions with the academic circles.
——Promoting International cooperation in environmental justice. The Supreme People’s Court organized the International Symposium on the Judicial Response to Climate Change, organized the Bilateral High-Level Environmental Justice Seminars with France and Brazil, and sent the Chinese delegation of judges to attend the First World Environment Law Congress held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to further enhance communication and exchanges between China and other countries of the world in environmental justice.
VIII. Legal Publicity, Legal Education and Legal Research
(1) Legal Publicity
——Starting the implementation of Seventh Five-Year Plan for the dissemination of the knowledge of the law. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council retransmitted the Seventh Five-Year Plan of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Ministry of Justice on the Dissemination of the Knowledge of the Law for Publicity and Education among Citizens (2016-2020). All provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities made arrangements for the implementation of the Seventh Five-Year Plan. More than 50 departments and industries printed and distributed copies of the plan among their employers. A lecture group was formed for the purpose. It was composed of 43 lecturers selected from among the core members of the middle-aged and young people in law and leading cadres of the central political-legal organs.
——The Organization Department and Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly printed and distributed the Opinions on Improving the System for the Study and Use of the Law by Government Functionaries in March. It put forward six major measures of improving the study system of the central groups of Party committees for the study of law, and improving the system for the regular study of the law, strengthening training for promoting the rule of law, persisting in making policy decisions according to law, performing duties strictly according to law and improving the assessment and evaluation mechanism. The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice and the National Office of the Dissemination of the Knowledge of the Law issued the Programme for the Rule of Law Education among Young People and Children. It proposed the overall targets for the rule of law education among young people and children: disseminating the knowledge of the rule of law, fostering the consciousness of abiding by the law, standardizing the behaviors and habits, developing the sense of the rule of law, putting the idea of the rule of law into action and establishing belief in the rule of law. It was required that necessary knowledge of the law shall be included in the scope of assessment for school studies in the different stages of the students, and properly added in the entrance examinations for senior middle schools and schools of higher learning, and the attainments in the rule of law shall be regarded as an important part of the overall attainments of the students.
——Organizing publicity activities to mark the National Constitution Day. The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Ministry of Justice and the National Office of the Dissemination of the Knowledge of Law jointly distributed the Circular on Organizing Concentrated Publicity Activities for the December 4 National Constitution Day in 2016 in November, made arrangements for a series of publicity activities on the Constitution and internal party regulations. Its theme was “Make Large Efforts to Develop the Spirit of the Rule of Law and Promote the ‘Four Comprehensives Strategy through Coordination’”. The Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee and the Ministry of Justice jointly held a symposium to mark the December 4 National Constitution Day in December. The Ministry of Justice, the National Office of the Dissemination of the Knowledge of Law and CCTV presented a special programme for the occasion on giving awards to persons selected for outstanding merits in promoting the rule of law in 2016 under the theme of “the Spirit of the Constitution and the Power of the Rule of Law”. The Ministry of Justice, the National Internet Information Office and the National Office of the Dissemination of the Knowledge of Law and the CCTV jointly organized the thirteenth carton micro-film show on the rule of law and the Tenth National Legal Knowledge Competition of 100 websites and WeChat public number under the theme of “Studying the knowledge of the Law and Foster the Belief in the Rule of Law”. Local publicity departments also organized publicity and education activities with special characteristics.
——Establishing the media public interest system for the dissemination of the knowledge of law. The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the CPC, the Central Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Justice, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Television and Film and the National Office of Dissemination of the Knowledge of the Law jointly distributed the Plan for Strengthening the Work of Public Interest Publicity to the Dissemination of the Knowledge of the Law by the News Media and Internet. Anhui and other provinces also issued normative documents on the public interest dissemination of the knowledge of the law, and established a joint meeting system on the public interest dissemination of the knowledge of the law, the system of the list of the names of the principal media organizations for law dissemination, the public interest record system and public interest law knowledge dissemination assessment mechanism. New media and new technologies were widely used in the dissemination of the knowledge of the law. There were about 800,000 subscribers for the WeChat public number for the dissemination of the knowledge of law in China, and the total number of fans for Microblog, Wechat and clients for the popularization of law exceeded six million. With the Microblog, WeChat and mobile client playing the leading role, it integrated the new media for the national popularization of the law and other new forms of news report and information to form the new media matrix for national law popularization.
——Continuing to organize the activities of “Double-Hundred” (one hundred lectures by one hundred jurists). While the “Double-Hundred” activities were carried out for leading government officials at all levels in 2016, more lectures on the rule of law were organized for teachers and students in schools of higher learning. The organizing committee invited noted specialists and scholars in law to give collectively prepared lectures on the topics of “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important thoughts on the rule of law”, “the Legal Guarantee for the Implementation of the Five Concepts for Development”, “Put the Economic and Social Development on the Track of the Rule of Law”, “Promote the Exercise of Administration by Law to Accelerate the Construction of the Law-based Government”, “Uphold the Overall State Security Concept to Safeguard the State Security according to Law”, and “Use the Rule of Law Thinking and the Rule of Law Approaches to Promote the Construction of Ecological Civilization. The lecturers gave a total of 2,893 lectures for a total audience of more than 1,180,000 person times.
——Continuing to carry out the activities of young volunteers in popularizing legal culture at the grassroots. The local law societies at all levels carried out publicity activities for law popularization with peculiar characteristics and obvious results under distinctive themes. Their publicity activities were extended from schools, government offices, enterprises and rural areas to military camps, hubs of communications, shopping centres and markets. The audiences included grassroots cadres, peasants, urban residents, students and employers, servicemen, disabled persons, permanent alien residents. They organized more than 212,000 activities, released more than 30 million pamphlets, provided more than 110,000 legal services, and more than 55million people benefited from the activities and services in 1,876 counties and cities.
——Intensively carrying out activities of promoting the rule of law at different levels and in diversified forms. The local regions deepened their activities of creating law-based cities and law-based counties (and districts) to create systems for promoting regional law-based governance of society. They deepened the law-based governance of the basic-level organizations and made large efforts to create democratic and law-based villages (communities), and promoted democracy and the rule of law at the basic level. All departments and industries deepened the law-based governance, and carried out activities of creating “demonstration units for exercising administration by law”, “demonstration windows for civilized law enforcement”, “honest and law-abiding businesses” and “running demonstration schools according to law”. They exercised administrative power, handled matters and managed affairs according to law.
——Trans-departmental training of legal personnel. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate held the fourth informal discussion with five law professors selected from universities to take up temporary posts in the procuratorate in May. The Ministry of Education popularized the mechanism for training legal personnel through cooperation between law schools and judicial organs throughout the country, introduced from the Northwest China University of Political Science and Law throughout the country. The Supreme People’s Court accepted 50 trainees in law from law schools and scientific institutions in October. Law schools and legal departments exchanged the lists of teachers selected from law schools and judicial workers selected from judicial organs in December. A total of 223 specialists from judicial organs and 219 teachers from law schools were selected from each side in December. The selected teachers would work as judges or procurators while the selected judicial personnel would teach in law schools. The China Applied Law Research Institute of the Supreme People’s Court started the enrolment of law school graduates for post-doctoral studies.
——Educational reform for masters of law. The Ninth Master of Law Educational Forum was held in Beijing in January. The theme of the forum was “Innovation of the Mechanism for the Training of Legal Personnel and Development of the Education for Graduate Students for Academic Degrees of Law”. The National Work Conference on the Assessment of the Second Batch of Cases from the Teaching Case Bank for Masters of Law under the Education Guidance Committee for Postgraduates of Different Academic Degrees in Law was held in Beijing in June. It collected a total of 118 teaching cases, and entered 44 of them in the bank. A training class of practice teaching for masters of law was opened in July. The Law School of the China Ren Min University issued the plan for the reform of the system for the training of masters (2016-2019), and adopted the measures of optimizing the proportion and direction for enrolment, strengthening the construction of the course and examination question bank, and improving the scholarship system and practice and job security. The Southwest China University of Political Science and Law established the China Arbitration College to train high-quality applied personnel from among masters of law by offering arbitral courses
——Theme study for legal education and more academic seminars. The Third National Legal Education High-end Forum and the Asian-Pacific Law School Dean Forum were held in Beijing in May. The topics for discussion included English legal education, legal profession in change and law schools. The 2016 Annual Meetings of the Guidance Commission for Legal Education in Schools of Higher Learning under the Ministry of Education, the Legal Education Research Society of the China Law Society and the Forum on New Development Concept and the Legal Education Reform were held in July. Participants had intensive discussions on the construction of the legal profession community, the development of the rule of law in the western regions and construction of moot courts. The Seventh Strait Forum of Deans of Law Schools was held in October. More than 100 specialists and scholars, including nearly 100 presidents of 60 universities and deans of law schools, were present. They had discussions on the issues concerning the construction of legal course and personnel training. The Fifth China-Australia Meeting of Deans of Law Schools was held in the Law School of the University of Western Australia in October. Fourteen Chinese deans of law schools and more than 30 deans of law schools of Australia had discussions on the “latest development of the legal education and policies of legal education in China and Australia”, “the impact of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement on legal education”, “how to promote the interdisciplinary teaching and studies in the legal education”, and the “the development the legal profession and legal education”. The Northwest China University of Political Science and Law set up the anti-terrorism law school, and the first class of anti-terrorism-oriented doctor candidates passed the oral defence of their theses. The Training Base for International Judicial Exchange and Cooperation of the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization of the Shanghai College of Political Science and Law was completed to become an important platform for training judicial and law enforce personnel, training graduate students in the legal profession and promoting international judicial exchanges and cooperation.
(3) Legal Research
——Promoting the theoretical research on the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics. The China Law Society, decided on 12 major special topics on the interpretation of the spirit of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China on the basis of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, the spirit of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC and the lectures given by one hundred jurists. The Dong Biwu Legal Thought Research Society of the China Law Society held an academic seminar under the theme of “Carry Forward Dong Biwu’s spirit of the rule of law to promote the new innovation and development of the socialist rule of law theory with Chinese characteristics”. The Rule of Law Research Base of the China Law Society decided on the research on anti-terrorism, research on the South China Sea policy and law, research on the ASEAN law, research on the development of the rule of law and judicial reform, research on public law and research on the assessment of the rule of law. Organized and compiled by the China Law Society, the book Promote the Innovation and Development of the Socialist Rule of Law Theory with Chinese Characteristics was published.
——Research on legislative consultation and legislative theory. The China Law Society held 37 consultation meetings to discuss the drafts of the General Principles of the Civil Law, the Charity Law, the Environmental Protection Law, and 27 other laws, eight administrative regulations and two important departmental rules in 2016. The Local Legislative Assessment Academic Symposium of the Chongqing “2011 Plan” Cooperative Innovation Centre was held in March. It discussed the issues of the rule, efficiency and technique of the local legislation. The 11th China Jurists’ Forum was held in August. Its theme was “Compilation of the Civil Code: Theory, System and Practice”. A legislation seminar on the compilation of the Marriage and Family part and the Tort Liability Law part of the China Civil Code was held in October. The Legislation Science Research Society of the China Law Society held an academic annual meeting in November. Its theme was “Theory and Practice of the Socialist Legislation with Chinese Characteristics”. A high-end forum on the issues of civil and commercial legislation and the part of the Contract Law in the compilation of the Chinese Civil Code was held in December.
——Research on the socialist judicial theory with Chinese characteristics. The China Law Society organized specialists and scholars to take part in the drafting and argumentation of the Opinions on the Reform of the Criminal Procedure System with Adjudication as the centre and made the third party evaluation of the four reforms of the judicial system, including the reform of the system of filing cases for registration in 2016. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate published its 2016 topics for procuratorial theoretical research in July. It decided on 122 procuratorial judicial theory topics. The Supreme People’s Court published its 28 major topics for judicial research for 2016 in November. China’s first theoretical forum on the construction of the new-type judicial think tank was held in Shanghai in December. The country’s first provincial judicial think tank society was established at the same time.
——Legal research on the Issue of the South China Sea. The China Law Society organized specialists and scholars to offer opinions and suggestions on the South China Sea arbitration case and issued the “Statement on the Unilateral South China Sea Arbitration Case Filed by the Republic of the Philippines”. It supported and guided the Maritime Law Society to unite with the related universities in forming the phalanx for “the study of the Law of the Sea”, and invited noted specialists in the field of the international law and the Law of the Sea to make major studies on the South China Sea issue and publish their articles in the media. The First High-End Forum on the Law of the Sea was held in March. The Wuhan University and the Leiden University of the Netherlands held the Symposium on the South China Sea Case and the International Rule of Law in June. A Seminar on the South China Sea Case attended by legal experts was held in Beijing in July. An Academic Seminar on the Impact on and Response to the South China Sea Case was held in the Nanjing University in July. The Second High-end Forum on the Law of the Sea was held in Dalian in December.
——Plentiful achievements in the legal research made by all departments of legal sciences. The study of the constitutional law centered on the issues of the relations between the Constitution and the departmental laws, the Constitution and the formulation of new laws and the revision, annulment and interpretation of the laws, and the constitutional basis for making laws in the major fields. Jurisprudence focused on the issues of the law-based governance of the country and system construction in the background of globalization. Administrative Law focused the discussions on the legal issue of failure to exercise administration by law, market regulation and the Administrative Law, procuration and supervision over the administrative violation of the law, and the new problems of the law-based government. Civil Law focused its studies on the theory and practice of the compilation of the Civil Code. Intellectual Property Law focused its study on the relations between intellectual property rights and the Civil Code, construction of the intellectual property courts, and the Internet and intellectual property rights. Economic law centered on the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, the five major development concepts, the reform of the supply-side structural reform and other hot issues of the economic and social development. Commercial jurisprudence strengthened its studies on the issues of the construction of the specific legal system for the commercial law and the internationalization of the financial rule of law. Criminal procedure law focused the study on the theme of “promoting the reform of the criminal procedure system with adjudication as the centre”. Social law centered on themes of “the new normal of the economy, sharing of development and social law”. Criminal law centered on the “relations between the criminal law and the administrative law in the reform of the criminal law”, “the judicial application to the crime of terrorism”and “the judicial application to the crime of information networks” International economic law centered on the “international economic law and the governance of the global economy”、Chinese legal history centered on the “transformation of the legal system and political civilization”. Foreign legal history centered on “drawing on the experience of foreign countries in the compilation of the Civil Code”.
IX. International Exchange and International Cooperation
China took an active part in the related legislative activities, made efforts to promote the democratic and law-based international relations, strengthened international cooperation and judicial assistance in combating corruption, held dialogues on the international rule of law and obtained positive achievements in international exchanges in different areas.
(1) Make Efforts to Promote International Cooperation and Judicial Assistance in Combating Corruption
——The Ministry of Justice, the British Embassy in China and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development jointly held a “Anti-corruption International Criminal Judicial Assistance Symposium” in Beijing in April. About 60 people from more than 20 countries and five international organizations were present.
——The G20 Summit in Hangzhou reached important consensus on international cooperation in combating corruption in September. China actively promoted the adoption of the G20 High Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery and the G20 2017-2018 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, and had the G20 Anti-Corruption Research Centre for Persons Sought for corruption and Asset Recovery established in China. The High-Level Principles were drafted by the Chinese party and was another anti-corruption international document adopted under the current international cooperation mechanism with China in the lead after the Beijing Anti-Corruption Declaration of the APEC in 2014. The Action Plan stressed that the reduction of corruption is a prime task of G20, and reaffirmed support to the mechanism for the review of implementation of the U.N. Convention against Corruption. The G20 Anti-Corruption Research Centre for Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery is the first for the related research work intended for the G20 member countries.
——Proposing international cooperation in combating corruption. A Chinese delegation attended the International Anti-Corruption Summit in London, and made a special topic speech on “Combat Corruption” in May. It proposed that the international community would further strengthen cooperation on persons sought for corruption and asset recovery. The Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Federation of Anti-Corruption Bureaus and its congress of members were held in Tianjin in May. The delegates to the meeting had full discussions on the theme of “The Future of the Anti-Corruption Organs: Draw on Experience and Plan Prospect”, and adopted the Tianjin Declaration. A Chinese delegation attended the Fifth Meeting of Contracting Parties of the International Anti-Corruption College, briefed the meeting on China’s efforts and new progress in combating corruption, and put forward concrete work suggestions for the development of the college in November. The acceptance of the executive summary of the first periodic review of the United Nations Convention against corruption by China (including the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao) was published on the United Nations Web in November. The work of China’s acceptance of the first periodic review was finished in the main. The meeting of the prosecutors-general of the BRICS countries was held in Sanya, Hainan Province under the theme of “Combat Corruption to Safeguard the Sustainable Development of Economy and Society” in December.
——The special work of seeking persons for corruption and asset recovery. The “Net of Heaven 2016” Action was started in April, and China, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand strengthened cooperation in law enforcement to seek the “100 Red Persons Wanted for Corruption”. The Anti-Corruption Working Group of the Chinese-U.S. Joint Liaison Group (JLG) on Law Enforcement Cooperation held its 11th meeting in the United States in September. Yang Xiuzhu, the No. 1 suspect of the “100 Red Persons Wanted for Corruption” returned home to surrender in November. Her return to justice was an important achievement in the law enforcement cooperation between China and the United States against corruption. Moreover, the concerned departments of China, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand cooperated closely to persuade a number of suspects of the “100 Red Persons Wanted for Corruption” to return home to surrender.
——Concluding judicial assistance treaties. China had negotiations with Australia, Belgium and some other countries on 13 judicial assistance treaties and completed the signing of the 13 treaties. It completed the ratification procedure for the Extradition Treaty between China and Tadzhikistan, the Criminal Judicial Assistance Treaty between China and Malaysia and the Criminal Judicial Assistance treaty between China and Sri Lanka, and completed the work for the mutual exchange of the instruments of ratification for the Extradition Treaty and the Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between China and Iran. China and Canada formally signed the Agreement between the People’s Republic of China and Canada on the Sharing and Return of the Recovered Assets in September. The agreement was the first special agreement China concluded with other countries on the recovery of illegal criminal income transferred abroad. China and Kenya completed the negotiations on the Criminal Judicial Assistance Treaty and the Extradition Treaty and initiated their texts in December.
——Participating in the activities of international seminars against corruption. The Ministry of Supervision and the International Anti-Corruption College held a China-ASEAN Anti-Corruption Seminar in Yunnan in November. This was China’s first regional anti-corruption cooperation project, and opened the new area for China-ASEAN cooperation, and promoted the extension of the achievements of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou to the international community. The seminar centered on the theme of “Anti-Corruption and Sustainable Development”, exchanged experience and challenges of the participating countries in combating corruption, and discussed how to promote regional anti-corruption cooperation and the regional sustainable development by combating corruption.
(2) Actively Participating in International Legislation
——In the aspect of the International Law of the Sea. A Chinese delegation attended the Twenty-sixth Conference of the States Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in June. The delegation stressed that the dispute resolution mechanism is an inseparable part of the integral whole, and all parties should uphold the aim of the Convention, comprehend and apply the Convention and its dispute resolution mechanism with good intention, accurately and wholly, avoid the abuse of or improper expansion of the power, and continue to follow the rules and principles of the general international laws as the applicable law. The Chinese representative stressed at the Seventy-first General Assembly of the United Nations in December that all countries should promote the rule of law in the seas and establish and safeguard equitable and rational maritime order. He said that the so-called “South China Sea case” was invalid and unbinding, and this was why China did not accept it, did not participate in it and would not recognize it. He said that the so-called “South China Sea case” was a thing of the past. China would, as usual, be a defender of the international maritime rule of law and be a builder of the harmonious sea order.
——Climate change and polar law. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping, was present at the high-level signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York and signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of China in April. The Chinese delegation attended the Thirty-ninth Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in May. It told the meeting that China would host the Fortieth Antarctic Treaty in 2017. President Xi Jinping, President Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, were present together at the ceremony of the deposit of the instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in Hangzhou in September. President Xi Jinping said that the deposit of the instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by China and the United States together showed their ambition and determination to cope with the global issue together. The international community should make use of the opportunity and double the efforts, constantly strengthen and improve the global governance system, and innovate the route to cope with the climate change to promote the early effectiveness of the Paris Agreement. The Chinese delegation attended the Fourth Forum on the Arctic Circle in October, and expounded China’s views on cooperation in the Arctic region.
——International criminal law and anti-terrorism law. The Chinese delegation was present at the Twenty-fifth meeting of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Commission in Vienna in May. It appealed to all countries to give full play to their leading role in international anti-terrorist cooperation, strengthen international cooperation in the areas of security and anti-terrorism, strengthen judicial cooperation in the fields of combating transnational organized crime and corruption, and refuse to provide “shelter” for criminals and criminal assets, strengthen investigation and study of the new types of criminal offences, including cyber crime and trafficking and transportation of cultural property, and explore new forms of international law to cope with them. The Chinese delegation attended the Eighth Conference of States Party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in October, and made a speech to stress that all countries should make full use of the Convention to carry out cooperation in extradition, judicial assistance and asset recovery, establish a proper and effective performance review mechanism, strengthen international cooperation and legislation against cyber crime to strengthen practical cooperation against transnational crime.
The Chinese delegation made a speech at the ministerial-level open meeting of the Security Council in December. It said that all countries should strengthen cooperation at the legal level of the anti-terrorism action and weave the Net of Justice cooperation on the globe and all regions against terrorism, strengthen cooperation in legislation, justice and law enforcement, and center on combating the use of the Internet to carry out terrorist activities, strengthen supervision on the Internet and investigate the liability of the trouble makers for the terrorist activities.
——Outer space law. China and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement on the use of the Chinese space station in March. The Chinese delegation made a speech at the Fifty-fifth Meeting of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. It stressed that the rule of law is the fundamental guarantee for the use of the outer space for peaceful purposes and the long-term sustainable development of the outer space and the outer space activities of any country should be guided by the Outer Space Treaty, principles and declaration and be carried out according to law. International cooperation is an important means to promote the process of the rule of law for outer space, and the rule of law for outer space is really the system guarantee for international cooperation. The Chinese delegation attended the Tenth United Nations Outer Space Law Seminar, and made a theme speech. It said that the rule of law is the important basis for safeguarding the security and sustainability of the outer space. It must keep time with the development and constantly improve the Outer Space Law and the rule system, and steadily promote the formulation of the “soft law” for the outer space, and give full play to its role.
(3) Actively Promote Inter-governmental Dialogues
——China and Russia jointly issued the Statement of China and Russia on Promoting International Laws. The foreign ministers of the two countries signed and issued the statement in June. This was an important practice of China and Russia in jointly promoting the international rule of law. It was not only the first practice in the histories of the two countries, but also the first innovation in international relations. The statement showed the firm commitment of the two Security Council member countries to the international law. It signified a new height of the communication, coordination and cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of the international law, adding new connotation to the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia.
——Exchanges on the rule of law between China and Europe, and North America. Cao Jianming, Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, visited Czech and signed a Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding between the prosecuting offices of the two countries with the Czech attorney-general in April. The Conference of Presidents of Supreme Courts of China and Central and Eastern European Countries was held in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province in May. Presidents and grand justices of the supreme courts of the participating countries had discussions on the theme of “Justice in the Global Information Era”. The conference adopted the Suzhou Consensus. Wang Yongqing, Secretary-General of the Central Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, and the state security advisor of the Canadian prime minister jointly presided over the first Chinese-Canadian high-level dialogue on state security and the rule of law in September. The two sides decided on the functional scope of the dialogue, clarified the structure of the dialogue and the framework for future cooperation, and held intensive consultations on cooperation in anti-terrorism, cyber security, combating cyber crime, combating trans-national organized crime, law enforcement affairs, consular affairs and exchanges in justice and the rule of law. The Joint Liaison Group of the China-U.S. Law Enforcement Cooperation held its fourteenth plenary meeting in Beijing in November.
——Dialogues under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Relevant leaders attended the Fourth Meeting of the Ministers of Justice of Member Countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan in October. She stressed that they should increase exchanges, strengthen cooperation to provide legal services and guarantee for the construction of “the Silk Road and Economic Belt”. The Ministry of Justice held an international forum on the legal service for the Silk Road for the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Yiwu of Zhejiang Province in November. The meeting of the attorneys general of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization signed the minutes of the meeting. It decided that the procuratorial organs of the member countries would further carry out international cooperation to combat cyber terrorism.
——Activities under the framework of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization. A Chinese delegation attended the Fifty-fifth Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization in New Delhi, India, in May. It appealed to the countries on the two continents to increase their support and investment to the organization to further expand its representativeness and influence, promote the international rule of law and justice, and at the same time to strengthen unity and coordination and keep vigilance against any act of the abuse of the international judicial procedure against Asian and African countries. The Chinese delegation also had profound discussions with the other participating countries on the International Law on Cyber Space, the Law of the Sea, combating violence and extremism, and the International Law Committee. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the second international law training class for the International Law Exchange and Research Programme of the China-Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization in Beijing in August.
——Exchange with ASEAN countries. The Tenth Conference of Attorneys-General of China and the ASEAN member countries was held in Vientiane, Capital of the Laos in November. The theme of the conference was “Strengthen International Cooperation and Effectively Combat Trans-national Crime”. It focused on the issues of trafficking drugs and kidnapping and selling women and children. Cao Jianming, Pocurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, attended the conference. He said that China would promote the profound cooperation in regional procuration from the new starting point and establish a still closer China-ASEAN Community of Destiny.
——The consultation mechanism for directors of the treaty and law departments worked well. The directors of the departments of treaty and law of the foreign ministries of China and Russia had consultations together in January. They exchanged views on the issues of the Law of the Sea, dispute resolution, the five permanent members of the Security Council and the consultations among the directors of the treaty and law departments of the BRICS countries. The directors of the treaty and law departments of the Chinese and German ministries of foreign affairs had an extensive exchange of views on the Law of the Sea, and the International Law on Cyber Space in March. The consultations of the directors (or legal counsel) of the treaty and law departments of Chinese and Australian foreign ministries and their judicial law enforcement cooperation consultations were held in Canberra in March. The two parties had profound exchanges on the issues of the Law of the Sea, judicial law enforcement, the International Humanitarian Law and Antarctic cooperation. The consultations of the directors of the treaty and law departments of the five permanent members of the Security Council were held in Nanjing in June. They exchanged views on the topics of armed combat against terrorism and the right of self-defence, extraterritorial jurisdiction, state immunity, the Law of the Sea and the International Law on Cyber Space. The first legal dialogue and judicial law enforcement cooperation round-table meeting between China and New Zealand took place in Wellington of New Zealand in June. The two sides exchanged views with each other on the topics of the Law of the Sea and state immunity as well as their domestic legal systems of extradition and judicial assistance and the practice of international cooperation. The consultations of the directors (legal counsel) of the treaty and law departments of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs and U. S. Department of State took place in Washington in November. The two sides exchanged views on the topics of the work mechanisms for diplomatic legal affairs, the Law of the Sea, sovereignty immunity, consular law, the International Law on Cyber Space, and the International Humanitarian Law.
(4) Practical Exchanges in Law with Other Countries
——Exchanges with BRICS countries. The delegation of the China Law Society attended the Third Legal Forum of the BRICS countries in New Delhi, India, in September. The delegation discussed with the other participating delegations on the hot frontier topics of “Major Issues and Key Areas of the Financial and Legal Cooperation of BRICS Countries” and “New Emerging System of the International Civil and Commercial Laws: the Actual Need of the BRICS Countries to Construct the Uniform Strategy and Cooperation Mechanism”, and put forward suggestions on promoting the development of the forum and how to use the rule of law to acquire the consensus of the BRICS countries on cooperation and prevent and resolve risks and disputes in cooperation.
——Legal exchange under the ASEAN framework. The China Law Society and the Judicial College of Thailand jointly organized the China-ASEAN Legal Forum—“the High-Level Rule of Law Seminar for Promoting Sustainable Development” in May. The China-ASEAN Legal Research Centre and the Thai Judicial College signed the Cooperation Memorandum. The First “China-ASEAN Commercial Arbitration Cooperation Forum” organized under the guidance of the China Law Society was held in Haikou, China, in September. The theme of the forum was “One Belt and One Road, Hand in Hand for Service”. Its basic concept is “Discuss together, Build together and Share together”, its carrier is “Arbitral Theory and Practical Exploration”, and they discussed how to build the service platform for arbitral cooperation between China and the ASEAN. The concerned organizations of China, Cambodia and Singapore signed a “Cooperation Agreement”. They decided to jointly establish a management organ, recommend arbitrators, and use international commercial practices and laws to arbitrate disputes. This was of pioneering significance in the field of international arbitral cooperation. The China-ASEAN Legal Forum, the China-ASEAN Internet Financial Legal Change and Cooperation Seminar, organized by the China Law Society, was held in Kunming in December. The participants had discussions on the issues of the Internet financial legislation and innovation of the China-ASEAN, the issue of the China-ASEAN Internet financial risk supervision and control and the issue of China-ASEAN financial judicial practice. Its purpose was to provide more legal guarantee for the sustainable and healthy development of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone in the “Internet+” era.
——The Wisdom Court and the Cyber Legal Forum of the Third World Internet Conference was held in Zhejiang in November. Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People’s Court, was present and made a speech at the opening ceremony of the conference. The conference adopted the “Wuzhen Consensus”. It stressed that the countries would continue to expand and deepen their exchanges and cooperation in the court information and the rule of law in the cyber space, and strengthen the exchange of experience and the sharing of achievements in using information technology to promote judicial transparency, litigious services, case trials, court management and case studies, and promote the establishment of the mechanism for cooperation and exchange of court information.
——Exchanges in law with other Asian countries. A delegation of the China Law Society visited India and Sri Lanka in September. The Second China-Japan-ROK Legal Forum and the Fourth Northeast Asia Legal Forum was held in Changchun in October. The theme of the forum was “Strengthen Regional Legal Cooperation and Open the New Future of Northeast Asia”. The China Law Society organized the China-South Asia Legal Forum in Kunming in December. The theme of the forum was “Strengthen Joint Action for the Rule of Law, and Build One Belt and One Road Together”. After the conclusion of the forum, the China-South Asia Legal Training Base organized its first seminar class in the Yunnan University.
——Exchange with Europe and America. A delegation of the China Law Society visited Britain, Canada and the United States, made wide contacts and profound exchanges with the jurisprudential and legal organizations of the three countries and organized 13 informal discussions and two academic seminars in July. The Chinese delegation attended the seminar and celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the International Law of the Sea Court in Hamburg in October. It refuted the erroneous views on the “South China Sea arbitration case”. The China-Britain Rule of Law Round-Table Conference was held in Beijing in November. The China Law Society and the British-Chinese Association signed the Bilateral Cooperation Memorandum. The participating specialists and scholars had extensive discussions on the significance and influence of the “One Belt and One Road” proposal on the world economy, the construction of the “One Belt and One Road” and the legal service and cooperation between China and Britain. The conference was the highest level cooperation between the two countries in the area of the rule of law.
2017 is the crucial year in the decisive period of the decade when China builds a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. China will hold the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China. It will catch the eyes of the world and holds extraordinary significance.
The Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China made a special study of enforcing the rigorous discipline of the Communist Party in an all round way in October 2016, and adopted the Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life Under New Circumstances and the Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight. To govern the country, we must first govern the party, and govern it with strict discipline. To enforce strict discipline, there must be laws. The governance of the party with strict discipline and the governance of the country by law complement each other, and to supervise and govern the party according to rules is the vivid manifestation of the comprehensive governance of the country by law in the building of the party. The Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life Under New Circumstances further stresses that “the party organizations and leading cadres at all levels must carry out their activities within the limits of the Constitution and laws, enhance their rule of law consciousness, carry forward the spirit of the rule of law, consciously handle affairs according to the legal competence, rules and procedure, never replace law with personal words or use power to suppress law, nor bend the law for personal gains or intervene in judicial activities.” The words of “play an exemplary role in abiding by the Constitution and the law” from the Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight were defined as one of the main contents of the internal oversight. The integrated governance of the county under the rule of law and governance of the party under systems, which proceed together under an overall plan, enriched and developed the socialist theory of the rule of law with Chinese characteristics, and the Communist Party of China will certainly lead the Chinese people to make efforts to write a brilliant page of promoting the rule of law in China.
I. Laws, Legal Interpretations and Decisions Formulated and Revised by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 2016 (23 items)
1-Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Exploration and Development of Resources in Deep Seabed Areas
2-Charity Law of the People’s Republic of China
3-Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China
4-Asset Appraisal Law of the People’s Republic of China
5-Law of the people’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife
6-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Revision of Six Laws including the Energy Conservation Law of the People’s Republic of China
7-Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Defense Transportation
8-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Revision of Four Laws including the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign-funded Enterprises
9-Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China
10-Law of the People’s Republic of China on Promoting the Film Industry
11-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Revision of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Promoting Privately-Run Schools
12- Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Revision of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Maritime Environments
13-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Revision of Twelve Laws, including the Foreign Trade Law of the People’s Republic of China
14-Law of the People’s Republic of China on Traditional Chinese Medicine
15-Law of the People’s Republic of China on Public Cultural Service Guarantee
16.-Law of the People’s Republic of China on Environmental Protection Tax
17-Interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
18-Resolution of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Seventh Five-Year Publicity and Education on the Rule of Law
19-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Authorizing the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to Make Experiments in Some Regions on the Introduction of the System of Giving Leniency for Pleading Guilty in Criminal Cases
20-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Work of Making Experiments on the Reform of the State Supervision System in Beijing, Shanxi Province and Zhejiang Province
21-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Authorizing the State Council to Make Temporary Adjustments to the Application of the Relevant Provisions of the Civil Servants Law of the People’s Republic of China in Some Regions and Some Central Organs in Beijing
22-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Authorizing the State Council to Make Temporary Adjustments to the Application of the Relevant Provisions of the Social Insurance Law of the People’s Republic of China in the Administrative Areas of the City of Handan in Hebei Province and Eleven Other Experimental Cities
23-Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Making Temporary Adjustments to the Application of the Provisions of the Relevant Laws in the Period of the Reform of the Officer System
II. Administrative Regulations Formulated and Revised by the State Council in 2016 (8 items)
1-Decision of the State Council on the Revision of Some Administration Regulations
- National Regulations on Social Security Funds
- Decision of the State Council on Revising the Regulations on the Administration of the Circulation and Preventive Inoculation of Vaccines
- Regulations on Farm Irrigation and Water Conservancy
- Decision of the State Council on Revising the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Customs Inspection
- Decision of the State Council on Revising the Decision of the State Council on Setting Administrative Licensing on Items Requiring Administrative Approval That Should Be Reserved
- Regulations on Radio Administration of the People’s Republic of China
- Regulations on the Administration of Approval and Records for Enterprise Investment Projects
III. Judicial Interpretations Issued by the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in 2016 (29 items)
1-Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Cases of Disputes over Patent Infringements (2)
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Issue of Maritime Case Jurisdiction
- Written Reply of the Supreme People’s Court on the Issue of the Limitation for Making Objection to the Termination of An Act of Execution by A People’s Court Raised by the Hubei Provincial Higher People’s Court
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Scope of Maritime Courts for the Acceptance of Cases
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Property Law of the People’s Republic of China (1)
- Written Reply of the Supreme People’s Court concerning the Issue on the Disposal of Sealed-up Property by the Court That First Seals up the Property and the Court That Executes the Privileged Debts
- Decision of the Supreme People’s Court on Revising the Court Rules of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court Concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Criminal Drug Cases
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Corruption and Bribery
- Interpretation concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Consumer Civil Public Interest Litigation Cases
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on How People’s Courts Handle Cases of Accepting Mainland Residents Sentenced in the Taiwan Region to Return to Serve Sentences in the Mainland
- Written Reply of the Supreme People’s Court on the Issue of Jurisdiction over the Case Arising from the Sinking of the “Ruisheng” Ship in the Sea Area adjacent to the Huangyan Island.
- Written Reply of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Issues on the Application of Paragraph two, Article 225 of the Criminal Procedure Law
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Specially-Invited Mediation by People’s Courts
- Written Reply of the Supreme People’s Court on the Issue of the Procedure related to Cases of the Order of Protection of Personal Security
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on Hearing Relevant Cases Occurring in Sea Areas under Chinese Jurisdiction (1)
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on Hearing Relevant Cases Occurring in Sea Areas under Chinese Jurisdiction (2)
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on Online Judicial Sale by People’s Courts
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Publication of Judgements on the Internet by People’s Courts
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Hearing Judicial Compensation Cases in Civil and Administrative Litigations
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Alteration and Addition of Parties in Civil Executions
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on Handling Cases of Property Preservation by People’s Courts
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Specific Application of the Law to Handling Commutation and Parole Cases
- Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Hearing Cases of Disputes over Independent Letters of Indemnity
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Illegal Mining and Destructive Mining
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Specific Application of the Law to Hearing Criminal Cases of Practicing Medicine Illegally
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Some Issues on the Specific Application of the Law to Hearing Criminal Cases of Kidnapping and Selling Women and Children
- Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate concerning Some Issues on the Application of the Law to Handling Criminal Cases of Environmental Pollution
- Decision of the Supreme People’s Court on the Revision of the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning the Trial of Cases by Circuit Courts