Serving justice to serve the people
BEIJING — As the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated its 100th birthday in early July, China solemnly declared the accomplishment of its first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
One key aspect of such a goal is to deliver justice and ensure equality and fairness through the operation of the judicial system.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has on many occasions noted that fairness and justice constitute a noble value upheld by the Party.
“Our fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people decides that we must pursue justice, protect people’s rights and interests, and uphold justice,” according to Xi.
RIGHT THE WRONG
In early 2014, during a central conference on judicial, procuratorial, and public security work, Xi cautioned that the adverse effects of one wrongful conviction might nullify the gains brought by ninety-nine fair rulings.
He also pointed out in 2015 that problems such as the miscarriage of justice, judicial corruption, and other factors that hamper judicial impartiality will erode law-based governance and social fairness and justice if not dealt with in a timely manner.
The case of Nie Shubin stands out as a typical example of the correction of miscarriages of justice.
Nie was executed for rape and murder in 1995. He was, however, posthumously acquitted in 2016 when a retrial found the conviction had been based on insufficient evidence and unclear facts.
Nie was among several criminal defendants whose wrongful convictions were overturned by judicial organs after retrials under the law in recent years.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, Chinese courts have handled 1.78 million retrial cases through trial supervision procedures and 3.86 million cases involving changes to the enforcement of criminal punishment. Retrials helped overturn wrongful judgments.
Xi has also emphasized stringent law enforcement, calling for strict governance of the police force and a firm stance against denial of justice and judicial corruption.
Over the past years, central authorities have rolled out a slew of rules and regulations to prevent officials from interfering with judicial activities and regulate judicial personnel’s contact with litigants, lawyers, specially-related parties, or intermediaries.
In 2019, all procuratorates at four levels were required to report officials or staff of judicial organs who attempted to access and meddle in cases under investigation.
Xi has also stressed the necessity to provide the people with easier access to legal services.
Once, to file a lawsuit at some primary level courts, people had to wait in long lines outside the courthouse. Due to the many inconveniences of case-filing, starting lawsuits had been an off-putting endeavor to the public.
Yet today, after reforms of the case-filing system, people can file lawsuits through many more channels, including mobile apps and websites.
Over 95 percent of requests for lawsuits were immediately accepted by courts when initiated.
Identifying transparency as the best precaution against corruption, Xi has called for improved efforts to increase judicial transparency to respond to the people’s concerns and expectations for judicial justice and transparency.
China has improved information-releasing platforms on judicial procedures, trials, written judgments, and judgment executions, including the China Procuratorial Network, the China Procuratorial Hearing Network, and China Judgements Online.
As of April 2021, China Judgements Online had published over 119 million judgments, attracting 60.7 billion visits. About 12.7 million court trials had been broadcast live.
China has also strengthened supervision over judicial activities, including criminal, civil and administrative proceedings, as well as public interest litigations.
Refer: The Supreme People’s Court (SPC)