Since Jiang Zemin stressed the rule of law at the 15th CCP National Congress in 1997, China has promulgated alot of legislation to have a complete system of laws, and trained hundreds of thousands of legal professionals.
Soon after Xi Jinping took over the reign, he closed all the black jails in Beijing and abolished the labour camp (reeducation through labour) system. In October, Xi held the fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CCP Central Committee on governing the nation according to law, stressing the dominance of China’s constitution and judicial independence.
Some people believe that there has been no political reform in China since it began its economic reform. I will remind them that the legal reform for the rule of law is China’s vital political reform, as without the rule of law there can never be true democracy.
The next step, I believe, will not be a democratic reform, but a reform focusing on human rights especially freedom of press and speech, without which, democracy will be but empty talk.
The following is the full text of Reuters report today on China’s efforts to adopt circuit courts for judicial independence:
China to adopt circuit courts to reduce interference: Xinhua
China has adopted pilot programs for circuit courts and courts with jurisdiction across different regions designed to reduce local officials’ interference in the judiciary, state media reported on Tuesday.
Legal reforms are a key platform for President Xi Jinping’s government to restore popular faith in the ruling Communist Party and judicial system amid simmering public discontent over miscarriages of justice often caused by officials’ abuse of power.
The party had flagged the decision to establish circuit courts and courts that would span administrative regions at a party meeting, or plenum, in October.
Exploring administrative divisions that would go across the courts and the prosecutors would “help eliminate interference in judicial and procuratorial work to ensure that the courts and prosecutors are independent and impartial”, Xinhua news agency said, at the conclusion of the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform, chaired by Xi.
The circuit courts would help parties “settle disputes on the spot and make it convenient for them”, Xinhua said.
The report did not say when the pilot programs would be launched.
In June, state media said provincial governments would pick judges and prosecutors and fix the budgets of local courts and procuratorates. The system currently gives local governments greater sway in appointments.
Since he took office in March 2013, Xi has called for judicial independence under the party. But at the same time, his administration has detained hundreds of dissidents in what some activists say is the worst suppression of human rights in two decades.
Despite the legal reforms, Xi has shown no interest in political change. It is uncertain how much of an impact the plenum’s policies will have. Laws are often not enforced and can be abused by the police.
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