Full Text: White Paper on Judicial Reform in China

Updated: 2012-10-09 13:12


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4. Restrictions on Application of Custody

In order to safeguard public safety and guarantee the smooth conduct of criminal case investigation, Chinese law specifies both custodial and non-custodial measures to be imposed on a criminal suspect or defendant as well as the strict conditions of their application. To further regulate the application of these compulsory measures and strengthen the protection of civil rights, the Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 further improves the compulsory custodial measures.

Refining conditions and approval procedures for arrest. The newly revised Criminal Procedure Law clearly defines social risk criteria of offences, stipulating that when a people's procuratorate reviews and approves an arrest application it may question the suspect. It must question the suspect when it doubts whether the conditions for arrest are met, or the suspect requests to give a statement to the prosecutor face to face, or the investigation may have been in serious violation of the law. If the defense attorney asks to express his opinion, this request should be granted. These provisions help investigators and the investigating authorities get a thorough understanding of the case, and an accurate grasp of the conditions for arrest, thus avoid putting someone in custody by mistake.

Establishing a system of review over the necessity of detention. After a criminal suspect or defendant is arrested, the people's procuratorate should still check the necessity for detention. If the detention is found to be not necessary, the judicial authorities concerned should be advised to release the detainee or alter the compulsory measures.

Improving the procedures for terminating and altering compulsory measures imposed on detained suspects or defendants. The people's court, people's procuratorate or public security organ shall cancel or alter the compulsory measures promptly or release the detained person upon expiration of the statutory period for custody or as soon as they find that the custody measures imposed on a suspect or a defendant are not appropriate. The criminal suspect, defendant, his statutory representative, close relative or defender are entitled to request an alteration of the compulsory measures imposed, and the relevant authority shall respond within three days.

Expanding application of residential surveillance and reducing application of detention. The Criminal Procedure Law revised in 2012 defined residential surveillance as an alternative to detention. It puts under residential surveillance those who meet the conditions for arrest but are seriously ill and unable to take care of themselves, or pregnant women or women currently breastfeeding their own babies, or someone who is the only caregiver of a person who cannot take care of himself/herself.