Full Text: White Paper on Judicial Reform in China

Updated: 2012-10-09 13:12


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2. Objectives, Principles and Process of China's Judicial Reform

Since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies, China has witnessed rapid economic and social development, and the public's awareness of the importance of the rule of law has been remarkably enhanced. Due to the profound changes in the judicial environment, judicial work in China is facing new situations and problems. The defects and rigidity in China's current judicial system and its work mechanism are becoming increasingly prominent, and they need to be improved gradually through reform.

The fundamental objectives of China's judicial reform are to ensure that the people's courts and people's procuratorates exercise adjudicative power and procuratorial power fairly and independently; to establish an impartial, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system; and to provide solid and reliable judicial guarantee for safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the people, social equity and justice, and lasting national stability.

China carries out judicial reform based on its national conditions. It draws on the sound practices of other countries but does not blindly copy them; it keeps pace with the times but does not advance rashly and blindly. It sticks to the line of relying on the people, strives to meet their expectations, tackles problems of particular concern to the people, and subjects itself to their supervision and examination, so as to ensure the reform is for the people, relies on the people and benefits the people. It pushes forward the reform in accordance with the law, abiding by the Constitution and other laws and regulations, while those measures that contravene the laws in force should only be implemented after the laws are revised. It adheres to the principle of overall planning and coordination, comprehensive designing, and proceeding in an orderly and gradual way.

As early as in the 1980s, China started reforms in court trials and ensuring professionalism in judicature, focusing on enhancing the function of court trials, expanding the openness of trials, improving attorney defense functions, and training professional judges and procurators.

In 2004, China launched large-scale judicial reforms based on overall planning, deployment and implementation. Starting with issues that caused complaints from the public and the key links that hamper judicial justice, according to the demands of promoting judicial impartiality and strict enforcement of the law, and proceeding from the regular pattern and characteristics of judicial practice, China improved the structure of its judicial organs, division of judicial functions and system of judicial management, to establish a judicial system featuring clearly defined power and responsibilities, mutual collaboration and restraint, and highly efficient operation. Thereby, China's judicial reform entered a phase of overall planning and advancing in an orderly way.

Since 2008, China has initiated a new round of judicial reform, and entered a stage of deepening in key areas and overall advancement. The reform proceeds from the demands of the public for justice, with safeguarding the people's common interests as its fundamental task, promoting social harmony as the main principle and strengthening supervision and restraint of power as priority. China aims to tackle problems in the key links that hamper judicial justice and restrain judicial capability, remove existing barriers in the institutional setup and operational mechanism as well as provision of legal guarantee, and put forward the specific tasks for judicial reform in four aspects - optimizing the allocation of judicial functions and power, implementing the policy of balancing leniency and severity, building up the ranks of judicial workers, and ensuring judicial funding. Currently, the tasks of this round of judicial reform have been basically completed, as relevant laws have been amended and improved. As China is making continuous progress in economic and social development, its judicial reform is bound to advance further.