Judicial reform to be gradual
Updated: 2012-10-09 23:57
By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)
Problems that emerge during China's judicial reform process can only be resolved through Chinese solutions rather than by blindly copying foreign models, a senior Party official said on Tuesday.
China should draw on the experience of other countries but should not copy them indiscriminately, said Jiang Wei, a senior official with the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform of the Communist Party of China.
He said China's judicial system should be based on the reality that it is a populous developing nation where economic and social conditions still do not satisfy increasing expectations of social justice.
Judicial reform remains a long and arduous task, he said, stressing that there is no "best" system in the world, but simply systems that suit particular countries.
"Reforms will be a gradual process, not realized overnight. They will not be achieved by a simple case of reconstruction after destruction, but by steady progress and improvement," he said.
Jiang made the remarks while addressing China's first white paper on judicial reform during a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.
According to the white paper, released on Tuesday morning, the ultimate purpose of judicial reform is to maintain social fairness and justice, and to protect human rights.
Jiang said the paper demonstrates the government's determination to promote the rule of law.
Initiated in the 1980s, China's judicial reform process was aimed at promoting the transparency of trials, training professional judges and prosecutors, and increasing the involvement of lawyers in trials. The reforms were expanded in 2004 to meet a rising demand from the public for judicial fairness, according to the paper.
Chen Weidong, a professor from the Law School of Renmin University of China, said the government's intention in issuing the white paper was to win over more understanding of China's judicial system from the international community.
Chen said he regarded the protection of human rights as the most significant progress achieved by the reforms. Human rights protection was included in the Constitution in 2004 and written into the newly revised Criminal Procedure Law this year.
Zhao Bingzhi, dean of the Criminal Law Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, said the reform process is in "deep water", faced with institutional problems including power redistribution among judicial organs.
He suggested that inviting public oversight of the reform process could help to overcome some of the problems faced.
According to the white paper, lawyers across China defended 2.4 million criminal cases from 2006 to 2011, up 54 percent over the period between 2001 and 2005. By the end of 2011, China had more than 3,600 legal assistance agencies, 14,000 full-time legal assistance personnel, 215,000 lawyers and 73,000 community-level legal service personnel.