Judge issues reform plea to courts
Updated: 2012-12-27 07:10
By Zhang Yan (China Daily)
Official calls for greater political courage, wisdom
The top Chinese judge on Wednesday urged courts to have greater "political courage and wisdom" in promoting a new round of judicial reform.
He also told them to "resolutely get rid of" all ideological and systematic obstacles that hinder justice.
"Judicial impartiality is the lifeblood of the court, and the cornerstone of public trust. We should listen carefully to the public and truly understand the expectations of the public," said Wang Shengjun, president of the Supreme People's Court.
"We shall exercise jurisdiction lawfully and independently and never allow power to oppress law."
The remarks were made at the top court's two-day annual work conference, which began on Wednesday in Beijing.
Wang said that in recent years the number of court cases has increased rapidly in recent years.
Figures from the top court show that since 2008, courts have handled 55.25 million cases and concluded 53.57 million cases, up 27.3 percent and 25.8 percent respectively on the numbers from 2003 to 2007.
Wang said Chinese courts face a tougher task in maintaining national economic security amid a gloomy world economy and rising trade protectionism globally.
Domestically, the country is experiencing a social transformation and seeing a large number of social conflicts.
Unbalanced and unsustainable development has also caused many problems, which makes courts' tasks and responsibilities even heavier, he said.
There is also growing resentment among the public to social injustice, and expectations of a fair, open and democratic judicial system, Wang said.
He promised further judicial reform, also a requirement from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November.
"We shall carry on the implementation of existing reform measures and push forward a new round of reform with greater political courage and wisdom," Wang said.
As for the direction of future reforms, Wang said courts will carefully study and draft measures to exclude all types of interference to ensure judicial impartiality, and will also improve judicial openness.
"We fully understand the concerns of the public and the media on some 'hot cases', and will adopt a sincere and humble attitude while enhancing communication with society," Wang said.
"Especially for some cases that have received public skepticism, we must publish the facts (of the case) whenever the time is proper, and fully explain the reasons for the verdict to win understanding and support from society as much as possible," he said.
Hong Daode, a law professor with China University of Political Science and Law, said it is encouraging that the top court is promising further judicial reform, but the reform could be very difficult.
"In China, the powers among judicial organs - public security, prosecuting authorities and courts - are restricted to each other. Sometimes, courts' rulings can be affected by the police and prosecutors," he said.
Hong said judicial reforms require the efforts of all judicial organs, and even a reform of the political system.
(China Daily 12/27/2012 page5)