Fighting judicial corruption

Updated: 2014-04-30 08:09

(China Daily)

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Reduced time in prison and parole have long been seen as the ways ex-officials escape the punishment they deserve for the crimes they have committed.

If such legal leniency, which is designed to be an incentive for the imprisoned to redeem themselves, is abused, the effectiveness of the fight against corruption will be greatly compromised.

The regulations on the legal procedure for obtaining commuted prison sentences or parole that the Supreme People's Court announced on Tuesday should tighten the control over the procedure and make it more difficult for such treatment to be granted to those imprisoned for abusing their power.

One of the new articles specifies that all cases involving the reduction of imprisonment and parole must be published online within five days after they are accepted. Another article states that such cases must be tried by a collegiate bench consisting of judges and most likely of a juror. These should reduce the possibility of judges abusing their power.

The regulations also specify those applications for commuted prison sentences or parole must be heard in court. For example, those whose crimes have been committed by taking advantage of their positions must be heard in court, which should make it harder for imprisoned ex-officials to wield their influence or bribe judicial personnel for reduced prison terms or a parole.

These regulations are necessary to mend the fences given the judicial corruption in this regard.

In a typical judicial corruption case, an ex-vice mayor of Jiangmen city in South China's Guangdong province was granted parole for receiving medical treatment immediately after he was given a 10-year prison sentence. He was at large for a year before an investigation prompted by whistleblowers found he had bribed both the court and prison in order to obtain the parole.

The regulations will take effect on June 1 this year, and they are expected to help maintain the authority, dignity and sanctity of the law and uphold judicial fairness.

However, an investigation is needed to find out how many imprisoned ex-officials have been granted undeserved commuted prison sentences or parole and how many judicial personnel, including judges and prison police officers, have been involved in such corrupt practices.

Corrupt officials must be punished for their crimes. And corrupt judicial officers should be no exception.