77 judges in Gansu are mul­ti­lin­gual, up from fewer than 10 three years ago

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top court said on Thurs­day that it will take a se­ries of mea­sures this year to ed­u­cate more eth­nic ju­di­cial tal­ent in or­der to solve le­gal dis­putes in re­gions in­hab­ited by eth­nic groups more ef­fi­ciently.

The ma­jor mea­sures in­clude ju­di­cial ex­changes and the pub­li­ca­tion of le­gal ma­te­ri­als in eth­nic lan­guages, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court.

Un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, eth­nic lit­i­gants have the right to use their lan­guage to file a law­suit.

“We will send more judges from the high­est jus­tice chamber and courts in de­vel­oped cities to western re­gions, while wel­com­ing those from ar­eas in­hab­ited by eth­nic groups to east­ern re­gions to ed­u­cate them on case hear­ings,” said Xu Ji­axin, di­rec­tor of the SPC’s po­lit­i­cal depart­ment.

The ex­change will help nar­row the gap in le­gal re­sources across the coun­try, Xu said.

Mean­while, the top court plans to pub­lish le­gal ma­te­ri­als — such as law dic­tio­nar­ies and ju­di­cial in­ter­pre­ta­tions — in eth­nic lan­guages later this year, the state­ment said.

“We want to in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple who can pro­vide le­gal ser­vices for eth­nic lit­i­gants and en­sure ac­cess to jus­tice in re­gions in­hab­ited by eth­nic groups,” Xu said.

In 2015, the top court launched a pro­ject to train 1,500 judges to speak eth­nic lan­guages by 2020, “and we’ve made fur­ther ef­forts since then”, he said.

Last year, for ex­am­ple, the top court went to the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion to pro­vide train­ing ses­sions to more than 1,500 lo­cal judges and co­op­er­ated with three colleges, in­clud­ing Minzu Univer­sity of China, to ed­u­cate eth­nic stu­dents on law.

“Deal­ing with cases in eth­nic lan­guages will en­sure eth­nic lit­i­gants can bet­ter un­der­stand laws and ac­cept ver­dicts. More­over, it’s a way of pro­tect­ing their rights,” Xu said.

He Zi­jun, a judge from North­west China’s Gansu prov­ince, where the eth­nic pop­u­la­tion is about 2.4 mil­lion, said that the num­ber of peo­ple who can hear cases and trans­late le­gal doc­u­ments in eth­nic lan­guages in­creased to 77 last year, com­pared with fewer than 10 three years ago.

“Judges in our prov­ince have re­ceived a to­tal of 74 train­ing ses­sions on how to speak Mon­go­lian and Ti­betan lan­guages, which helps them to com­mu­ni­cate with eth­nic lit­i­gants,” He said.

In the past, some Ti­betan lit­i­gants mis­took a sus­pended death sen­tence to mean the re­lease of a de­fen­dant, be­cause the le­gal jar­gon has no equiv­a­lent word­ing in their lan­guage, he said.

“The lan­guage bar­rier made it dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate and state facts clearly dur­ing case hear­ings,” he added.

How­ever, af­ter learn­ing some Ti­betan lan­guages in the train­ing ses­sions, “it’s eas­ier for us to ex­plain ver­dicts to Ti­betans and to solve their dis­putes”, he added.

Xu Ji­axin, di­rec­tor of the top court’s po­lit­i­cal depart­ment

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