Re­port: Ju­di­ciary pro­tects hu­man rights

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

China’s ju­di­cial sys­tem has im­proved hu­man rights pro­tec­tions since the 18th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in 2012, ac­cord­ing to a sum­mary pub­lished on Satur­day un­der the name “Qi Ju” in the over­seas edi­tion of Peo­ple’s Daily, the of­fi­cial news­pa­per of the CPC. The ar­ti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished in Chi­nese. Fol­low­ing is a trans­lated sum­mary, edited for length and clar­ity:

The ju­di­ciary is the last line of de­fense in safe­guard­ing so­cial fair­ness and jus­tice. Since 2012, sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments have been made in pro­mot­ing leg­is­la­tion based on ra­tio­nal anal­y­sis, strict law en­force­ment, ju­di­cial jus­tice and ob­ser­vance of the law by all cit­i­zens.

The coun­try has strength­ened ju­di­cial pro­tec­tions of hu­man rights, in­clud­ing ef­forts to al­lo­cate ju­di­cial pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in a more ra­tio­nal way and im­prov­ing ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency.

The coun­try has abol­ished the sys­tem of re-ed­u­ca­tion through la­bor and es­tab­lished a na­tional ju­di­cial as­sis­tance sys­tem.

Re­forms have been ad­vanced to en­sure that cases FIVE YEARS ON are filed and prop­erly han­dled. Ju­di­cial or­gans have im­ple­mented the prin­ci­ple of pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence and ex­clu­sion of un­law­ful ev­i­dence.

China strictly lim­its the death penalty and em­ploys it with pru­dence.

De­tainees’ rights and in­ter­ests are guar­an­teed by im­proved con­di­tions of pris­ons and de­ten­tion houses and en­hanced scru­tiny of su­per­vi­sory ac­tiv­i­ties. Com­mu­ta­tion, pa­role and ex­e­cu­tion of sen­tences out­side prison safe­guards de­tainees’ per­sonal dig­nity, safety, prop­erty and the rights of de­fense and ap­peal.

Pro­tect­ing lawyers

China has made or re­vised laws and reg­u­la­tions to en­sure lawyers’ right of prac­tice. In 2015, reg­u­la­tions were is­sued to make clear var­i­ous mea­sures to pro­tect lawyers’ rights of prac­tice, in­clud­ing the right to know, to meet their clients and read case files.

By March 2017, all 31 pro­vin­cial-level lawyer as­so­ci­a­tions had es­tab­lished lawyer rights pro­tec­tion cen­ters. In April, a cir­cu­lar was jointly is­sued by var­i­ous au­thor­i­ties to fur­ther clar­ify dif­fer­ent de­part­ments’ du­ties in safe­guard­ing lawyers’ rights to prac­tice.

En­sur­ing jus­tice

Ju­di­cial or­gans na­tion­wide have im­ple­mented the prin­ci­ple of the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence to pre­vent and cor­rect mis­car­riages of jus­tice.

In 2013, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity is­sued a cir­cu­lar on im­prov­ing law en­force­ment to pre­vent mis­car­riages, along with other doc­u­ments to pre­vent im­proper ver­dicts and im­prove real-time scru­tiny of law en­force­ment.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice strength­ened foren­sic as­sess­ment man­age­ment and fur­ther reg­u­lated such ac­tiv­i­ties, and the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate re­leased a cir­cu­lar to pre­vent and cor­rect mis­car­riages of jus­tice by im­prov­ing procu­ra­to­rial func­tions, in­clud­ing scru­ti­niz­ing all ac­tiv­i­ties con­cern­ing ev­i­dence, pro­ce­dures and ap­pli­ca­tion of law, im­prov­ing the sys­tem of dis­cov­ery, cor­rect­ing and pre­vent­ing im­proper ver­dicts and hold­ing those re­spon­si­ble ac­count­able.

The Supreme Peo­ple’s Court stip­u­lated that de­fen­dants should be ac­quit­ted if ev­i­dence is in­suf­fi­cient.


Rules of ev­i­dence

China has clar­i­fied its laws to ex­clude un­law­ful ev­i­dence and pro­tect the rights and in­ter­ests of crim­i­nal sus­pects.

The Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Law re­vised in 2012 makes clear that con­fes­sions ex­torted by tor­ture, or wit­ness tes­ti­mony and de­po­si­tions of vic­tims ob­tained il­le­gally, such as by vi­o­lence or threats, should be ex­cluded from tri­als.

In June, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, the Min­istry of State Se­cu­rity, and the Min­istry of Jus­tice jointly re­leased a reg­u­la­tion on the ex­clu­sion of il­le­gally ob­tained ev­i­dence in crim­i­nal cases.

De­fend­ers of crim­i­nal sus­pects are al­lowed to ask that il­le­gal ev­i­dence be ruled out dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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