Criminal penalties designed to prompt defaulters to comply
People who refuse to comply with court verdicts will face harsher penalties and have nowhere to run, thanks to various measures made by China’s top court.
Chinese courts are trying to force defaulters to comply with verdicts through the threat of criminal charges, “in a bid to quicken enforcement,” said Wu Shaojun, deputy director of the enforcement department at the Supreme People’s Court.
Wu said that the number of defaulters penalized for refusing to comply with verdicts is rapidly increasing.
From November 2014 to July this year, defaulters in more than 2,500 cases have received penalties such as prison sentences or criminal detention, according to statistics from the top court released on Wednesday.
A revised Chinese Criminal Law increased the sentence for defaulters from three years to a maximum of seven years, from Nov 1 last year, “which helps us to fight such cases”, Wu said.
Meanwhile, a new judicial interpretation issued by the top court in July last year has also contributed, he said.
“In the interpretation, defaulters in eight situations, including hiding, destroying or transferring properties with intention, will be criminally punished,” he said.
The quicker the money is returned to creditors, the better courts can maintain justice, he added.
In one case, the Daguan District People’s Court in Anqing, Anhui province, detained Zhang Wenmiao for five months and 10 days last year after he failed to move out of a house following a divorce with his wife in 2013, according to Liu Huizhuo, a judge from the top court.
“Zhang was told several times to leave the house, as the court had awarded it to his wife. But the man ignored all the notices,” she said.
“Judges from the court had to go to the house to force him to take his belongings and leave at the end of 2013, but he still resisted and shouted loudly at them,” she said.
“In January 2014, when the judges arrived again, he hit them with wooden sticks, injuring one of them.” As his behavior was brought about by anxiety over the divorce and because he finally moved out, “we punished him leniently”, she added.
In addition, the top court introduced an online blacklist of defaulters in 2013 to encourage them to comply by disclosing their names and case details.
Statistics provided by the nation’s top judicial body also showed that between 2013 and last year, courts concluded 9.44 million verdict-enforcement cases — a rise of more than 28 percent from 2010 to 2012 — and 3.2 trillion yuan ($464 billion) was repaid, an increase of 110 percent over the same period.