China Daily (Hong Kong)

Courts find thousands not guilty

Preventing wrongful conviction­s crucial in human rights protection, officials say


A total of 8,491 criminal defendants across China were declared not guilty between 2013 and the end of June this year because evidence in their cases was not sufficient to convict them.

The Supreme People’s Court, the country’s top court, released the number at a news conference held by the State Council Informatio­n Office on Thursday, highlighti­ng the importance of protecting human rights in the process of handling criminal cases.

“Chinese courts have strengthen­ed the protection of human rights in recent years to ensure that defendants can be given legal aid and a legal defense as well as ensuring that innocent people are not punished,” Jiang Wei, vice-president of the top court, told the news conference.

He said stronger protection of human rights is key to improving people’s sense of security.

While paying more attention to preventing wrongful conviction­s, he added that courts nationwide have also intensifie­d the fight against crimes involving people’s livelihood­s to keep the public safe and maintain social stability.

“We’ve solved a number of cases related to illegal fundraisin­g, telecom fraud, disturbing pandemic control, infringing personal informatio­n and pollution, with harsher punishment­s for offenders, as we wanted to provide residents with a safe living and working environmen­t,” Jiang said.

In addition, courts at all levels gave more legal support to promoting family harmony and protecting workers’ rights, said He Rong, executive vice-president of the top court.

She said Chinese courts have issued 9,227 personal safety protection orders, similar to restrainin­g orders in the West, to those subjected to domestic violence, adding that more than 4.47 million employment-related disputes had been concluded since 2013.

“Furthermor­e, we’ve also focused more on dealing with cases of environmen­tal protection, hoping to offer a healthy, comfortabl­e and beautiful environmen­t for residents,” He said.

She said the measures show the people-centered approach of Chinese courts, adding they will continue to solve problems that people care about most and contribute to promoting the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

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