China Daily (Hong Kong)
Nation’s residents accessing legal services more easily
Chinese people have been given easier access to public legal services over the past few years, as the nation’s justice system has beefed up efforts to improve them.
“We’ve accelerated the development of the public legal service system nationwide and have improved the quality of services to meet people’s increasing demands for the rule of law,” Vice-Minister of Justice Xiong Xuanguo told media on Friday.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, more than 566,000 public legal service stations have been established across the country, giving residents the ability to ask for legal help whether they live in cities or villages, he said.
In 2018, a legal service website, 12348.gov.cn, was opened to the public. Since then, it has been visited 140 million times, has held more than 39 million legal consultations and has helped people resolve more than 7.9 million legal affairs, he said.
Residents can also obtain various legal services through a hotline or a mini program on WeChat, a popular Chinese instant messaging tool.
“In other words, people can access free services at any time and from any place,” Xiong said.
To protect the legitimate rights and interests of migrant workers, the Ministry of Justice opened a quick channel to help them resolve labor disputes and dispatched lawyers to rural areas to offer legal aid, he said.
In the past three years, more than 200 lawyers were asked to go to counties without attorneys in the Tibet autonomous region to serve their residents, Xiong said.
“All the services have demonstrated our people-centered approach, and in the future, we’ll further diversify public legal services and make them more professional to improve people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness and security,” he said.
While advancing the rule of law in all respects, the ministry has also intensified efforts to safeguard national security and keep the public safe.
“We’ve increased regular inspections and prevention of security risks in prisons to ensure stability and safety in the places,” Liu Zhiqiang, another vice-minister of justice, said.
“We’ve not only guided inmates to correct mistakes in prisons, but also helped them to seek jobs to make sure they could better integrate into society after finishing their prison terms,” he added.
The ministry has connected some 186,000 former prisoners with enterprises for jobs after their release, Liu said.