Appeal for funds to improve judiciary

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 April, 1994, 12:00am

JUDICIARY officials in Fujian have admitted in their annual reports to the province's legislature that inadequate funding has hampered the administration of justice.

The situation was alarming because, while the province reported impressive economic growth last year, it also witnessed a significant increase in serious crimes.

The reports, which were approved by the province's legislators last week, raised serious questions about the quality of justice in China and reinforced the fear that suspects were often presumed guilty before trials.

For example, a report by the provincial top judge, Mr Justice Fang Zhongbing, revealed that last year 3,557 convicted criminals were given sentences ranging from five-years in jail to death.

Mr Justice Fang's report said 99.1 per cent of the trials were completed within the ''required periods'' indicating that some suspects might not have been given a proper chance to defend themselves.

Mr Justice Fang said lack of funding was also to blame for the poor quality of the judiciary. In Fujian, half of its townships and counties did not have a court house.

''We hope that the various levels of the people's congress and governments can continue to give us more assistance,'' he said.