Donald Trump

China judge blasts Trump as ‘enemy of the rule of law’

Supreme Court jurist’s comments made after US president attacked an American judge for blocking his administration’s travel ban on seven mainly Muslim nations

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 12:19am

A senior judge in China has branded Donald Trump “an enemy of the rule of law” and protested how judicial independence in the US was being trampled on.

These were some of the harsh words from Supreme People’s Court judge He Fan to the newly inaugurated US president, and smacked of turning the tables.

In a WeChat post on Sunday, He criticised Trump’s serial Twitter-attacks on Seattle Federal Judge James Robart, who had suspended the president’s controversial executive order, a 90-day entry ban on refugees, visitors and permanent residents from seven majority Muslim countries.

The order had affected tens of thousands nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with valid documents to enter the US.

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The administration said the president had the authority to decide who could enter the nation. The Justice Department filed to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which was due to hear the case on Tuesday.

He, a prolific translator of American legal tomes, also recounted Trump’s pre-election track record of judge-bashing and the defence that his supporters have mounted.

“A president took the lead to blame the judge in a nation regarded as the most democratic in the world. Then the vice president and his party defended him,” He wrote. “Who cares if you control the armed forces and have nuclear weapons at your disposal. Your dignity has evaporated and you’re no different than a bastard.”

In the US, Supreme Court justices are household names, but top judges in China tend to keep a low profile and mostly out of public view. He, an advocate for greater court transparency and jury trial reform, who has nearly 120,000 followers on Sina Weibo, may be the exception in China.

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Last month, He’s boss Supreme People’s Court head Zhou Qiang instructed all top provincial judges to firmly resist “misguided” Western ideas of judicial independence and the separation of powers and warned them off the “pitfall” of embracing Western legal thought, China News Service reported. Zhou also called on judges to repudiate all criticism of the Chinese Communist Party leadership’s development of rule by law under Chinese socialism.

Zhou’s remarks prompted more than a dozen former and current Chinese lawyers to endorse a petition calling for Zhou to step down.

Concluding his post on Trump’s verbal assaults on judges, He mourned the fatal stabbing two weeks ago of a retired judge in Guangxi at the hands of a defendant whose divorce the judge had presided over nearly a quarter century ago. He lamented the lack of public outcry against violence towards judges.