Judicial Reform

Communist Party committees are meddling less in courtrooms: judges

In leaked comments from a teleconference this year, minister of public security Meng Jianzhu criticised the old system in which the party instructed courts on how to rule on cases. Photo: ImagineChina

Communist Party officials are interfering less in court hearings amid a push by Beijing to reform the country’s legal system, judges and legal experts said.

Friday, 13 December, 2013, 2:53am 1 comment

Pedigree of top judge Zhou Qiang offers hope for legal reform

Zhou Qiang, new chief of the Supreme People's Court. Photo: Simon Song

Unlike his predecessor Wang Shengjun, a party official with a police background who never studied law, Zhou Qiang, 53, was one of the country's first law students after the Cultural Revolution. He joined Southwest University of Political Science and Law in 1978 and graduated with a master's degree in civil law in 1985.

4 Apr 2013 - 5:50am 1 comment

Law officials' five-yearly reports to NPC tout reforms but lack details

Wang Shengjun (front, right), the nation's top judge, confers with Procurator General Cao Jianming at the NPC session. Photo: AP

The mainland's top judge and prosecutor delivered their five-yearly work reports yesterday, promising to deepen judicial reforms and touting their achievements in cracking down on graft, but disappointing legal experts who hoped for wider reforms.

11 Mar 2013 - 6:06am

To protect China's environment, make its courts independent

The silhouettes of buildings are seen through haze in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

I was recently invited to give a lecture at the Wuhan University School of Law on the topic of environmental protection laws and the judicial system in Hong Kong. On a cold morning, I took an early train from Shenzhen to Wuhan on the high-speed rail line. Looking out of the window, I saw the scenery submerged in a grey haze, which deepened as we travelled north.

9 Feb 2013 - 2:57am 1 comment

People's Daily announces end to re-education through labour, but only for Guangdong

A formal decision is expected to be made in March at the annual NPC/CPPCC sessions in Beijing. Meanwhile, Guangzhou police advocate legalisation of caning.

31 Jan 2013 - 11:43am

Bo Xilai case is the biggest test for China's legal progress since Gang of Four trial

Illustration: Craig Stephens

Beijing's pending prosecution of deposed Politburo member Bo Xilai and the recent murder conviction of his wife, Gu Kailai , have again brought China's criminal justice system to world attention. Having detained Bo in March, not until October did the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection turn him over to the state prosecutors for indictment.

4 Jan 2013 - 3:26am

Time to put China's amended criminal law to the test

Wang Shengjun, president of the Supreme People's Court. Photo: Simon Song

The good news as 2013 opens is that there is movement in judicial reform in China as amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law come into effect. Among other things, the amended law offers protection against self-incrimination and excludes the use of illegally obtained evidence. Such reforms were long overdue.

2 Jan 2013 - 4:51am 1 comment

All Chinese, even party officials, must abide by the constitution

Xi Jinping has hinted about the need for legal restraints on China's Communist Party. Photo: Xinhua

China's new leaders are giving every impression that they intend to govern the country in accordance with its constitution. At an event last week to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1982 constitution, the new Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping said that without implementation, the constitution would be just a piece of paper - lifeless and without authority. His remarks hit home.

13 Dec 2012 - 4:30am 3 comments

Chen Kegui case shows rule of law still weak in China

Chinese civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng managed to exile to US under his nephew Chen Kegui's assistance. Photo: EPA

Resisting police usually leads to charges that are local news at best. What sets the case of 32-year-old Chen Kegui apart is that he is the nephew of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who caused a diplomatic tussle when he escaped from his guarded village home in Shandong to the American embassy in Beijing, before leaving for the US.

11 Dec 2012 - 2:44am 3 comments

Citing fear for 'McCarthy hearing', ex-justice chief Elsie Leung snubs lawmakers

Elsie Leung Oi-sie

Former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie has invoked the spectre of McCarthyism in refusing to attend a Legislative Council meeting to explain her contentious remarks about the legal profession.

22 Nov 2012 - 7:25am 21 comments

Elsie Leung snubs lawmakers with McCarthy comment

Former Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie. Photo: Sam Tsang

Elsie Leung snubbed lawmakers’ who had asked her to come to a Legislative Council’s panel on legal affairs meeting, saying she feared it might turn into something akin to the McCarthy hearings.

21 Nov 2012 - 9:47pm 2 comments

Silvio Berlusconi vows to stay in politics to reform juctice system

A typically unabashed Silvio Berlusconi vowed yesterday to stay in politics to reform the very justice system that sentenced him to jail for tax fraud, but said he would not seek the premiership again.

28 Oct 2012 - 3:27am

Judicial reform will strengthen China's rule of law

The flagrant abuses uncovered in the cases of Gu Kailai (centre), Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai bring home the critical importance of the rule of law. Photo: AP

The release of China's white paper on judicial reform could not be more timely. Calls for change are ringing loud as the Communist Party prepares to hold its 18th national congress. The white paper's release this month places judicial reform squarely at the heart of political reform.

25 Oct 2012 - 7:19am

Talking Points

MTR brings in restrictions on the weight of baggage to 32 kg.

MTR weight limit kicks in

9 Oct 2012 - 5:04am