A surprisingly high number of National People's Congress deputies yesterday declined to support reports on crime and corruption. Deputies said the abstentions and votes against the reports from the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court reflected dissatisfaction with the progress the departments were making. Of the 2,682 deputies at yesterday's closing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, 1,883 voted in favour of the procuratorate's report, with 431 voting against, 291 abstentions and 72 non-votes. The report submitted by Ren Jianxin, head of the Supreme People's Court, fared slightly better, with 2,168 votes in favour, 243 against, 208 abstentions and 63 non-votes. 'The fight against crime is very important and more attention should be paid to this issue,' said a deputy from Hunan. A deputy from Heilongjiang said: 'The anti-corruption campaign needs to be intensified because the people are very concerned about this problem.' Apart from the two judicial reports, most of the other seven motions voted on in the one-hour closing session passed with comfortable majorities. Premier Li Peng's work report on the Ninth Five-Year Plan and long-term plan for economic development received the highest vote with 2,611 in favour, nine against, 23 abstentions and 36 non-votes. The law giving the special economic zones of Shantou and Zhuhai greater legislative autonomy received 2,229 votes in favour. The revised criminal procedure law received 2,504 in favour and the administrative punishment law, 2,440 votes in favour. The two laws are aimed at improving protection of people's rights. 'The two new laws have one thing in common: they both ensure that the innocent shall be free from punishment, whereas law-breakers shall be effectively dealt with,' said Chen Guangzhong, president of the China University of Political Science and Law. 'Adoption of the two laws is an indication that the state has further improved its ability to protect the rights and interests of its citizens,' he said. The amended criminal procedural law abolishes unsupervised detention by police of suspects for investigation for an indefinite period. It also prevents suspects being convicted on prosecution evidence without going to trial, as sometimes occurs. According to the amended law, defendants should have access to lawyers much earlier. The law establishes the principle that no one shall be deemed guilty until convicted by a court of law. The law on administrative punishment defines detailed procedures in meting out penalties. Diplomats welcomed the revisions to criminal procedure, saying the move to ensure suspects were deemed innocent until found guilty by a court brought China into line with United Nations requirements. The state budget report, which often receives a relatively low level of support from regional deputies unhappy at the tax and revenue split between the central and regional governments, won 2,411 votes in favour, with 125 against and 106 abstentions.