Central authorities are stepping up measures to prevent the misuse of the party's authority to protect cadres from court action. The Communist Party's Political Legal Commission has identified major problems with law enforcement and ordered courts to tackle the issue and produce results by the end of the year. The scale of the problem was highlighted with the discovery that 850,000 cases involving 253 billion yuan (HK$235 billion) had not been dealt with. The number of cases remaining open rose to 530,000 last year from 240,000 in 1995, indicating the legal process was being obstructed and that some people stayed on bail while prosecutions failed to proceed. Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court, said: 'Courts are facing extreme difficulties in enforcing the law. This has frustrated the judicial system and affected the country's open reform and economic reconstruction.' Some authorities said the biggest obstacle stemmed from the fact that cadres were being protected. Some officials had established strategies to protect their interests. They delayed or stopped the law being implemented to protect some offenders. The commission ordered a thorough investigation to weed out these illegal activities. In some cases, officials ignored rulings, destroyed court orders and, in some cases, resorted to violence to avoid punishment.