CHINA'S top judge has pledged to open up the judicial process to ''mass supervision'' and to fight governmental interference. In an unprecedented move, President of the Supreme People's Court, Ren Jianxin, also vowed to punish judicial and police officers responsible for wrongly adjudicated cases or other instances of the miscarriage of justice. Speaking at the end of a five-day meeting of the country's senior judicial cadres, Mr Ren said the ''serious enforcement of the law was the holy task of the people's judges'' as well as a guarantee of ''the stability of the order of the market economy''. For the first time since the communists swept to power in 1949, Mr Ren promised to ''put the entire adjudication process under the supervision of the masses through open investigations, open cross-examination, open debate and open sentencing''. ''We must uphold the principle of open adjudication and earnestly safeguard the litigational rights of people who take part in lawsuits,'' the People's Daily yesterday quoted participants in the meeting as saying. The semi-official China News Service (CNS) last night quoted Mr Ren's deputy, Gao Changli, as saying the courts must observe the principle of every citizen being equal before the law. Mr Gao added that under the premise of the socialist market system, the judiciary should ''establish the principle of equal competition''. While insisting that the judicial process remained under the leadership of the Communist Party, Mr Ren urged his colleagues and staff to ''carry out their adjudicational functions and prerogatives independently and according to the law''. The chief judge, who is also a member of the party Central Committee's policy-setting Secretariat, said the judiciary must rectify cases of failure to handle cases according to the law. ''Phenomena of the lack of seriousness in law enforcement and unfair adjudication still arise occasionally,'' CNS quoted Mr Ren as saying. ''And the reactions of the masses are strong. ''It won't do if we do not made up our mind to comprehensively raise the judiciary's level [of competence]''. Mr Ren blamed cases of miscarriage of justice by local courts on ''interference from regional and departmental protectionism'', implying that government ministries as well as regional cadres had intruded upon judicial independence. CNS reported that the courts were about to establish a ''system to investigate wrongly adjudicated cases''. ''Staffers who have illegally handled cases will face investigations into their administrative and legal responsibility,'' CNS said. ''Cases which have not been adjudicated fairly or mistaken actions in the course of law enforcement must be rectified according to the law.'' Liberal jurists in China, however, have cast doubts upon Mr Ren's promises. ''Ren Jianxin has stopped short of guaranteeing that all trials be open to the public,'' a constitutional lawyer in Beijing said. ''Many upcoming trials involving dissidents or cases where 'state secrets' may be discussed will be closed to even the families of the accused.'' Intellectuals in Shanghai said relatives of Fu Shenqi were last Tuesday barred from attending the proceedings by the Huangpu District Court on an appeal lodged by the dissident against his three-year sentence to a re-education through labour camp. Shanghai sources said last night Fu's wife, Li Liping, had been detained by Shanghai security for allegedly protesting against the ''lawlessness'' of the city's judicial system.