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Advancing the rule of the law in China

Reporter: Guan Yang 丨 CCTV.com

12-04-2014 13:48 BJT

Just over a month ago, the fourth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China announced a communique that focuses on comprehensively advancing the rule of law in China. 

For years, administrative proceedings have probably been the most sensitive part of China's judicial system. They have often been at the center of attention. In recent months, the intermediate people’s court of Shenyang has carried out a reform, ordering the city’s district courts to collaborate on administrative prosecutions, a case from one district must be heard at a court in a different district.

"The number of appeals after the first trial has significantly dropped to about 20 percent. The result did match our expectations since interference from officials who stuck together from the same district has been cut. We think this step is in keeping with the country's overall judicial reform plan, that is to safeguard judicial justice and to improve judicial credibility," said Zhu Yan, presiding judge of Administration Proceeding of Shenyang Intermediate People's Court.

But China's judicial reform plan has a much wider scope than just swapping trial locations in the lower courts.

The ultimate goal is to govern the nation in line with the Constitution. There should be no meddling from officials in judicial cases, no matter how powerful someone is, the law is above everything. And China will ensure, through the leadership of the CPC, that it is “the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.”

"I think the reason why the country's top decision-makers have vowed to advance the rule of law as its central theme for the first time during a plenary session of the CPC Central Committee is that we are at a crossroads of socialist modernization, and the way to a modernized society must include to rule the country in line with the Constitution," said Yang Song, dean of Law School of Liaoning University.

Many of the reform initiatives touch upon the country's most complicated issues, such as separating grassroots courts from local governments and promoting transparency of government affairs.

"As the reforms are being implemented, we should start simultaneously to build a shield system which ensures those who handle the legal cases, like judges and lawyers, are not intimidated by unlawful forces and can reach their decisions without any interference," Yang said.

And perhaps the most difficult part of the reform is to conquer the resistance that follows.

To realize the rule of law, the country should be governed in line with the Constitution. And only by safeguarding judicial organs' independent practices of justice, free of influences such as administrative orders, personal relations or money, can the public feel there is equity, equality and justice in the judicial process.

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