Top justice targets judicial misconduct

Updated: 2006-10-31 08:44

China's Chief Justice Xiao Yang yesterday blasted judicial corruption and pledged to severely punish crooked judges to restore public confidence in nation's justice system.

In a report submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Xiao told the country's top lawmakers that despite progress in judicial reform, misconduct by judges and unfair court rulings remain.

"Some judges take bribes, abuse their judicial power and indulge in loose lifestyles. Some crooked court leaders promote their allies, causing chronic corruption in local judicial circles," said Xiao.

"Corruption has left an extremely bad impression with the general public and tarnished the reputation of the courts," said Xiao, president of Supreme People's Court.

On last Wednesday, Zhang Zimin, a former judge in east China's Anhui Province, was tried for bribery involving more than 800,000 yuan (US$100,000) and for being unable to account for an income of 580,000 yuan.

The scandal also brought down his predecessor Liu Jiayi, two of Zhang's former deputies - Zhu Ya and Wang Jianmin - and four subordinate judges in the Fuyang City court.

The chief justice's report did not provide details on the number of judges under investigation. The most recent statistics available show that 461 judges were punished for graft in 2004.

Xiao's report also shows that more than 800,000 court orders nationwide have not been implemented, prompting public dissatisfaction in the justice system.

Addressing the nearly 200 legislators, Xiao said he will try his best to reverse current judicial vices as part of an ongoing three-year reform, focusing on building an effective mechanism for strict law enforcement.

"All violators will be severely punished," Xiao said.

He said lower courts across the country will also be pushed to establish an accountability system for implementing court orders.

Early in the year, the Supreme People's Court sent three research groups to lower courts to analyze failures to implement court orders.

In China's legal system, court officials are responsible for implementing court orders. These orders, especially compensation in economic disputes, are frequently delayed due to the negligence of court officials or because they were bribed.