NPC & CPPCC > Delegates Proposals

Lawmaker calls for legislation for witnesses, informants

Updated: 2009-03-11 17:02

BEIJING -- A Chinese lawmaker has proposed to make "as early as possible" a law to protect witnesses and informants to encourage more people to appear before court without worrying about retaliation.

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 NPC and CPPCC 2009

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Xu Zhihui, director of the Beijing Dingye Law Office, said on the sidelines of the annual legislative session, that currently very few witnesses would appear before court in China due to worries of possible revenge, though providing testimony is obligatory in Chinese laws.

"Witnesses and informants are vital in tracking down criminals and in trials, and they can greatly help judges find out the truth in civil cases," said Xu, a deputy to the National People's Congress.

However, Xu said only about 10 percent of witnesses attend court in civil cases and merely one to two percent are present in criminal trials at present.

Xu said the lack of a protection system would "greatly dampen witnesses' enthusiasm" and thus "bring negative impact on China's legal development."

A "defense" mechanism has been added to the country's trial procedures which requires the appearance of witnesses, making the legislation on witness protection more necessary, Xu said.

Local procuratorates have tried some protection measures, such as "tip-offs in back rooms" and "24-hour temporary habeas corpus", among others, adopted by the People's Procuratorate in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, he said.

"But these measures are far from being able to meet the current demand," Xu said.

A message from the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), or the parliament, tells saving energy and protecting environment is a big government agenda.