Govt vows no tolerance for judicial corruption

By Cao Yin and Luo Wangshu (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-11 07:31

China's top court will deal severely this year with judicial employees who break the law or violate discipline, as authorities move to prevent corruption and keep the system clean, the top court's president said on Monday.

In 2013, 381 judicial workers, including judges and prosecutors, were investigated on suspicion of violating laws and discipline. Of the 381, 101 received criminal punishments, according to the work report of the Supreme People's Court.

Zhou Qiang, president of the top court, said that authorities will issue a guideline to regulate the discipline of judges, including stricter education and supervision.

The top court is going to focus especially on judicial workers who illegally use State-financed cars and punish judges and other high-level officials who are found to have part-time jobs in enterprises, Zhou added.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate has also created a special section on its website where citizens can report prosecutors they suspect of breaching laws or discipline, said Procurator-General Cao Jianming.

Prosecuting authorities investigated 210 prosecutors for violations of laws and disciplines over the past year, up 26.2 percent year-on-year, the authority said.

The tough posture against judicial corruption was heatedly discussed among delegates at the two sessions.

NPC deputy Zhou Guangquan said that judges should pay more attention to cases instead of focusing on administrative affairs.

In some cases, judges are not delivering final verdicts, but chief judges or even court presidents are, said Zhou, who is also a law professor at Tsinghua University. Judicial corruption will be hard to prevent if such situations continue, he added.

In China, when judges are promoted to chief judge or court president, some pay more attention to administrative affairs than criminal cases.

It is difficult to hear cases independently because judges with administrative titles have to follow local governments' lead. "In other words, justice is not the top priority in some corrupt judicial officials' view," he said. He said this is why he suggested eliminating administrative affairs in the system.

Deng Hui, a deputy from Jiangxi province, agreed with Zhou, saying judicial corruption creates more public dissatisfaction because the judges breaking laws are the ones busy with legal affairs.

As a result, certain corrupt judicial officials get more attention from citizens, such as the case involving four judicial staff members in Shanghai last year, Deng said.

In early August, the four, including Chen Xueming and Zhao Minghua - senior judges from the high people's court of the city - were suspended after accusations that they had patronized prostitutes.

The scandal made headlines after an online video showed the group of court officials walking arm-in-arm with female karaoke partners at a hotel on June 2.

"'Judge' means 'justice', so their mistakes angered the public," said Deng, who is also deputy principal of Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics.

Both deputies suggested providing more protection for those who use their real identities to report someone suspected of corruption.

"Corruption reports with real names are a necessity because anonymous tips are hard to prove," Zhou said. "Prosecutors can contact whistle-blowers who have provided their real names and ask for evidence, which increases the possibility of stopping corruption. Anonymous reports are not reliable."

Deng agreed, saying the real-name reporting system will hang over the heads of judges who are tempted into corruption, and also will provide protection for those judges who are wrongly accused of not being impartial in cases.

Contact the writer at