China / Government

Institutions asked to have legal advisers

By Cao Yin and Xin Zhiming (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-23 02:38

In an unprecedented move, President Xi Jinping has asked all institutions in China to hire professional legal representatives and advisers.

It should become an encompassing system for all political parties, government departments, citizens' organizations — such as trade unions and women's federations — and State-owned institutions, to have public-sector lawyers or corporate legal counsels, Xi said on Tuesday at a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform.

The group is the top decision-making body for China's reform and transition. The statement issued after the meeting did not specify how the change is to proceed, nor did it appoint representatives to any central government institutions.

The initiative will help develop the rule of law in China, Xi said.

The meeting also decided to select future legislators, judges and prosecutors from professional lawyers and legal scholars.

Wang Junfeng, president of the All China Lawyers Association, welcomed the move, adding that since the late 1970s, when China began its reform and opening-up, more than 300,000 certified lawyers have been cultivated, a sufficient number to accomplish the planned change.

"The Chinese legal profession is capable of providing very experienced people to serve as legal counsels to the top-level government entities such as the State Council," Wang said.

Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said legal advisers will serve as members of judicial think tanks for the government.

"With the legal advisers, officials can learn more about the law in the process of policymaking and project management. Having legal advisers will help them reduce the risk of making mistakes in their work," Yang said.

Ruan Chuansheng, a lawyer in Shanghai, said some government agencies in Shanghai have already been hiring legal advisers since the city was chosen in 2013 as China's first pilot judicial reform area.

The reform has resulted in a marked increase in officials' legal awareness, Ruan said.

The meeting also decided to speed up the building of a unified system to provide equal access to investors from all sectors to facilitate partnerships between the government and private stakeholders.

Contact the writers at

Hot Topics