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Courts order retrials to guard rights

By CAO YIN/YU RAN | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-30 06:43

Cases will be reviewed to correct any improper expropriations or other errors

Courts across the country will retry controversial cases that might involve improper expropriation of land and houses in an effort to better protect property rights, the top court said on Tuesday.

"For wrongful cases in which governments failed to provide statutory or reasonable compensation for individuals whose property was expropriated, courts should start the retrial procedure after a review," said Teng Wei, deputy chief judge of the Trial Supervision Tribunal at the Supreme People's Court.

The move by the judicial system follows a guideline on better protection of property rights, released jointly on Sunday by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China's Cabinet.

It is the first time that China has issued a State-level guideline on the protection of property rights. The guideline says that all kinds of property rights, publicly or privately owned, will receive equal protection.

The guideline also calls for the review of some disputed property rights cases that have received wide public attention, which can be corrected if previous rulings are found to be wrong.

Teng said courts will carefully review "important verdicts" about property rights since the country's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s. "For wrongful ones, we'll correct and disclose them to the public as soon as possible," she said, without revealing how many cases, or which cases, will be reviewed.

The guideline also calls for caution as judicial authorities freeze, auction or use other ways to handle property when illegal actions are suspected.

"Some grassroots courts had flaws or even mistakes while dealing with such properties. For example, an enterprise should have frozen properties worth 1 million yuan ($144,980) in a case, but a court might freeze 5 million yuan or even more, which made it difficult to operate and hampered justice," said Yan Maokun, director of the top court's Research Office.

Courts also are asked to distinguish commercial disputes from economic crimes.

Zhang Bin, general manager of Shanghai Solid Stainless Steel Products, a manufacturer and exporter, said, "The new regulation will surely make us feel less vulnerable when we face certain disputes and related cases that may lead to a negative impact on the operation of business."

Liu Junhai, a professor specializing in civil and commercial laws at Renmin University of China, said these latest moves will be effective in encouraging residents and enterprises to create more wealth. "They will also help improve judicial and governmental credibility."

Yu Ran in Shanghai contributed to this story.


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