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Top court acts to clean up judicial system

Updated: 2014-12-10 08:00
By Cao Yin (China Daily)

The country's top court has issued a guideline aimed at tackling judicial corruption by requiring every court to strictly follow the letter of the law when hearing cases involving allegations of graft by government officials.

The guideline, published on Tuesday in a statement by the Supreme People's Court, sets out a five-year plan to prevent corruption in the courts, establish rules for hearing graft cases and improve international cooperation in the cleanup campaign.

Under the guideline, all grassroots courts are required to try cases involving government officers accused of abusing their power, corruption or dereliction of duty in strict accordance with the law. They must also pay particular attention to cases involving allegations of bribery by businessmen.

The guideline is regarded as an echo and enforcement of concerns about the rule of law raised at the Fourth Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the statement said.

Each court is asked to implement the guideline as quickly as possible, and anti-corruption work by the courts must also be pushed forward, the statement said.

Disciplinary departments at the grassroots level should perform their supervisory role to prevent judicial officers accepting money for acting as go-betweens in lawsuits, it said, adding that the top court will show zero tolerance for such incidents.

The court said in October that some judicial officers had used lawsuits as a line of business, asking for a commission after helping litigants to establish relations with judges.

Disciplinary offices in the grassroots courts are asked to ensure the guideline is enforced and provide stricter supervision of legal officers.

As part of efforts to tackle judicial graft, a number of judges in Liaoning province have been investigated over allegations of dereliction of duty and bribery.

Ten judges at the court in the province's Qingyuan Manchu autonomous county were questioned between May and July, and local prosecutors said most had accepted bribes, abused their power, passed incorrect verdicts or perverted the law.

Li Wei, president of the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in the province, came under investigation in July for alleged serious disciplinary violations.

As the cases were disclosed, Zhou Qiang, the top court's president, said every court must find and correct disciplinary problems involving judicial officials in a timely manner, and each judge should punish strictly those who disobey laws and break discipline rules.

In March, Zhou highlighted the importance of preventing judicial corruption, and promised the court would deal severely with legal officers who break laws or commit discipline violations.

Last year, 381 judicial officers, including judges and prosecutors, were investigated on suspicion of violating laws and discipline rules. Criminal punishments were imposed on 101 of them, according to a report from the top court.

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