Historical Witness to Ethnic Equality, Unity and Development in Xinjiang

(Xinhua) Updated : 2015-09-24

VI. Maintaining Social Harmony and Stability in Accordance with the Law

Ever since its founding, Xinjiang Autonomous Region has made constant efforts in strengthening rule of law, managing all affairs on the basis of law and remaining resolute in punishing violent terrorist crimes, in order to promote ethnic unity and achieve harmonious social development.

A distinctive local legislation system is now in place. According to the Constitution and state laws, the local legislature of the autonomous region enjoys both legislative power entitled to provincial-level administrative divisions and the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and separate regulations based on local special political, economic and cultural conditions. By the end of 2014, the autonomous regional people' s congress and its standing committee had formulated in total over 150 local regulations, passed more than 30 regulatory resolutions and decisions, and approved 98 separate regulations and other local regulations submitted by the various subordinating autonomous prefectures and Urumqi. The autonomous region people' s government had worked out over 320 administrative rules and regulations. The legislation covers various aspects, such as politics, economy, culture, education, religion, ethnic unity and social security. These local rules and regulations provide a legal guarantee to the legitimate rights and interests of all ethnic groups and promote the development of various undertakings of the region.

Further improvement has been seen in the capability and level of administration by law. The people's governments at various levels in the autonomous region uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and laws and has made continuous endeavor in innovating new forms of social management for the government to exercise administration, manage social affairs and administer economic and cultural undertakings in accordance with the law. They have established and improved in succession a number of administrative management systems, such as guaranteed service, full notification and conclusion within a time limit, in addition to annulling, adjusting and reducing items subject to administrative examination and approval. Efforts have been made to promote and implement the system of appraisal, the system of life-long accountability for major policy decisions and a responsibility tracking-down system. The system of accountability in administrative enforcement of law has been put in practice. A record-filing and review system has been established for normative documents to correct illegal and improper abstract administrative acts in a timely manner. Administrative review applications have been handled in accordance with the law to resolve administrative disputes in an effective and timely manner. The people' s governments at all levels have intensified efforts in administrative accountability, made greater endeavor in preventing and controlling risks of integrity in key sectors and links, and strengthened oversight by the general public and the media over the government and law enforcement departments. They have established mechanisms for the public to express their concerns in relation to their rights and interests. They have promptly handled administrative complaints and seriously investigated and punished those violating the discipline and regulations. A system of law-based administration, various systems of open handling of affairs and the system of information disclosure have all been set up and augmented step by step.

The level of impartial administration of justice has been steadily enhanced. The public security organs, procuratorates and courts have coordinated with and supervise one another and exercise their powers in accordance with the statutory jurisdiction and procedures. Tasked with maintaining social order and punishing crime, the public security organs perform their duties in accordance with the law and effectively safeguard state security and social stability. The procuratorates have earnestly performed their functions as the public prosecutors, striking severe blows at different types of criminal offences, thoroughly investigated and handled various white-collar crimes such as embezzlement, giving and taking bribes, malfeasance, and rights encroachment, exercise their function of legal supervision, and consciously subject themselves to the supervision of the people' s congresses at various levels and the society at large in order to better ensure judicial justice. Observing the principles of upholding justice, administering justice for the people and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens, legal persons and other organizations, the people' s courts have strengthened the function of adjudication supervision, handled an annual average around 300,000 cases of various types, established and improved a multi-party dispute settlement mechanism, a system of judicial aid and a mechanism of execution, and promoted information disclosure in relation to administration of justice. As a result, gradual improvement has been observed in the efficiency of justice administration and level of impartial administration of justice. In 2014, 86.85 percent of those standing trial at courts of first instance gave up lodging appeals to courts at higher levels, and 34,378 judgment documents have been disclosed on www.court.gov.cn, so have 47,580 executed cases.

The contingent of law work has continuously strengthened. By 2014, courts in the autonomous regions had a total of 9,656 law workers, including 4,192 from ethnic minorities; the procuratorates had a total of 5,994 staff members, of whom 2,293 were from minority ethnic groups; and the public security organs have made constant efforts to integrate the police resources, resulting in a steady uplift in their professional and law enforcement capability. The law-enforcing administrative organs have made great efforts to strengthen their ranks, strengthened front-line forces at the grassroots level and the policemen and officers have displayed steady improvement in their competence and capacity to perform their duties. Proceeding from Xinjiang' s reality, the legal service teams have extended the range of and improved the level of service. By the end of 2014, Xinjiang had a total of 1,503 legal service agencies of various types, employing 8,206 legal professionals. Of these, 435 law firms employed 4,092 lawyers; 125 notary offices were manned by 435 notaries; and 738 were community-level legal service offices which hired 2,601 legal service workers. There were 93 judicial expertise institutions with 813 judicial experts. There were also 112 legal aid agencies with 265 workers.

The autonomous region constantly promotes education and publicity concerning the rule of law. Since 1985, Xinjiang has implemented six five-year programs in spread of legal knowledge. In the course of carrying out these programs, due consideration has been given to the actual situation in Xinjiang, with major attention being extended to the publicity of such statutes as the country' s Constitution, the Law on Ethnic Regional Autonomy, and the Marriage Law. Centering around the situation of combating terrorism, safeguarding stability and countering extremism in the region, in-depth publicity and education activities themed "anti-violence, rule of law and order" have been carried out to arouse the awareness of people of all ethnic groups there, aiming at laying a solid ideological foundation for combating terrorism and maintaining stability. The region has constantly worked out new ways in the publicity of and education in law-based governance to inspire a culture of rule of law. The media has also intensified its efforts in the public of rule of law. The www.fzxj.cn has turned out to be the first large website in the northwest region to promote the law, and a number of distinctive and influential radio programs and columns publicizing legal knowledge have been emerged, and they included "The Law and You" and "Rule of Law Online." Solid progress has been made in promoting rule of law in Party and government organs, rural areas, urban communities, schools, enterprises and all social entities. In 2011, the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Publicity and Education in Rule of Law were promulgated, making the work embark on law-based orbit. By 2014, 60 villages in the region had been named "National Model Villages of Democracy and Rule of Law," and two prefectures and 21 counties (county-level cities, urban districts) had been nominated as "National Model City for Promoting Rule of Law."

Violent and terrorist crimes are punished severely in accordance with the law. Since the 1990s, the three forces (ethnic separatism, religious extremism, and violent terrorism) working from bases both inside and outside China have planned and staged a series of incidents of terror and violence, such as explosion, assassination, poisoning, arson, assault and riot, in Xinjiang and elsewhere, causing great loss to the lives and property of innocent civilians of all ethnic groups. Of them, the July 5 riot in Urumqi in 2009 killed 197, injured over 1,700, and caused huge property damage. Again, the terrorist attack in Kashi' s Shache County on July 28 claimed 37 lives and injured 13, with 31 vehicles being smashed or burned. These violent and bloody crimes show clearly that the perpetrators are anything but representatives of "national" or "religious" interests. They are a great and real threat to ethnic unity and social stability in Xinjiang.

Judicial organs in the autonomous region have always upheld the principles that everyone is equal before the law and any crime shall be punished; they strictly distinguish commonplace criminal offenses from violent and terrorist crimes and handled them accordingly to firmly maintain social equality and justice. The public security organs are on high alert for signs of violent attacks and terrorism, and respond with the utmost severity. Most terrorist groups have been knocked out at the planning stage. The people' s procuratorates have performed, in accordance with the law, their functions of approving arrest, reviewing the evidence and indictment, and exercising earnest supervision over investigation and trial procedures. The people' s courts administer justice strictly, severely punishing the ringleaders and felons of violent and terrorist crimes, and extending clemency to those who confess their crimes and help with investigations, on the premise that the defendants' litigation rights are ensured in accordance with the law. In the nationwide special movement to suppress violent and terrorist activities, some violent terrorist gangs have been smashed, and some fugitives have heeded to the advice of their families and are inspired by the state policies to turn themselves in. The tendency of frequent eruptions of violent and terrorist attacks in Xinjiang has been somewhat checked.