Gansu solves language problem in judicial work

Updated : 2016-01-15

Courts in the Tibetan region now use two languages - Mandarin and Tibetan - during trials.

A judge presides over a trial with Mandarin while communicating in the minority language with a Tibetan litigant who doesn’t understand Mandarin.

It was a rare scene three years ago; even in Sichuan, a multiethnic province with 2.4 million minority people, there were only 7 judges able to do it.

Lack of judges and police officers with suitable language skills had been one of the factors impeding judicial work there.

To solve this problem, the province’s Higher People’s Court has made efforts to foster bilingual judges in the past few years. As a result, there are now 77 officials in government or the legal system who speak both languages, 18 of them judges.

The court has arranged language training courses for judicial workers nationwide. In 2015, 24 sessions were held in Gansu Judges College’s Gannan branch, which benefited 2,400 people coming from 473 courts in China’s 31 provinces, cities and autonomous regions. The court plans to have 1,420 bilingual members of police, judicial and procuratorial bodies by the end of 2020.

On June 24, 2015, the Gannan branch set up a website which has text in Mandarin, Tibetan and English for communication and online training and a video call function for judges to hear trials held in the Supreme People’s Court and courts in the province.

In addition, a team of experts in the two languages established by the Gansu court last year to compile training textbooks has already produced ten books, filling the gap in Mandarin-Tibetan legal training materials. By the end of 2018, a further 23 texts are expected to be produced.