Opinion / Editorials

Progress in rule of law

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-10 08:06

Despite all the official clarifications about our judicial system and protection of people's rights, the biases and misunderstandings of some outsiders persist and continue to make the country a target for criticism.

Knowing how the country's judiciary has become what it is, as well as how it works, will help eliminate some of these misconceptions. So the first-ever white paper on Chinese judicial reform, which presents an overall picture of the Chinese judicial apparatus and its evolution, is a welcome effort to establish a clearer understanding of law enforcement in China.

The document provides ample evidence that the Chinese judicial regime is not as outlandish or crude as Western propaganda likes to portray, and it offers precious insight into the Chinese practice of the rule of law.

Apart from reviewing China's judicial system and reform process, it states that the establishment of an impartial, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system is a fundamental objective of judicial reform, which is an ongoing process.

Since the founding of New China, the country has overcome numerous difficulties to build a just judiciary and incorporate the most valued concepts and principles of modern jurisprudence.

And, as the white paper highlights, there are many hallmarks of the progress that has been made, not least the unprecedented prudence now shown in applying capital punishment. That all death sentences are now subject to review by the Supreme People's Court is instrumental in limiting its use and preventing abuse.

And there is much else that can be applauded, such as the inclusion of protecting human rights in the Criminal Procedure Law, the assumption of innocence and privilege against self-incrimination, and the ban on torture and the exclusion of illicit evidence.

However, like the situations in any other country, the Chinese judicial system is not perfect and is still a work in progress. In order to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the people, social equity and lasting national stability, the judicial system has to be based on the reality of the country and cannot be simply copied from other countries.

That is why the white paper describes judicial reform in the country as a long and challenging process and vows continuous efforts to strengthen reform with the goal of establishing a just, effective and authoritative socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics.

(China Daily 10/10/2012 page8)

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