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Judge remembered as beacon of justice

By Cao Yin/Shi Baoyin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-06 10:00
Li Qingjun works in his office. [Photo/Xinhua] 

Henan High People's Court's Li Qingjun showed no favor to friends or family

A year after judge Li Qingjun passed away, his Henan High People's Court colleague Bu Fazhong said he could still not believe it "because he just told me he needed a small surgery at the time".

On Sept 2 last year, Li, former deputy chief judge of the court's No 2 case-filing division, underwent a kidney transplant to treat his uremia. Twenty-six days later, he died at the age of 54.

"All his colleagues, including me, didn't even know Li had such a serious disease, as he always worked with us to deal with cases through the illness," Bu, ex-chief judge of the division, said.

After graduating from Henan University and Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Li started his judicial career as a court clerk at the high people's court in 1993.

His colleagues told media in August they admired Li because no litigants complained about his hearings in 25 years.

His high-quality trials and mediations also won the applause of residents. Zhou Guanghua, a villager from Nanyang, is one of them.

Zhou won a lawsuit over land use rights and property against an enterprise several years ago, but it ignored efforts to enforce the ruling, using various excuses.

After the case was sent to Li, he rejected the enterprise's excuses and application for a retrial. Instead, he upheld the original verdict and helped Zhou get the compensation she deserved.

"Li told me solving a dispute in accordance with laws is a judge's priority, no matter how powerful a litigant is and what a case is," Zhou said.

Li also upheld justice and gave equal protection when handling cases involving his friends or family members.

Hou Huaile, Li's high school classmate, experienced the justice. "I once asked Li whether he could rule that a defendant pay less compensation, because the defendant was my relative," Hou said. "But Li refused me without hesitation."

Li also paid attention to social effects of rulings.

"He clearly knew that ending a dispute is the best for two sides," Bu said. "After all, not all cases need to be solved by trial. Sometimes, mediation is a better choice for litigants."

On Nov 17, 2003, for example, the court accepted the filing of a case involving a loan dispute between two cotton production companies when the two litigants were unhappy with the verdict of a lower court.

When the case was heard in the high people's court 10 days later, Li found the conflict between the companies was not as serious as he had expected and they showed a willingness to accept mediation during the trial.

After realizing the situation, Li changed the approach to solving the dispute, and mediation was successful on Dec 3.

Li did not stop working, even though he was diagnosed the uremia in 2014.

On the morning of the day that he had the kidney transplant surgery, he sent a text message to his team members, telling them to contact the litigants in a trial scheduled for four days later.

Li might not have been a judge who solved high-profile cases, "but I believe he is the one with the biggest passion for being a judge," said Ma Fengshi, his wife.

"He respected justice and loved his job, as his dream was to help more people end conflicts through the law. I felt sad when I saw him still working during the illness, but I understood him."

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