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Full text: New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

09-12-2016 14:33 BJT

Increase legal aid to enable citizens to better enjoy the right to legal aid. A framework of grassroots legal aid has been put in place. More than 3,500 offices have been opened to provide convenient legal aid to the public, and more than 70,000 legal aid work stations have been set up, improving grassroots infrastructure. Judicial organs have worked to spread the national legal aid information management system, which helps to simplify the process of acceptance and review, and thus make it easier for citizens to receive legal aid. They have expanded the scope of supplementary items for legal aid, relaxed criteria for economic difficulty applying to legal aid, and increased fund guarantee for legal aid. From 2012 to 2015, the central government allocated 1.52 billion yuan to legal aid. The Central Authorities have urged local governments to include a legal aid fund in their budgets. As of 2015, 24 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government) had established a provincial-level specialized fund for legal aid, and 91.4 percent of all local governments had covered the legal aid fund in their budgets. From 2012 to 2015, 4.7 million legal aid cases were handled around the country. This represents an average annual increase of 7.4 percent, benefiting more than 5.26 million people and providing legal advice to 25.87 million.

IV. Safeguard the Legitimate Rights and Interests of Detainees

We should further improve the conditions of prisons and detention houses, enhance scrutiny of supervisory activities and the execution of punishment, standardize commutation, parole, and execution of sentence outside prison, and stipulate that criminal defendants and appellants no longer need to wear clothing bearing the name of the detention house, so as to safeguard the detainees' personal dignity, safety, legal property, and legitimate rights including the rights to defense, to appeal, to complain, and to report violations of law.

Strengthen the construction and management of detention houses to safeguard detainees' personal safety. We must implement the new "Construction Standards for Detention Houses," replace shared beds with single beds, and define the construction standards and minimal per capita floor space in detention houses. We must strictly implement the system of physical examination upon admission, establish a long-term mechanism for preventing and combating prison bullies, adopt transition management over new detainees, and strictly forbid detainees from managing cells. We should strengthen the arraignment and interrogation system. When taking out a suspect from the detention house for identification - which must be done by no fewer than two investigators at a time - or recovering property related to a case, the case handling organs should hold a written instruction signed by the leading official of the organ above the county level which bears the legal causes for the investigation.

By the end of 2015, psychological counseling rooms had been built in 2,169 detention houses in China, and 2,207 detention houses had provided two-way video via the internet for those who serve their term of imprisonment in the detention houses. We should urge legal aid centers to locate in detention houses. More than 2,500 detention houses have set up offices for providing legal aid and consultation services to detainees and their families.

Standardize medical services and life management in prisons and detention houses to safeguard detainees' right to health. Detention houses should strictly follow the food supply quantity standard for detainees, which has been approved by local financial authorities. Meal standards, weekly menus and accounts should be posted in cells for supervision. Prisons should strictly follow the Regulations on Strengthening Management of Daily Life and Hygiene Work of Prisons, implement the prisoners' food supply quantity standard which was adjusted in 2013, practice food sampling and sample reservation, and implement the system of invitation for bidding for and procurement of daily necessities. We should strengthen management of daily life and hygiene work of prisons, and guarantee a scientific diet which is reasonably adjusted with fine management for prisoners while eliminating waste. We should take into consideration the special customs of ethnic minority prisoners, and provide special meals for those who are subject to dietary restrictions.

Prisons and detention houses should improve medical services for detainees, create medical records for them, staff them with stationed doctors, who make rounds of the cells every day, and transfer those who need to be treated in hospitals outside in a timely manner. Regulations on purchase, storage and use of medicines in prisons should be strictly followed. We should improve medical facilities, strengthen disease prevention and control, provide timely treatment to sick detainees, and guarantee their rights to life and health in accordance with the law.

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