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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

Public security organs at all levels have accelerated the provision of lawyers' meeting rooms, and opened online platform for lawyers to make appointments to visit their clients and made known to the public such appointment phone numbers, providing convenience to meetings between lawyers and their clients and ensuring their conversations are not monitored. Procuratorial organs have effectively fulfilled their role of supervision over the obstruction of lawyers' right to practice.

In 2015, procuratorial organs at all levels resolved 1,093 cases involving infringement of lawyers' procedural rights pursuant to the law. In December 2015, the Supreme People's Court launched a lawyers service platform, collating 21,707 entries concerning law firms and 81,476 entries concerning lawyers. The platform offers convenient legal services to lawyers, including online case register, online access to case files, case information inquiry, electronic service of legal documents, and judges' contact details.

By 2015, 1,734 courts had opened the "12368" litigation service hotline, providing self- or staff-service information for parties concerned and lawyers, and handled a total of 76,270 inquiry calls.

In January 2016, the Supreme People's Court issued the Regulations on Effectively Protecting Lawyers' Procedural Rights in Accordance with the Law, which further clarifies the protection of lawyers' procedural rights and personal safety by people's courts, and stipulates that courts should, if conditions allow, provide lounges with desks, chairs, drinking water and other necessities for lawyers participating in court trials. Some courts in Beijing and Sichuan have provided changing rooms and waiting rooms for lawyers, protecting their dignity in litigious activities.

Conduct pilot programs to reform the system of people's assessors and supervisors, and ensure citizens' right to act as assessors and supervisors. In April 2015, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) issued the Decision on Authorizing the Implementation of the Pilot Program to Reform the System of People's Assessors in Certain Areas. In May 2015, the Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Justice jointly issued the Measures on Implementing the Pilot Program to Reform the System of People's Assessors, rolling out reform at 50 courts in 10 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government). By 2015, these courts had welcomed 7,800 new people's assessors, four times the number of judges. In 2015, people's assessors took part in the trial of 2,846,000 cases. At the Dongying Intermediate People's Court of Shandong Province, people's assessors participated in a major work-related crime for the first time when hearing the trial of Ni Fake for accepting bribery and obtaining significant revenues from unclear sources. In September 2014, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Justice jointly launched a pilot program to reform the system of people's supervisors in Beijing and nine other provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government), supervising the handling of 1,505 cases according to the new reform requirements. Currently there are 15,000 people's supervisors at all levels of procuratorial organs. In 2012-2015, people's supervisors participated in 8,161 cases of work-related crimes, which are under the categories of "might be revoked" and "might not be prosecuted." Of the 216 cases in which people's supervisors gave opinions different from the preliminary decisions of procuratorial organs, 109 cases, or 50.5 percent, were ruled in favor of the people's supervisors. People's supervisors also presented 1,040 opinions regarding the nine situations within their supervisory scope.

Appropriately handle letters and visits involving lawsuits in accordance with the law, and improve the channels of rights relief. A working mechanism of handling letters and visits involving lawsuits has been established, which runs according to the principles that litigation and letters and visits are separated, that letters and visits are divided in an orderly manner, and that letters and visits are handled in accordance with the law. There has been greater standardization in the scope, procedure, and responsibilities involving letters and visits concerning lawsuits. More channels are now available for people to air their grievances, including letters, visits, telephone calls, the internet, and videos, and integrated online platforms have been introduced for this purpose, ensuring that the people have access to claim their rights in accordance with the law. Lawyers have been invited to participate in activities of receiving letters and visits, and act as agents to handle them, in a way that strengthens public faith in the letters and visits system. 

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