News / Asia

    China Pledges Legal Reforms

    Police officers walk inside Hefei Intermediate People's Court, where the Gu Kailai trial will be held on Thursday, in Hefei, Anhui Province, August 8, 2012.
    Police officers walk inside Hefei Intermediate People's Court, where the Gu Kailai trial will be held on Thursday, in Hefei, Anhui Province, August 8, 2012.
    VOA News
    This week, Chinese authorities pledged to reform, improve and develop its legal system and ensure better rights' protection to its citizens.
     
    However, critics say that the very nature of China's authoritarian system continues to be an obstacle in the country's development of an effective rule of law.
     
    The government report on judicial reform, released weeks before Beijing’s major political reshuffle, says China has been striving to improve its judicial system, expand judicial democracy, and promote openness and impartiality.
     
    It promises the measures “provide a solid judicial guarantee for China's economic development, social harmony and national stability.”
     
    Li Zhuang, a well-known Beijing lawyer praised the document on his microblog.
     
    “If the judiciary authorities take the lead in implementing it seriously in the whole country, then it will be a great fortune for the people,” he wrote.
     
    Li famously spent 18 months in prison, charged with coercing false testimony after attempting to represent a mafia boss in Chongqing. At the time, many commentators pointed at his case as an example of how courts fail to protect the rights of lawyers.
     
    Wang Cailiang, a lawyer from the All China Lawyers Association, says that though the paper's general emphasis on social fairness and justice is a good change of approach in China, attention must be paid to how laws will be implemented.
     
    “We can't just look at what they say,” Wang said. “We need to look at what they will do and how they will do it."
     
    Wang, who specializes in representing villagers whose land is being sized by developers without proper compensation, says that the white paper fails to address the core issue of judiciary independence.
     
    “For the courts and the procurator and the judicial authorities to stand up independently, they need to break away from their relation of dependency with the government,” he said. “Otherwise, any talk of a just and fair judiciary is fruitless.”
     
    Wang says that in his line of work, citizens' rights and interests are often trampled upon because of the governmental interference with the courts' work.
     
    Land grabs have become one of the most bitter sources of discontent among Chinese people. Local governments, whose budgets have become deeply reliant on land sales, have a strong incentive to profit from land transactions and often steer courts away from properly compensating villagers.
     
    “The government, which should be the referee, becomes a player and takes away the interests of the people,” he added.
     
    China's new leadership, which will be appointed next month during the Communist Party's 18th congress and is expected to rule the country for the next 10 years, will inherit the challenge of legal reform.
     
    “Regardless of whether its the leaders of the 18th party congress, or the Chinese public, everyone hopes for a just and fair society,” Wang said. “Nobody wants this society to collapse and fall apart."

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora