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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid