Deepening Reform of the Judicial System and Its Work Mechanisms*

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 17:36
text size: T | T
Share:

 *Editor’s note: It was decided at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that “We need to deepen the reform of the judicial system, optimize the distribution of judicial functions and powers, and standardize judicial practice and develop a fair, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system.” We are publishing four articles in this issue to help the reader understand the progress achieved by China’s judicial front in deepening reform of the judicial system and work mechanisms.

 

1. 

Deepening Reform of the Judicial System to Ensure Social Fairness and Justice

The Supreme People’s Court

 I. Optimizing the distribution of judicial functions and powers to promote judicial justice

 We improved management of trials to promote standardized operation and execution of trials and are working to form an operational mechanism of judicial and execution powers that is structurally rational and scientific with tight procedures and effective restrictions by guiding the courts at all levels to set up special organizations for trial management.

 We improved the judicial organizations and will continue to reform judicial committees and the system of collegiate panels. We improved the organizational distribution and the form of operations of the judicial committees and the scope and procedures of the cases to be deliberated to gradually specialize them and their members and standardize their work in order to gradually turn the conference system into a trail system. We standardized the organization, the functions and responsibilities, the evaluation mechanism and exemption of collegiate panels and strengthen the functions and responsibilities of the collegiate panels and presiding judges.

 We carried out reform of the system of sentencing and strictly standardized the discretionary rights of judges. We actively experimented with standardization of penalties and adopted measures to standardize the discretionary rights of judges and put power to decide on penalties in the judicial procedures of courts, increased transparency in the work of deciding on penalties and unified the standards for judgment. 

 We reformed and improved the judicial system for juveniles to put in place guarantees for the legitimate rights and interests of juveniles. The Supreme People’s Court worked out judicial interpretations and established methods for carrying out trials and executing penalties that meet the special physiological and psychological features of juveniles. We ran trials in setting up organizationally independent juvenile judicial courts in 18 intermediate people’s courts and continuously improved the relevant support systems.

 We reformed the retrial system to strengthen guarantees for the right of appeal of litigants and their right to apply for retrial. The Civil Procedure Law was amended to provide that cases applying for retrial are submitted to a higher authority and to add more detail to the reasons for applying for retrial. The Supreme People’s Court promptly set up corresponding organizations and strengthened the force of trials, reformed the procedures for trials, worked out support standards and worked diligently to resolve the problem of people having difficulty applying for appeals and the difficulty in applying for retrials.

 We reformed and improved the system of execution of civil administrative cases and conscientiously worked to resolve the problem of difficulties of execution. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Suggestions on Further Strengthening and Standardizing the Work of Trial Execution, accelerated efforts to develop a coordinated action mechanism to make management of the Supreme People’s Court and trial execution in the area under its jurisdiction more consistent. We promoted implementation of a system for opening up the entire judicial course and notification of the cases where a trial is involved and intensified restrictions and will separate the right of execution from the right of adjudication to improve its level of execution.

 We reformed the system of approval for death penalties to ensure the quality of trials involving the death penalty. As of January 1, 2007 we withdrew the right of approval of death penalties back to the Supreme People’s Court, unified the standards for approval of death penalties and improved procedures for opening courts involving a second instance.

 II. Strengthening judicial democracy and promoting judicial transparency

 We reformed and improved the people’s juror system. Since the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Decision of the National People’s Congress on Improving the People’s Juror System, the Supreme People’s Court has been actively carrying out reform of the people’s juror system and continuously worked to improve the system and financial guarantees, expanded selection and appointment of people’s jurors and specified the scope of trials. In 2009, the number of people’s jurors in the country increased from 57,000 to 77,000. They participated in trials of 632,000 cases during the year, up 25.1% year-on-year. 

 We set up a sound mechanism for sharing opinion with the people. We strengthened communication and ties with the deputies to the people’s congresses and members of the people’s political consultative conferences, improved the mechanism for communicating and coordinating with the democratic parties, the federations of industry and commerce and non-party dignitaries and decided on special organizations and personnel for contacting these people and organizations. We worked out a system for the expression and investigation of public opinion and surveying public opinion through a network of the people’s courts, improved the mechanism for assessing popular feeling and properly solve the hot-button issues involving the well-being of the people in judicial work.

 We improved the system for making judicial work transparent. The Supreme People’s Court promulgated the Six Provisions on Making Judicial Work More Open, which protects the right of the public to know and to oversee and protects people’s litigation rights to make judicial work more open and transparent in terms of making registration of cases open, court trials open, executions open, hearings open, documents open and trials open.

 III. Improving training of judicial workers and intensifying judicial oversight 

 We reformed the system for selection of judges to ensure the quality of judges. We conscientiously implemented the Law on Judges and strictly implemented the requirements for appointment of judges to ensure high quality of judges. We gradually began selecting judges from among lawyers, experts and scholars and from lower courts for appointment to courts of a higher level.

 We set up a classified management system to raise the judicial abilities of judges. We classified management of judges, assistants to judges, court clerks, executors, judicial police and judicial administrative personnel to form a classified management pattern with clear identifications, clear functions and responsibilities, standardized management and solid guarantees. We improved education and training to raise the ability of judges to correctly apply laws, carry out outreach work and resolve social issues.

 We reformed the mechanism to make the people’s courts more subject to the outside restraint and oversight. They should take the initiative in accepting oversight by authoritative organizations in the form of special reports on work, putting on file judicial interpretations and accepting law enforcement examinations. We established a system of special supervisors, strengthened the system of oversight by non-Party dignitaries, set up a people’s oversight office and improved the organization and guarantees for liaison work. We strengthened the system of regular press conferences held by an official spokesman, improved the mechanism to allow reporters to attend opening sessions of cases as visitors and strengthened communications and links with the mass media in multiple aspects and made oversight through public opinion more convenient. We reformed the system of allowing the chief procurator to attend judicial committee meetings in the capacity of an observer and accept oversight in accordance with the law.

 We set up a system of supervisors to ensure clean and honest administration of the people’s court. In order to intensify internal oversight for execution of trials, the Supreme People’s Court set up a system of supervisors to ensure clean and honest administration of the people’s court in line with the special characteristics of the work of law courts. A total of 2,914 courts have set up 27,745 dedicated or part-time supervisors to ensure clean and honest administration of the people’s courts, and these supervisors directly oversee trials and their execution. 

  He Ying (first from right), Presiding Judge of Yangming Courtroom, Nanchang District Court of Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, is answering questions from migrant workers regarding labor contract at a construction site in Jincheng Bay area on December 6, 2009. Since the beginning of December, judges of city- and district- (county-) level courts have been sent to the communities, rural areas, factories and schools to popularize legal knowledge among the public. They have received a very warm welcome. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Gu Ye

 IV. Improving the mechanism for the people to safeguard the rights and interests of the people 

 We developed a working mechanism that combines mediation with adjudication in line with the conditions of the country. We worked to establish a pattern of mediation that combines people’s mediation, administrative mediation, industrial mediation and judicial mediation in a mechanism for resolution of issues and disputes that is fairly comprehensive and links judicial actions with non-judicial actions.

 We reformed and improved the work mechanisms of the people’s courts. We reconfirmed the guiding ideology of “gearing work to the needs of the rural areas, the local level and the people.” The people’s courts may directly accept cases and handle cases uncovered on inspection tours, and need to improve judicial mediation and expand the scope of cases eligible for simple procedures to make it more convenient for people in litigation.

 We established a system for helping victims involved in criminal cases. The Supreme People’s Court, working with other relevant departments, signed and issued the Suggestions on Helping Victims Involved in Criminal Cases, promoting the work of helping victims of crime nationwide.

 We improved the mechanism for handling letters and visits concerning court cases. We worked out a mechanism for settling complaints in letters and visits concerning court cases and improved the mechanism for information feedback on the handling of letters and visits and practiced a system of judges visiting ordinary workplaces with cases and taking tours to meet with ordinary people. We developed “windows” for receiving letters and calls to make it more convenient for people involved in court cases.

 We simplified procedures for civil and administrative suits. We worked out a mechanism for separating simple cases from complicated ones to accelerate hearing of minor criminal offences, raise the efficiency of criminal trials and reduce the legal cost for litigants.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 8, 2010)

 

2.

Deepening Judicial Reform to Improve the Socialist Procuratorial System with Chinese Characteristics

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate

 I. Reforming and improving the mechanism for legal oversight to safeguard judicial justice

 We developed a work mechanism linking administrative law enforcement with criminal justice and clearly defined the responsibilities and procedures of procuratorial organs in reviewing the criminal cases referred to them by administrative law enforcement departments and improved oversight of placing criminal cases on file for investigation.

 We reformed and improved the mechanism of legal oversight for investigation activities to strengthen guarantees for human rights. We improved justice-related examination of arrest procedures and corrected law violations in investigation activities as they were discovered. We improved the work mechanism for intervention of investigations and obtainment of evidence under guidance, improved the system of evidence investigation, worked out a way to develop a mechanism for investigating law-violating investigation activities and strengthened legal oversight of investigation activities to curb law violating activities such as forcing confessions by torture and obtainment of evidence by violence. We improved the system for notifying litigants about their rights and obligations and the system for ensuring the right of lawyers to practice in accordance with the law.

 We ran trials for making proposals on penalties and promoted openness in the process of deciding on penalties and judicial justice. In February of 2010, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate printed and distributed the Guidelines of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Penalty Proposals (for trial implementation) and instituted the system of penalty proposals in procuratorial organs nationwide.

 We reformed and improved the system of legal oversight of penalty implementation and established a real-time oversight mechanism for changing penalties. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate formulated the Procedural Provisions on Legal Oversight for Penalty Reduction and Release on Probation, which requires procuratorial organs of all levels to carry out real-time oversight for changing penalties. In addition, we improved procuratorial work of those dispatched to do the work and set up an information oversight and control network for prisons and jails to intensify regular and dynamic oversight over law enforcement activities in jails and prisons in order to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of prisoners. 

 We developed a sound permanent work mechanism for correcting and preventing detention beyond stipulated time and improved the system of investigating and assigning responsibility for detention beyond stipulated time. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate established a system for making notification of detention time, prompting authorities when detention time has expired, inspecting and circulating notices, handling complaints concerning detention beyond stipulated time and investigation of the responsibility jointly with the relevant departments thereby setting up the basics for a permanent work mechanism for correcting and preventing detention beyond stipulated time.

 We improved the mechanism of legal oversight for civil judgments and administrative litigation to promote judicial justice. Strong legal oversight of civil judgments and administrative litigation is an important part of legal oversight of procuratorial organs. In order to adapt to the amendments of the civil procedural law, the procuratorial organs worked out mechanisms for coordinating procuratorial organs of different levels in handling cases, improved ability to deal with protests and achieved fairly good results in oversight.

 We improved the work mechanism for implementing the crime policy of “severity tempered with leniency.” We improved the work mechanism for handling criminal case of juveniles, improved the mechanism for rapidly handling minor criminal cases and worked with the people’s court in separating simple criminal cases from complicated ones, expanded the scope of cases eligible for simplified procedures, established a common simplified procedural system for cases in which the suspect pleads guilty and worked out a way to help victims in criminal cases. 

  Persons in charge of the departments of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate answering questions from visitors at an “open day.” The Supreme People’s Procuratorate invited 60 reporters from the media and representatives of students and community residents on an “open day” held on May 28, 2010. The theme of the activity was “promoting openness of procuratorial work and accepting the oversight of society.” / Photo by Xinhua reporter Li Mingfang

 II. Developing a mechanism for restraining and overseeing law enforcement activities of procuratorates to improve accountability in law enforcement

 We improved the distribution of the power to make investigations and arrests of suspects in malfeasance cases and actively carried out reform of the procedures for making investigations and arrests of malfeasance suspects. In order to solve the problem of the relative concentration of power in the procuratorates in investigating and handling crimes of malfeasance and weakening of oversight, in the new round of judicial reforms the Supreme People’s Procuratorate worked out provisions that require people’s procuratorates under the provincial level (not including the provincial level) to report to the people’s procuratorate at the next higher level to decide whether or not a suspect should be arrested in cases they have been placed on file for investigation. This reform has been carried out in most provinces.

 We developed and put into practice a system for making audio-visual recordings of the complete course of interrogation of malfeasance suspects. In order to standardize investigation for malfeasance cases, prevent the obtaining of information by torture and protect human rights, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate has mapped out a plan for implementing a system for making audio-visual recordings of the complete course of interrogation of malfeasance suspects at procuratorial organs of all levels. After implementing this system, the number of complaints involving uncivilized and substandard handling of cases by procurators has become markedly reduced.

 We improved the offence reporting mechanism to protect the legitimate rights and interests of informants. We set up malfeasance reporting telephone numbers and websites at all the procuratorial organs nationwide and promulgated the Suggestions on Further Improving the Management of Clues Obtained through Offence Reporting and improved management of information gained through offence reporting.

 We developed a permanent mechanism for seizing and freezing assets by procuratorial organs. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate introduced the Provisions on Seizure and Freezing of Assets and set up a permanent mechanism for seizing, freezing, managing and handling assets involved in cases.

 We improved the mechanism for oversight by the people’s congresses and ordinary citizens. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate worked out the Suggestions on Improving Reporting on Special Subjects to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Methods of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for Communicating with the Central Committees of the Democratic Parties, All-China Federation of Commerce and Industry and Non-Party Dignitaries, further institutionalizing and standardizing oversight for the work of procuratorates. 

 We set up a system of citizen overseers and accepted oversight of the people in investigations of malfeasance by the procuratorial organs. Since 2003, when trials of the system of citizen overseers were begun, the law enforcement acts of procuratorates have been standardized, winning widespread approval from the general public.

 We developed a system for making the work of procuratorates more open. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued the Suggestions on “Making Procuratorial Work More Open” of the People’s Procuratorate to improve the methods and ways for making the work more open and improve the system for investigating responsibility for violating the provisions on making procuratorial work more open.

 We reformed and improved the system of procuratorial committees. In October of 2009, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate introduced the Procedural and Work Rules of the Procuratorial Committee of the People’s Procuratorate, which is of great significance to promoting scientific development of procuratorial work.

 We set up a system of procuratorial inspection tours, a system of oversight for procuratorial work and a system of internal oversight for law enforcement and the handling of cases. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate promulgated the Interim Provisions of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Inspection Tours, Interim Provisions of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Oversight of Procuratorial Work and Interim Provisions of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Internal Oversight of Law Enforcement and Handling of Cases by People’s Procuratorates to tighten and strengthen internal oversight of procuratorial organs.

 III. We strengthened efforts to improve the overall quality of procuratorial personnel and lower level procuratorates and strengthen legal oversight

 We devoted more efforts to standardizing procuratorial work. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate has drafted out the Directive Standard for the Standardized Management of the People’s Procuratorates and the Standard for Procuratorial Work (sample) and ran trial implementation in 56 procuratorates at the lower level, thereby making procuratorial more standardized.

 We reformed and improved the system of education and training. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate has been working to make education and training more scientific, standardized and institutionalized by setting up a rotational training system for leading personnel in procuratorates at the provincial level and providing education and training for procurators. We completed training of all the chief procurators at the prefecture and city level nationwide and before the end of 2010, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate should complete rotational training of more than 3,500 lower slevel chief procurators in the country.

 We strengthened efforts to improve the professional ethics of procurators and develop a good image for procuratorial organs. In September of 2009, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate promulgated the Guiding Principles for the Professional Ethics of the Procurators of the People’s Republic of China (for trial implementation) to improve the professional and ethical standards of procurators, based on loyalty, justice, honesty, cleanliness and good conduct, that standardize the exercise of their procuratorial powers and legal oversight functions and their non-work activities. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate staged practical activities based on the theme of implementing the guiding principles for professional ethics of all procurators.

 We improved lower level procuratorates and solidified the foundation for development of the cause of procuatorates. In February of 2009, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate promulgated the Plan for Improving People’s Lower level Procuratorates (2009-2012) and worked to modernize lower Level procuratorates and standardize their law enforcement actions, raise the quality of their personnel and make their management more scientific.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 8, 2010)

 

3.

Reform of the Judicial Administrative System and Work Mechanisms 

Wu Aiying

 I. Continuously deepening reform of the prison system

 With the gradual improvement of the socialist market economic system, problems have appeared in the prison management system and work mechanisms which developed under the conditions of the former planned economic system, demanding urgent solution by reform. In 2003, the State Council decided to reform the prison system and launched trials at selected places. In November of 2007, with the approval of the State Council, the Ministry of Justice carried out comprehensive reform of the prison system throughout the country. Marked progress has been made in the reform of the prison system and the overall situation of the prisons has improved, fundamentally changing the prison situation.

 II. Trials of community correction work

 Trials of the reform of community correction work began in 2003. Trial implementation of the reform was carried out across the country in 2009. Fresh progress has been made in trials of community correction, and the scale and scope of trials have been gradually expanded. By the end of 2009, 15,621 towns and townships as well as subdistricts in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities under the central government carried out trials. The systems and mechanisms for community correction were gradually developed and systems for acceptance, management, evaluation, rewards and punishments, and release from community correction were developed to form a relatively standardized work system and flow process for a community correction work system and guarantee mechanism. The areas running the trials have been working out methods of helping those in difficulty and in need of education and correction on the basis of strengthening daily oversight and control of the persons serving sentences in the communities, thereby continuously raising the quality and level of education and improving the results of correction, keeping the rate of recidivism at a relatively low level.

  Juvenile offender Xiao Xing, who is under community correction, celebrating his 16th birthday at Kanghui, a home for the aged on June 2, 2009. After being released on probation, Xiao Xing was adopted by Song Guixia, director of Kanghui. With the love and care of the director and many others, Xiao Xing is taking an active part in studies and physical labor for community service and has expressed his desire to behave himself and repay his debt to society. On his birthday, staff workers of Min’an Community, Huangshan Street and Huangshan Judicial Station of Yunlong District of Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, where the home for the aged is located, brought a birthday cake and fruit to observe his birthday. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Gu Ye

 III. Reforming and improving the lawyer system

 We continuously deepened reform of the legal defense system and work system and mechanism and continuously improved the socialist legal defense system with Chinese characteristics in line with the unified arrangements of the central government for the reform of the judicial system and work mechanism in conjunction with the amendment and implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Lawyers (Law on Lawyers) after the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. One, we confirmed that a lawyer in China is a socialist legal worker with Chinese characteristics. Through amendment of the Law on Lawyers we have made clear the responsibilities and missions of China’s lawyers. Two, we improved the licensed qualification system for lawyers. We promulgated the Measures for the Administration of Law Practices, improved the lawyer licensing system and developed a special licensing system for lawyers. Three, we adjusted and improved the organizational form for practice of lawyers and began allowing special law offices with common partnerships and law offices set up by individuals. Four, we ran trials of public defenders and corporate lawyers to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the government and enterprises. Five, we improved the lawyer management system. We increased the penalties for violations of the law and code of conduct by lawyers to make management of lawyers more specific and effective through establishment of an appraisal and evaluation mechanism for lawyers and standardization of the relationship between lawyers and judicial personnel. Six, we carried out reform of the charge system for lawyers. We jointly promulgated the Methods for Managing Fee Collection by Lawyers together with relevant departments that defines strict standards for the fees charged by lawyers. Seven, we improved the system of guarantees for the rights of lawyers. Eight, we improved the management system that covers both judicial and administrative organs and bar associations. Nine, we improved Party organizations in the legal defense industry so that the entire legal defense industry is subject to the oversight of organizations and work of the Communist Party of China. 

 IV. Reform of the judicial examination system 

 The amended Law on Judges and the amended Law on Procurators established a unified state system of judicial examination and in 2001 the system was implemented. In recent years, in order to adapt to the new requirements of the new situation and new tasks, the Ministry of Justice made major adjustments to the outline of state judicial examinations in accordance with the requirements of the central government for reform and improvement of the judicial examination system. This added content and expanded the scale of examinations on the idea of a socialist rule of law in the judicial examinations in 2009 and increased their proportion in examination scores, improved evaluation of the practice of law and the professional ethics involved in law and improved evaluation of the judicial practice of the examinees and their ideological and moral qualities. In order to effectively ease the shortage of qualified professional law personnel of the middle and western regions, the Ministry of Justice adopted a preferential policy for economically underdeveloped areas and ethnic minority autonomous regions, especially the middle and western regions, in line with the provisions of the relevant laws and legal opinions. In addition, in order to facilitate the autonomous regions of ethnic minorities in selecting bilingual law workers we translated and printed examination papers in five ethnic minority languages, including Mongolian and Tibetan.

 V. Deepening reform of the system of legal aid 

 In 2003, the State Council promulgated and implemented the Regulations on Legal Aid and in September of 2008 approved establishment of a legal aid department under the Ministry of Justice, giving it the responsibility of business guidance and management for legal aid. After several years’ efforts, remarkable results were achieved in reform of the system of legal aid. One, we worked out and implemented “three standards,” standard for people eligible for legal aid, standard for the scope of additional items of legal aid and standard for subsidies for handling legal aid cases. We introduced ten measures for serving the people in legal aid, including guarantees for the rights and interests that are closely related to issues affecting the well-being of the people into the scope of the items of legal aid. Two, we worked out and implemented the Regulations on Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings and Regulations on Legal Aid in Civil Proceedings, which helped systemize and standardize legal aid. Three, we continuously expanded government financial support for legal aid. The central and provincial governments have set up special funds for legal aid to support legal aid in poverty-stricken regions. In addition, we developed legal aid organizations under the judicial administration departments of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities under the central government and continuously worked to improve work mechanisms and business norms.

 VI. Deepening reform of the management system of judicial appraisals

 In 2004, the central government called for the establishment of a unified judicial appraisal management system. In February of 2005, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the Decision on the Question of Judicial Appraisal Management, which provided in legal form the basic framework of the judicial appraisal management system. Comprehensive reform of the judicial appraisal management system was carried out on this basis. After several years’ efforts, significant results have been achieved in reform. Organizations of judicial appraisal have been established and a judicial appraisal administration has been set up in the Ministry of Justice which is in charge of judicial appraisal management. The provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities under the central government have also set up special judicial appraisal management organizations to improve management and oversight of judicial appraisal activities. A system of support rules and regulations for judicial management is now taking shape, helping to standardize judicial appraisals, ensure conformity with the rule of law and make judicial work more scientific, improving order in appraisals markedly. We worked out and introduced Measures for Managing Fee Collection for Judicial Appraisals and standardized judicial appraisal charges. Efforts to develop a strong team of judicial appraisers and judicial appraisal managers were continuously strengthened. We provided training for almost all judicial appraisal managers and judicial appraisers on a rotating basis in the form of training classes, making appraisers more conscientious in following standard practices and making their work more scientific and raising the quality of their appraisals, greatly increasing the accountability of the judicial appraisal industry. As a result, judicial appraisers have won the trust of judicial organs and the people.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 9, 2010)


Note: Author: Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China

 

4.

Strengthening Oversight and Management of Law Enforcement to Make Law Enforcement More Just and Clean

Yang Huanning

 China’s public security organs have taken the initiative to adapt to the new situations and tasks and the new demands and expectations of the people, focusing efforts on strengthening oversight and management of law enforcement and carrying out reform of the work mechanism of public security to make law enforcement more just and clean and effectively safeguarding national security and social harmony and stability.

 Public security organs across the country have been integrating oversight and management with education and rectification, integrating oversight and management with efforts to make law enforcement more standardized, integrating oversight and management with efforts to resolve serious issues, integrating internal oversight with external oversight and integrating oversight and management with efforts to develop a permanent mechanism to ensure that the complete process of making major policy decisions in public security work and arrangements for all types of work are subject to oversight and management. We continuously deepened reform of the oversight and management mechanism, increased the width and depth of oversight and management and made innovations in the ways and methods used in oversight and management to form a good situation pattern in which leading officials attach great importance to oversight and management, all departments work together and there is a balance between law enforcement and oversight and management.

  An officer from the police station of Nagqu Railway Station under the Lhasa Public Security Office of the Public Security Bureau of Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company at the home of the head of the village explains to local residents how to maintain the railway and presents them with gifts for the coming New Year’s Day on February 8, 2010. The local ranchers organized a team to maintain the railway in support of the routine work of the railway police. The people and the police have established a profound friendship. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Zhang Hongxiang

 We have made great efforts to develop the law enforcement oversight and management system and mechanism. The Ministry of Public Security promulgated a legal document to ban five behaviors, including misuse of firearms, drinking while in possession of firearms, drinking and driving, drinking on the job and gambling by personnel of public security organs, Suggestions on Developing a Mechanism for Oversight and Restraint, and Provisions on Keeping Records on Detention Measures by Public Security Organs and implemented a system of evaluation and appraisal of the quality of law enforcement, a system for accrediting procuratorial commissioners and supervision groups, a system of specially invited overseers, a system of public notification concerning major law enforcement issues, a system for leaders of public security organs to give talks on admonishment and encouragement and a system of overseers for police work that conduct on-site inspections in detention facilities.

 We carried out evaluation and appraisal of the quality of law enforcement. Public security organs at all levels strictly implemented the Provisions on Evaluation and Appraisal of the Quality of Law Enforcement of Public Security Organs, vigorously carried out rectification and reformation of law enforcement problems, strictly handed out rewards and punishments on the basis of evaluation and appraisal and practiced a “one-vote veto” system to identify unqualified organizations in law enforcement.

 We have continued the process of comprehensive standardization of law enforcement. The Ministry of Public Security has promulgated more than 30 legal documents on law enforcement standards badly needed by lower level public security organs, including the Guidelines on Standardizing Law Enforcement of Public Security Organs, Detailed Regulations on Law Enforcement of Public Security Organs, Standards for People’s Police of Public Security Organs in Carrying Out Interrogations and Regulations on Handling Mass Disturbances by Public Security Organs, which define and detail law enforcement procedures and norms and the system of investigating responsibilities, introducing law enforcement oversight and management in the whole law enforcement process and promoting improvement of law enforcement ability and level.

 We have carried out special campaigns to vigorously tackle serious issues. On the basis of continuing to combat extraction of confession by torture, indiscriminate use of coercive measures, misuse of guns and police weapons, and to oversee and assess the ban on misuse of firearms, drinking while in possession of firearms, drinking and driving, drinking on the job and gambling by personnel of public security organs at all levels, we organized and carried out activities to address such major issues in law enforcement.

 We actively worked to apply information technology in oversight and management of law enforcement activities. Public security organs at all levels have been promoting standardized oversight and management of law enforcement with information technology in line with the demand of the Ministry of Public Security that “information on law enforcement should be made available online and management of the law enforcement process, oversight of law enforcement activities and evaluation of the quality of law enforcement should be reported on line” through a comprehensive platform on police affairs. Online law enforcement management systems have been developed in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Liaoning, Guangdong and Shandong provinces and most detention facilities in the country are networking information with the procuratorial departments in their jurisdiction. 

 Time has shown that improving oversight and management and standardizing law enforcement activities has played an important role in effectively resolving major issues in law enforcement and raising the quality and ability of law enforcement organs.

 The ideology of law enforcement was improved. Public security personnel have increased their awareness of the overall objective of law enforcement for the people, resulting in the emergence of a large number of outstanding chiefs of public security bureaus and advanced teams of public security personnel.

 The quality of law enforcement and knowledge of the law have continuously been raised among public security personnel. Results of examinations on knowledge about the basic laws, handling of law enforcement cases and the handling of petition letters and calls in public security organs across the nation showed substantial improvement. The proportion of outstanding county-level public security organs across the country in examinations and appraisals of the quality of law enforcement has been significantly raised and the proportion of administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation cases that sustained the former verdict has been on the rise.

 Serious issues in law enforcement have been maintained at a low level. The number of cases involving extraction of confession by torture, misuse of guns and police weapons and misuse of coercive measures has been reduced remarkably and the problem of detention custody beyond stipulated time has been basically solved.

 Relations between the police and the people have become more harmonious. The overall ability of public security organizations to do community outreach work, resolve issues and promote harmony has been strengthened and the degree of satisfaction of the people has markedly improved. According to sample surveys of the National Bureau of Statistics, the degree of satisfaction of the people on the work of public security organs has been improved markedly.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 9, 2010) 


Note:  Author: Executive Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China

Qiushi Journal | English Edition of Qiushi Jounrnal | Contact us | Subscription Copyright by Qiushi Journal, All rights reserved