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Top Justice Tao Kaiyuan Says China's Legal Reforms Show Positive Results
   2015-01-29 20:41:31    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo

Tao Kaiyuan, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court of China, says China¡¯s judicial reform has shown positive results when addressing a gathering at the Brookings Institution, a top think tanks in Washington D.C. [Photo: Xinhua]

by CRI Washington Correspondent He Fei

The Chinese government under President Xi Jinping has focused in strengthening the rule of law in the country. Its anti-corruption drive is part of these efforts. But there is much more being done to refine the country's judicial system aimed at achieving fairness and justice for all.

"Seeing is believing" says Tao Kaiyuan, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court of China (SPC) in answer to those who are skeptical about the country's judicial reform process.

"Rule of law is the only way to achieve social development and prosperity. We must follow it. Rule of law is an inevitable trend for the world, and there is no exception for China. The current trend turns into the driving force of the society, which gives us strength, the origin of my confidence."

Tao Kaiyuan made the comment on Wednesday, while addressing a gathering at the Brookings Institution, a top think tanks in Washington D.C.

Tao Kaiyuan was in the US earlier this week as head of a six member Chinese delegation. During her tour, she met with US Supreme Court judge Ruth Ginsburg and former Supreme Court judge Sandra Day O'Connor.

China's judicial system is more open and public-friendly, Tao said. She cited the move to put all court verdicts online for anyone to review as an example for this growing transparency in the Chinese judicial system.
As of January 10,2015, 5.81 million cases have been published online. The SPC has also used social media to update real-time court minutes as it did in the high profile case of Bo Xilai, the former party chief of Chongqing Municipality who was charged with corruption. Sometimes foreign diplomats have been invited to hear trials involving their citizens, Tao said.

According to Tao, other reform efforts have included revising criminal trial procedures to address some of the shortcomings of the investigation process and the prosecution mechanism to prevent wrong verdicts and the miscarriage of justice.

"China has set up its own legal system with its signature characteristics. The problem now is whether the existing laws are of higher standards. A lot of revisions need to be done," said Tao Kaiyuan. "With regard to the government, the administration adheres to the rule-of-law. We're building an open and transparent law-based government. One of the very important actions to achieve that is to decentralize the power to lower levels. And all the actions must be transparent to the public. For the part of the judiciary, the key is justice and fairness, to raise people's awareness of the rule of law and cultivate an atmosphere where it is administered fairly. In addition to the above, the ruling party will have a significant change in its governing style. We're on the right track and will finally reach our goal."

Tao's speech received positive reactions from many scholars and professionals in the D.C. area. Ralph Winnie, an expert with the Eurasia Center, another private think tank was impressed that more and more ordinary citizens in China were seeking legal help to resolve their issues.

"She talked about the growth of lawsuits, some like 10 million. Most people don't think that people in China bring lawsuits. And it's getting out there in a fact promoting your judiciary. And the number of cases, if that continues to grow and people see that the outcomes are transparent that there is not a shade of corruption I think you going to see more and more people have respect for the Chinese legal system."

Cheng Li, the director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institute, says it was important to explain China's policies to the outside world.
 
"This shows China has opened up gradually. The building of local think tanks, the 'One Belt, One Road' strategy, and the rule of law, all of which have showed us that China is entering the global stage in all aspects from culture to economy, and is striving to build a society where the rule-of-law is enforced. However, it takes time. Today we've seen Tao who impressed the audience with a clear image of China's legal system. I believe we'll see more people having confidence in China's legal system in the future."

Tao says that many judicial officials whom she met during her US tour were positive about establishing direct judicial communication between the two countries.

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