BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of 65 reform policies implemented in China's courts last year made the judicial system fairer for the people, said Chief Justice Zhou Qiang on Sunday.
Zhou made his comments when delivering a work report of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) to the National People's Congress (NPC).
Restrictions on case filing were lifted in May last year, meaning plaintiffs no longer need to wait for a pretrial court to examine case applications. As a result, 95 percent of court cases were accepted on the spot last year.
Two SPC circuit courts, which opened last year, concluded the trial of 1,653 cases in 2015. They have been dubbed "the SPC on the frontline."
In addition, three new courts dedicated to intellectual property rights (IPR) opened in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Collectively, they closed 9,872 cases, with a considerable improvement of the quality and accuracy of rulings.
The SPC also strengthened enforcement. From January 2015 to February this year, 4.67 million people who failed to follow court orders were punished and 3.38 million discredited people were included on a publicly available blacklist.
Courts nationwide heard 4.67 million cases concerning the enforcement of court orders, up 37 percent from the previous year. Of these cases, 3.81 million were closed, an increase of 31.3 percent over the same period.
Another key section in judicial reform, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) issued 23 reform documents, co-issued eight with central government departments, and initiated 12 pilot reforms, according to the SPP work report delivered by Procurator-General Cao Jianming to the NPC.
One highlight of the pilot programs was about public interest litigation. Since last July, prosecutors in 13 provincial divisions have been allowed to initiate public interest litigation cases concerning environmental protection, preservation of state assets as well as food and drug safety. So far, 12 cases have been filed directly by prosecutors on behalf of public interest.
Efforts were also made to improve transparency. Through a website supervised by the SPP, prosecuting offices nationwide regularly updated the development of cases and legal documents so that the involved parties can follow the process and the public can search for relevant information.
"Judicial reform is a profound self-revolution. The reform has entered uncharted waters and touched deep-rooted problems," Zhou said.
The SPC will establish more circuit courts and improve fast-track procedures on minor cases this year.
Cao said the SPP will continue to push the public interest litigation pilot project.