|A press conference is held by the Information Office of the State Council in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 9, 2012. The Information Office of the State Council issued Tuesday a white paper on judicial reform. Apart from reviewing China's judicial system and reform process, the white paper focuses on maintaining social fairness, justice and human rights protection. (Xinhua/Li Fangyu)
BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government issued Tuesday a white paper on judicial reform, highlighting the progress that has been made in safeguarding justice and protecting human rights.
The white paper was issued by the Information Office of the State Council.
Apart from reviewing China's judicial system and reform process, the white paper focuses maintaining social fairness, justice and human rights protections.
"China's judicial reforms are aimed at strengthening judicial organs' capability to maintain social justice by optimizing the structure of the judicial organs and the allocation of their functions and power, standardizing judicial acts, improving judicial proceedings and enhancing judicial democracy and legal supervision," it says.
Improving the protection of human rights is an important goal, the white paper says, adding that China's Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 included "respecting and protecting human rights."
In terms of protecting human rights, effective measures are being taken to deter and prohibit the obtainment of confessions through torture, better protect the rights of criminal suspects and defendants and protect attorneys' rights to exercise their duties. Measures are also being taken to strictly control and prudently apply the death penalty.
Jiang Wei, a senior official in charge of the judicial system reform, said Tuesday at a press conference that China's judicial system would be based on its reality, instead of simply copy from other countries.
A populous developing country, China still has problems in its judicial system, Jiang said.
The country's economic and social development does not match the people's increasing expectations for social justice. Capabilities of the judicial system do not meet the demand for judicial service, he said.
Imbalanced development in different regions also contributed to the existing problems, he added.
"The problems can only be solved by the Chinese way and the wisdom. Copying foreign experience or systems might lead to a bad end," he said, in response to a question whether China's judicial system should follow Western models.
However, he said, China is keen to learn from experience of other countries and will try to incorporate judicial concepts and practices utilized elsewhere.
Judicial reform, an important part of China's overall political reform, remains a long and arduous task. The white paper urges continuous efforts to strengthen reforms with a goal of establishing a "just, effective and authoritative socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics."
China also revised laws to provide a legal guarantee for lawyers to meet with suspects or defendants, access case materials and obtain evidence through investigation.
According to the white paper, from 2006 to 2011, lawyers throughout the country provided defense in 2.4 million criminal cases, up 54.16 percent over the period between 2001 and 2005.
By the end of 2011, China had more than 3,600 legal assistance agencies, 14,000 full-time legal assistance personnel, 215,000 lawyers and 73,000 community-level legal service personnel.
A total of 28 provincial governments have formulated local statutory regulations on legal assistance. Since 2009, funding for legal assistance has increased at an annual rate of 26.8 percent, reaching 1.28 billion yuan (203 million U.S. dollars) in 2011, it says.