BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Tuesday issued a white paper on judicial reform, highlighting the progress that has been made in safeguarding justice and protecting human rights.
Discussing the white paper at a press conference, Jiang Wei, a senior official in charge of the judicial system reforms, said that China is formulating reforms for the country's reeducation through labor system.
"Some loopholes currently exist in the system's regulations and procedures," Jiang said in response to a question at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council, which issued the white paper.
"The necessity of the reforms has been recognized and authorities have done plenty of research and heard advice from experts and legislators, and they are now working on a plan for the reforms," the official said, adding that the system has its basis in the country's legal system and has played an important role in maintaining social order.
China's reeducation through labor system was approved by the top legislature and established in the 1950s. From the end of the 1970s to early 1980s, the system had been modified to include more regulations.
The white paper, the first of its kind issued by Chinese government, said the ultimate purpose of the judicial reforms is to maintain 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.
As early as the 1980s, following the end of the tumultuous ten-year Cultural Revolution, China started judicial reforms that were aimed at enhancing the function of court trials, expanding the openness of trials, improving attorney defense functions and training professional judges and procurators.
In 2004 and 2008, China continued to carry out reforms on a larger scale to meet the needs of the public.
REFORMS PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS
Improving the protection of human rights is an important goal, the white paper says, citing a 2012 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law that 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 said that a series of efforts have been made to prevent judicial cases in which people were unjustly charged.
The Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 stipulates that no person may be forced to prove his or her own guilt, adding that no criminal suspects or defendants may be forced to confess.
The newly amended law makes it clear that confessions by a suspect or a defendant obtained through torture or other illegal means, as well as eyewitness testimony and victim's statements that obtained through the use of violence, threats or other illegal means, should be excluded from court proceedings.
China has 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.
SOLVING PROBLEMS BY CHINESE WAY
As a populous developing country, China still has problems in its judicial system, Jiang said, adding that the country's judicial system will be based on its reality, instead of simply copied from other countries.
"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 about 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.
The white paper said China's judicial organs issued regulations in 2010 on building a case guidance system to standardize judicial acts.
Different from the common law system for case judgment, China's case guidance system, under the statutory law, uses cases to give direction for the accurate understanding and appropriate application of the provisions of laws.
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."
Jiang said that China will steadily push the reforms forward step by step, adding that there are no "best" systems in the world, but only ones that are suitable for different countries.