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Open trials, sentences showcase China's volition in rule of law

http://english.hebei.com.cn  2013-09-29 11:39

  Trials and tribulations of high-profile cases from top level corruption to the tragic death of a toddler have been smeared all over China's front pages for the past month.

  While exposing more complicated social issues in a country undergoing major transformation, the openness in the handling of these cases reflects the effort of China's law enforcement bodies to promote equity and justice.

  In the most prominent case, Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Sept. 22 for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power following an open court trial from Aug. 22 to 26.

  Media commentaries said Bo's treatment, fully in accordance with the law, shows that nobody is exempt from Party discipline and national laws.Whoever is involved will be thoroughly investigated and, if punished, severely punished, in accordance with law.

  Three days after Bo's sentence, a 39-year-old man who killed a two-year-old girl by throwing her to the ground was sentenced to death.

  A drunken Han Lei grabbed the girl from her carriage and hurled her to the ground in the Daxing District of Beijing on July 23 after an argument with the toddler's mother over a parking space. Han fled the scene but was captured the next day while the severely injured girl died a few days later.

  "All crimes reflect people's living situations. Recent cases of different types but concentrated in a short period expose complicated social relations and conflicts as China reinvents itself," said Zhao Zhengqun, professor with the Law School at Nankai University.

  The baby-throwing man and an explosion in Beijing's Capital International Airport in July, suggest an underlying anger and cruelty lurking in society.

  Earlier this month, a Beijing court began hearing the case of Ji Zhongxing, a wheelchair-bound man from east China's Shandong Province. Ji set off a homemade explosive device outside the airport's Terminal 3 arrivals exit on July 20, severely injuring himself and causing minor injuries to a police officer.

  "Solving social conflict through judicial procedure will win more support and understanding from the public," Zhao said.

  In recent trials, including Bo's, law enforcers heard cases in open and court and even set up microblog accounts to provide the public with live updates, including text, pictures and audio clips.

  "Justice must be done, and it must be seen to be done," Zhao said.

  According to Zhao, from investigation through hearing and sentences, these cases demonstrate the pursuit of real justice and a special focus on procedural justice, with an essential premise of openness and transparency.

  Presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in February, CPC leader Xi Jinping stressed making people really feel the fairness and justice in every judicial case, saying that all law enforcement agencies need to improve their work and solve the deep-rooted problems that hinder judicial justice and competence.

  "Justice calls for a just and rational hearing, as well as independent and impersonal judgement. Only openness and transparency can ensure the justice of trials and sentences while consolidating the authority of law and the credibility of the judiciary," said Ma Huaide, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law.

  Signaling openness and transparency as major goals for the judiciary , the Supreme People's Court in July urged courts at all levels to shake off the "mysticism" of justice and promote judicial openness, instructing them to carry out live broadcasts of trials and upload judgement documents online.

  Meanwhile, Cao Jianming, procurator-general of China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), vowed to publicize information on the basis, procedures and results of law enforcement and stick to the principle of openness during an open house day in late June when officials, media outlets and others visited the SPP's case administration center.

  Cao said the SPP will open up its work to meet public demand for the right to know, participate and to supervise.

Keywords:Open trials

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