Date
24 September 2017
People with grievances against China's justice system protest outside the Shandong provincial high court in Jinan. Photo: AFP
People with grievances against China's justice system protest outside the Shandong provincial high court in Jinan. Photo: AFP

China to abolish arrest, conviction targets

China’s ruling Communist Party will abolish targets for arrests, prosecutions and convictions, Reuters reported, quoting state media.

It is the latest in a series of legal reforms at a time of widening public discontent, the report said, part of the party’s efforts to “govern the country by law” — the focus of a key meeting late last year.

The party’s Political and Legal Committee, a secretive body overseeing the legal and security services, said Tuesday its units and law enforcement authorities “must resolutely cancel targets for criminal detention, arrests, prosecutions, convictions, settlements and other unreasonable targets for assessment”, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Convictions are nearly certain in Chinese courts, which are controlled by the party. The Supreme Court said last year the country has a 99.9 percent conviction rate.

The party will explore the establishment of a public interest litigation system set up by prosecutors and put forward a program for leniency in criminal proceedings for people who plead guilty, Xinhua said.

It will also look into separating judicial and enforcement powers and establishing a system that would ban legal professionals for life if they violated the law, it said.

Despite the legal reforms, President Xi Jinping’s administration has shown no interest in political change, Reuters said.

The government has arrested many human rights lawyers and has proposed changes to the law that would criminalize such acts as “insulting, defaming or threatening a judicial officer”.

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