China's top court and top procuratorate have highlighted their efforts to safeguard national security, especially political security, in reports delivered to national lawmakers on Friday.
Courts at all levels regard political security as the top priority during the past five years, read a report delivered by Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, who is also the president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), at a plenary meeting of the ongoing first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC).
Safeguarding national security and social stability is both listed in the plan of the SPC and Supreme People's Procuratorate for 2018.
The country has enhanced counter-terrorism, anti-separatism and anti-cult efforts; punished crimes of inciting secession and subverting State power, said the SPC report.
The highlights show that national security has always been, and will still be, a priority of China's judicial organizations and society, legal experts said.
"Counter-terrorism efforts are still challenging in regions like Xinjiang, while separatists are also a constant threat to the nation, with some even colluding with foreign forces, which makes security efforts always an important mission," Sun Xianzhong, a national lawmaker and deputy head of the China Civil Law Society, told the Global Times after the meeting.
The two top judicial organs also highlighted efforts to build more transparent and reliable organizations for Chinese people.
An obvious change compared with five years ago is people's trust in the legal system, said Sun, who was also a deputy of the 12th NPC.
Five years ago many Chinese people tried to settle matters outside the legal process, but now they prefer to go to court, Sun noted.
The changes come from the reform on mechanism, as well as from reforms of judicial bodies to make their work more supervised and transparent, said Sun.
By the end of February, China livestreamed 646,000 cases online, which were watched 4.85 billion times. The country has put 42.8 million judicial documents online, the SPC report said.
It also vowed to disclose more judicial documents on platforms such as websites, Weibo and WeChat, to ensure that the court's efforts to promote justice could be seen, evaluated and supervised.
Wang Wanqiong, a lawyer from the Rongde Law Firm in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, told the Global Times through a telephone interview that the disclosure will also give more pressure on judicial staffers not to abuse their power.
The amount of disclosured judicial documents are far from enough, she said, adding that the goal is that every case, unless it involves national and business secrets, or the privacy of minors, should be disclosed.
In 2018, more technical support will be included to ensure the transparency of the judicial organs, such as big data, said Sun. Rectifying wrong convictions was also improved to safeguard justice and human rights. The SPC reversed the rulings of 6,747 criminal cases and acquitted nearly 5,000 people during the past five years, read the report.
The progress was remarkable and made amid huge challenges, said Wang, who is also the lawyer for Chen Man, a man who was wrongly convicted and jailed for 23 years.
Chen was acquitted in February 2016 and granted more than 2.75 million yuan in compensation in May 2016.
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