Cablegate: Court and Procuracy Reports Stress Anti-

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1. (SBU) During his March 13 presentation of the
Supreme People's Court Work Report at China's annual
legislative session, Court President Xiao Yang
discussed death penalty reforms and made repeated
reference to the need for supervision of the
judiciary. Procurator-General Jia Chunwang
highlighted anti-corruption efforts in his
presentation on the work of the Supreme People's
Procuratorate at the same session and said there is a
shortage of prosecutors for handling the now-required
second-instance higher court trials for death penalty
cases. While Jia referred to corruption prosecutions
at the State Food and Drug Administration, he did not
mention the scandal that took down Shanghai leader
Chen Liangyu, as the case has not yet moved to
prosecution. Comment: Aside from discussion of death
penalty review procedures, this year's judicial
reports reiterated well-worn promises of coming
improvements and are unlikely to assuage rising public
concerns over corruption and rights protection. End
Summary and Comment.

2. (U) During his March 13 report to the National
People's Congress (NPC), Supreme People's Court (SPC)
President Xiao Yang announced that local,
intermediate, and higher level courts handled
8,205,007 cases in 2006, an increase of 2.07%. Of
this total, there were 798,572 criminal cases,
4,831,043 civil cases, 125,976 administrative cases,
and 2,149,625 enforcement cases. Trial-level courts
handled 701,379 criminal cases, in which 889,042
persons were convicted and 1,713 persons acquitted.
Under a pilot program conducted in ten higher-level
courts, 378 victims and family members received RMB
7.8 million in state compensation. There were 429,852
prisoners who received reductions in sentence and
20,254 who received parole.

3. (U) Procurator General Jia Chunwang reported that
procuracies approved detention for 891,620 defendants
and filed suit against 999,086 defendants in 2006. Of
this total, there were 47,228 detentions and 46,607
filings in murder, bombing, rape, and kidnapping cases
and 419,578 detentions and 445,849 filings in burglary
and robbery offenses. There were 24,211 detentions
and 27,728 filings for economic crimes, of which there
were 3,729 detentions and 3,634 filings for
intellectual property offenses, an increase of 16.7%
and 12.6%, respectively.

Death Penalty Review

4. (U) Both reports discussed implementation of death
penalty review procedures introduced in 2006, which
mandate second-instance trials by higher courts in all
death penalty cases and review of death penalty
verdicts by the SPC. The SPC is prepared to assume
final review of all death penalty cases, Xiao stated.
In addition, lower-level courts are currently
conducting trials in second-instance death penalty
cases. Through these measures, courts will limit
imposition of the death penalty to the minority of
cases that present the most egregious criminal conduct
and severe harm to the public, the report noted. The
use of the death penalty should be strictly controlled
through perfecting final review and strengthening
human rights protection, Xiao stated.

5. (U) Jia Chunwang echoed SPC President Xiao's
comments on death penalty reforms during his report.
Because courts handling second-instance death penalty
cases have not been handling trials, as is now
generally required, local procuracies do not have
specialized prosecutors able to handle those cases.
The provincial procuracies will make internal
adjustments to ensure that this task can be properly
handled, Jia stated.

IPR Cases

6. (U) According to Xiao, courts handled 2,277
criminal intellectual property infringement cases

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involving 3,508 defendants in 2006. In the civil
arena, the courts handled 14,056 cases, of which 5,751
cases involved copyright infringement, 2,378 cases
involved trademark infringement, 3,227 cases involved
patent infringement, and 1,188 cases involved unfair

New Mediation Mechanism

7. (U) Courts annulled, altered, or held unlawful or
ineffective agency action in 14,250 administrative
cases and upheld agency action in 37,360 cases. Under
a new mechanism, the courts have explored a form of
mediation in which the involved administrative agency
agrees to modify its action in return for the
plaintiff dismissing suit. The courts have used this
method in 32,146 cases, which represents 33.82% of the
total of administrative cases.


8. (U) Courts handled 23,733 corruption and
dereliction of duty cases, of which there were 359
commercial bribery and 8,310 official bribery cases.
Of the official bribery cases, there were nine cases
involving officials at the provincial or ministerial

9. (SBU) Jia Chunwang said the procuracy handled
33,668 corruption cases involving 40,041 defendants,
of which 29,966 have been formally charged. There
were 18,241 cases formally established that involve
major dereliction of duty offenses, of which 623 cases
involved corruption and acceptance of bribes with an
amount of RMB1 million or more. There were 1,670
fugitives arrested, 3,878 defendants involved in rural
corruption, 10,742 defendants involved in state-owned
enterprise corruption and 930 defendants involved in
investigative misconduct (such as illegal detention or
forced confessions). Jia cited 9,582 commercial
bribery cases with RMB1.5 billion involved. He
specifically mentioned the investigation of officials
connected with the State Food and Drug Administration,
but did not refer to the year's biggest corruption
case in Shanghai, apparently because the case has not
yet been submitted to the procuracy.

10. (U) The procuracies handled 16,662 supervision
cases in which officials failed to establish a case.
There were 14,858 persons who should have been
detained, 10,703 cases that should have been filed,
and 2,846 defendants whose sentences were improperly
reduced or who improperly received parole, according
to Jia. Procuracies dismissed 4,569 cases in which a
criminal process was improperly used in civil
commercial disputes. Jia acknowledged that there were
233 cases involving detentions that exceeded legal
time limits.

11. (U) The procuracies appealed in 3,161 criminal
cases and 12,669 civil and administrative cases and
prosecuted 2,987 judicial personnel for duty crimes.
The procuracies handled 477,596 petition and visit
cases, Jia stated.

Supervising the Judiciary

12. (U) Xiao reported that judicial supervision
continues to be a problem, with 292 judges
investigated for violations of the law and 109 judges
convicted criminally. The courts firmly accept the
supervision of the National People's Congress and its
standing committee, Xiao stated, a theme he repeated
several times. Last year, the SPC conducted an
internal investigation to address 241 suggestions from
the NPC and the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

13. (U) Continuing problems in the courts include poor
quality of judicial decisionmaking, excessive time
required to handle cases and ineffective enforcement
of judgments. The main reasons for these phenomena
are (1) a number of judges lack the ability to
properly manage cases, (2) some judges lack

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professional ethics and maintain a biased and
subjective attitude in deciding cases and (3) a small
number of judges and court leaders distort the law for
their personal benefit. A focus on criminal cases in
2007 should stress anti-corruption and strict
punishment of corruption and dereliction of duty
offenses. The procuracies face similar problems,
according to Jia, who cited an insufficient ability to
conduct legal supervision, inadequate training of
prosecutors, lack of standardization in law
enforcement, unlawful acts by prosecutorial staff and
inadequate resources in the central and western


14. (SBU) Aside from the references to new death
penalty review procedures, this year's judicial
reports, which traditionally garner lower approval
ratings than other NPC reports, followed the same
format as previous years and revealed little that was
new. Xiao and Jia, who will both be retiring before
the next NPC, admitted continuing problems and renewed
old promises to make improvements, but their familiar
rhetoric is unlikely to assuage rising public concerns
over corruption and rights protection.


© Scoop Media

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