Report on the Work of the Supreme People's Court (2014)
By Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People's Court
In behalf of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), I now present to you the report on the work of the SPC for your deliberation, and I welcome comments on my report from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
1. Review of Work in 2013
In 2013, the SPC, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, and under the effective supervision of the National People's Congress (NPC) and its standing committee, closely centered on the goal of "letting the people to feel fairness and justice in each judicial case，" adhered to serving the overall situation, administrating justice for the people and maintaining judicial fairness, performed the duties conferred by the Constitution and laws faithfully, and made new progress in all the work. During the year, The SPC accepted and heard 11,016 cases of various types, up 3.2% over 2012, and concluded 9,716 cases, up 1.6% over 2012. Local people's courts at various levels accepted and heard 14.217 million cases of various types, up 7.4% over 2012, and concluded and enforced 12.947 million cases, up 4.4% over 2012. It made a positive contribution to promoting safety and rule of law in the country, by fully performing its functions.
I. Punishing crimes, Protecting Human Rights and Resolving Contradictions in accordance with Laws to Safeguard Social Harmony and Stability
—— Punishing the crimes of endangering national security and social stability in accordance with laws. The people's courts at various levels concluded 954,000 criminal cases of first instance, and convicted 1.158 million criminals. The people's courts severely punished the crimes of endangering national security and public safety through inciting to split the country and launching violent terrorist attacks, and of greatly threatening the safety of people's lives and properties. The people's courts concluded 250,000 cases of severe crimes, including homicide, robbery, kidnapping, explosion, rape, the trafficking in women and children, and organized crime committed by Mafia-like gang. A total of 325,000 criminals involved in these cases were convicted and punished. The SPC issued guidance jointly with other organizations concerned to punish according to law the crimes of sexual aggression against children and the crimes against campus safety, and to strengthen juvenile protection. The SPC published a judicial interpretation on handling the criminal cases of theft, racketeering and looting. The people's courts at various levels concluded 303,000 criminal cases of property violations and convicted 398,000 criminals in total. It released judicial interpretations on handling criminal cases of picking quarrels and provoking troubles, and fabricating and spreading false terrorism information, guided local courts to correctly hear the relevant cases, and punished the crimes of disrupting public order according to law. It also published a judicial interpretation on handling criminal cases of defamation on the Internet, unified the application of laws, and fought against the crimes of starting and mongering rumors through networks, to maintain a sound network environment. It punished the illegal and criminal acts of disrupting the medical order according to law, and effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of medical staff and patients. It clarified the identification criterion of "drunk driving". The people's courts at various levels concluded 90,000 criminal cases involving dangerous driving. Meanwhile, they also took an active part in anti-drug campaign, with 95,000 drug-related crimes concluded and 99,000 criminals convicted. The SPC shared no efforts in the review of death sentences by being stringent with the facts, evidence and legal provisions relating to the cases, to ensure that the death penalty shall only be applied to a very small number of criminals who have committed extremely serious crimes.
—— Punishing the crimes of economic offences, embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty according to law. The SPC issued guidance opinions on handling criminal cases of organizing and leading pyramid selling. The people's courts at various levels concluded 50,000 cases of economic crime involving pyramid selling, smuggling, money laundering, illegal fund-raising, financial swindling, insider trading, and business bribery, and convicted 69,000 criminals. The people's courts gave full play to the function of criminal justice in cracking down corruption, intensified fight against the crimes of embezzlement and bribery. 29,000 cases involving embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty were concluded, with 31,000 criminals convicted, including several high-profile cases, such as the case of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power by Bo Xilai, and the case of bribery and abuse of power by Liu Zhijun. All these efforts further promote the anti-corruption struggle in depth.
—— Punishing the crimes of endangering food safety and environmental pollution in accordance with law. The SPC actively responded to the concerns of the people, issued a judicial interpretation on handling the crime of endangering food safety. The people's courts at various levels concluded 2,082 related cases and convicted 2,647 criminals in total. The SPC issued a judicial explanation on handling criminal cases of polluting the environment, and intensified the punishment on the crime of polluting the environment. It also disclosed several typical criminal cases, including the case of Wang Changbing who produced and sold poisoned food, and the case of Hu Wenbiao and Ding Yuesheng who threw hazardous substances to contaminate the environment, so as to forcefully deter criminal offenders.
—— Resolutely preventing and correcting wrongful convictions. The SPC respected and protected human rights, adhered to the principles of legality, evidence judgment and presumption of innocence, and strictly excluded illegally obtained evidences. The people's courts at various levels acquitted according to law 825 people for lack of evidence and reasonable doubts, and ensured innocent people from being subject to criminal sanctions. The people's courts further strengthened communication with lawyer associations, highly valued the issues reflected by the lawyer associations and lawyers, respected and guaranteed lawyers to perform their duties according to law. The people's courts took resolute measures to correct several major unjust, false and erroneous cases in accordance with law, such as "the case of rape and murder by Zhang nephew and uncle，" and learnt profound lessons from them. Meanwhile, The people's courts strengthened evidence review, made the court hearing fully functional, divided work with the public security and procuratorial organs for cooperation and mutual restriction, established and improved a working mechanism preventing unjust, false and erroneous criminal cases, and defended the bottom line of preventing wrongful convictions.
—— Properly resolving social conflicts. The SPC adhered to the principles of legality and voluntariness to regulate judicial mediation. The people's courts at various levels handled 4.798 million cases through mediation and withdrawal of lawsuits. The SPC supported arbitration institutions to well function according to law, and 133,000 arbitral awards were concluded and enforced. It strengthened mediation for civil claims annexed to criminal cases, improved the assistance system for criminal victims, and protected the legitimate rights and interests of the victims. It actively participated in social governance, improved court-annexed ADR, strengthened pre-litigation mediation, upheld and developed the "Fengqiao Experience"， guided and supported mediation among the people. In result, a great deal of disputes can be resolved at the grassroots and before litigation, so as to promote social harmony.