Chinese judicial and procuratorial organs have maintained high pressure on law violations, including graft, local mafia and “Peppa Pig” copyright infringement, to safeguard justice, social stability and development.
The judiciary also endeavors to serve the country’s all-round opening-up, the Belt and Road Initiative, and high-quality development, according to the work reports of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) delivered to the annual national legislative session Tuesday. Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan attended the plenary meeting of the session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Chief Justice Zhou Qiang and Procurator-General Zhang Jun highlighted progress made in the past year when delivering the reports.”The top court has punished crimes, protected the people, and resolutely safeguarded national security and social stability in accordance with the law,” Zhou said.
The SPC handled 34,794 cases in 2018 and concluded 31,883 cases, up 22.1 percent and 23.5 percent year on year respectively. Local courts saw an increase of 8.8 percent and 10.6 percent in the cases they handled and concluded. The top procuratorate has “based its work on people’s increasing demands for democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment in a new era,” Zhang said. With unwavering resolve to bring the corrupt to justice, Chinese courts concluded 28,000 graft cases involving embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty last year. Among the 33,000 people involved were 18 former officials at the provincial level and above. Meanwhile, 32 such former high-ranking officials, including Sun Zhengcai and Wang Sanyun, were charged. Sun is the former Party chief of southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, who was sentenced to life in prison in May for taking bribes of over 170 million yuan (25.29 million U.S. dollars), while Wang, former Party chief of Gansu Province, stood trial in October, accused of using his position for bribe-taking.
A total of 2,466 people who offered bribes were convicted last year amid a heavier crackdown on bribery. Prosecutors handled work-related criminal cases transferred by supervisory commissions involving 16,092 suspects in 2018. Among them, 9,802 have been prosecuted. The courts also targeted corruption among their own ranks in 2018, with 1,064 court staff investigated and punished for abusing the power of their positions. Making headway in the campaign to combat organized crime and root out local mafia, Chinese courts concluded 5,489 related cases in 2018, which involved 29,000 criminals, while procuratorates across the country approved the arrest of 73,385 suspects involved in such crime, among whom 61,188 were indicted. Addressing pollution, China prosecuted 42,195 suspects for damaging the environment and resources last year, up 21 percent year on year, and the courts concluded 2,204 cases involving crimes of environmental pollution.
Strengthening intellectual property protection, Chinese courts concluded 288,000 cases related to intellectual property rights (IPR) of first instance in 2018, marking a year-on-year increase of 41.8 percent. Meanwhile, 8,325 suspects were prosecuted for criminal acts such as infringement of patent rights and trademark rights, up by 16.3 percent. A tribunal for IPR-related cases was set up at the SPC last year to further strengthen the judicial protection of IPR. In addition, the judiciary improved legal service of China’s all-round opening-up. The courts concluded 15,000 foreign-related civil and commercial cases of first instance in 2018. Among the cases was one handled by the Hangzhou Internet Court, which adjudicated a copyright infringement case last August and ordered two offending Chinese companies to compensate for the economic loss of British animation “Peppa Pig” character’s copyright owners.
Looking into 2019, the SPC and the SPP will continue to ensure legal guarantees for sustained and sound economic and social development and strengthen their team building, according to the reports. Vowing to deepen judicial reform this year, Zhou said, “The SPC will uphold the principle of administrating justice for the people to enhance their sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.” Impressed by the judicial initiatives in the work reports, Lu Man, an NPC deputy from Jiangsu, said she noticed that the judiciary has rectified a number of wrongful convictions and many problems that incurred strong public dissatisfaction have been effectively solved.”The people feel the progress of fairness and justice,” she said. 2019 is a key year for the sprint to finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. “I expect the judicial system to continue to serve as a ‘reassuring pill’ for the common people, and escort our country to achieve the centenary goal,” she said.