Sunday, September 30, 2012
Blast from the past: Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuracy repeal several pre-1980 rules
In a society as fast-changing as China's, rules can quickly become obsolete. But the system can rarely get around to repealing or updating them in time. The pragmatic response to this problem has been simply to ignore the outdated rules when they get in the way. But this response does, of course, have a cost in damage to the culture of legality. Thus, institutions still try from time to time to identify and purge from the system old and obsolete rules. The latest attempt at this was published jointly by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuracy on Sept. 29, 2012. Interestingly, it was approved by the SPP last December, but not by the SPC until last June. And it wasn't promulgated until this month. I don't know the reason for all this delay.
The abolished regulations range in time from 1956 to 1979. Most are abolished because the subject matter they deal with no longer exists - for example, crimes of counterrevolution or hooliganism. I suspect (without any real evidence, I admit) that nobody was implementing these rules any more anyway, so this is likely just a housekeeping operation and won't bring about any change in practice.