Supreme People's Court Work Report for 2005


Xiao Yang, president of the PRC Supreme People's Court, delivers work report of the Supreme People's Court at 4th Session of 10th National People's Congress


Xinhua Domestic Service
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Beijing, 11 Mar (Xinhua)--Supreme People's Court Work Report to the Fourth Session of the 10th National People's Congress on 11 March

By Xiao Yang, President of the Supreme People's Court

Fellow Deputies:

Now, on behalf of the Supreme People's Court, let me report the work of the court for deliberation by the session. Members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, please also put forward your suggestions.

Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as its general secretary and guided by the Deng Xiaoping theory and the important thinking of the "Three Represents," the Supreme People's Court in 2005 fully implemented the scientific development concept, enforced in depth the work principles of "fair adjudication" and "serving the people wholeheartedly," carefully implemented the demands made by the 3d Session of the 10th NPC, and conscientiously fulfilled the duties entrusted to it by the constitution and the laws. New progress was made in the administration of justice and other work.

1. Administration of Justice and Enforcement Work

During the past year, the Supreme People's Court, proceeding from the big picture of promoting socioeconomic development, maintaining social stability, and building a harmonious socialist society, consistently did a good job in the administration of justice and enforcement work. It tried and closed a total of 3,196 cases of all types (including reviews of appeals and applications for retrial), up 9.34 percent from the previous year. Under the supervision and guidance of the Supreme People's Court and relying on the supervision of party committees and people's congresses at their levels, people's courts at all local levels tried and closed a total of 7,940,549 cases of all types, up 0.85 percent compared with the previous year, which involved a combined 1.059.79 trillion yuan.

1) Serious criminals were severely punished in accordance with the law to safeguard national security and social stability. Serious criminal activities endanger the vital interests of the nation and the people. Therefore, they must be punished as provided by law. In 2005, the Supreme People's Court tried and closed 445 major cases involving serious crimes such as the endangerment of national security, smuggling, financial fraud, the issuance of phony special VAT receipts, drug manufacturing, corruption, and bribery, up 11.25 percent compared with the previous year. The Supreme People's Court sentenced the most serious criminals to death in accordance with the Criminal Code and the principle that the punishment must fit the crime. The Supreme People's Court also followed the policy of combining leniency with severity in criminal cases. In cases where the criminal should be sentenced to death but where the law allowed a more lenient punishment, or where there were mitigating circumstances, or where it was not necessary to carry out the death sentence immediately, the Supreme People's Court suspended the death sentences or sentenced the criminal to life imprisonment. Cases where there was a dispute as to the facts or where evidence was lacking were sent back to the lower court for a retrial.

People's courts at all local levels tried and closed 683,997 first-instance criminal cases and meted out punishments to 844,717 criminals, up 6.17 percent and 10 percent, respectively, compared with the previous year. The courts severely punished crimes that involved bombings, murder, armed robberies, rapes, kidnappings, organized gang activities, and other crimes that seriously endangered the lives, health, and properties of the people. They tried and closed 238,738 cases and sentenced 321,395 criminals, including 131,869 who were given five-year prison terms or longer or who were sentenced to life imprisonment. Local people's courts also severely punished crimes involving the production or sale of shoddy and bogus merchandise, the disruption of the financial and management order, the endangerment of tax administration and collection, and other crimes that undermined the socialist market economy, trying and closing 15,082 cases and sentencing 20,509 criminals. Local people's courts tried and closed 1,050 cases involving major responsibility cases, major occupational safety cases, and major construction project safety incidents and sentenced 1,296 criminals. They tried and closed 24,277 cases involving embezzlement, bribery, and dereliction of duty by government workers and handed down sentences to 1,932 former officials above the county or section level. Of these 1,932 criminals, six were at the provincial or ministerial levels and 178 were at the prefectural or departmental level.

People's courts at all local levels conscientiously strengthened human rights protection in criminal adjudication. They took pains to ascertain the facts of a case, to see that a case was backed up by evidence, to comply with the procedures, and to apply the relevant law. They made sure that a verdict could stand the test of history. They insisted that those who were found guilty be sentenced and that those found innocent by be released. They acquitted 2,162 defendants in criminal cases in accordance with the law, preserved the defendants' right to sue, and appointed public defenders for 117,407 defendants who qualified for legal aid under the law.

2) The Supreme People's Court protected the civil rights of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations on the basis of equality in accordance with the law and maintained the order of the socialist market economy and order in the work and lives of the people. Civil disputes affect economic development, social stability, and the people's lives, so they must be dealt with promptly in accordance with the law. In 2005, the Supreme People's Court tried and closed 568 major civil cases involving the sale and transfer of the right to use state-owned land, mining rights, enterprise restructuring, marital and family disputes, personal injury, loan guarantees, and shareholder rights; cases involving foreigners; and maritime cases. The total amount involved in these cases was 10.44 billion yuan. By granting injunctive relief and ordering the return of properties, the restoration of the status quo, and the payment of compensation and damages, and through the use of other civil remedies, the Supreme People's Court gave equal protection to the legitimate rights and interests of all parties to the civil cases and maintained a market order that promoted honesty, trust, and fair competition.

People's courts at all local levels tried and closed a total of 4,360,184 first-instance cases during 2005, up 1.31 percent from the previous year, which involved 653 billion yuan in all. Specifically, the people's courts tried and closed 1,132,458 domestic and marital disputes and cases involving property inheritance; 121,516 labor disputes involving a total of 2.37 billion yuan; 70,129 contract disputes in the building industry involving a total of 30.65 billion yuan; 268,119 contract disputes in various service industries involving a total of 32.91 billion yuan; and 1,778 cases involving the rights and interests of servicemen and their families. Intensifying judicial arbitration, the courts closed first-instance cases through arbitration at the rate of 32.1 percent, with many courts at the basic level achieving arbitration rates above 70 percent.

3) Judicial protection for intellectual property rights has been increased to promote China's capacity for independent innovation and the building of a national innovation system. Intellectual property is an important hallmark of a nation's ability to innovate on its own. It is also an important right for citizens, legal persons, and other organizations, so it must be protected in accordance with the law. During the past year, the Supreme People's Court made a greater effort to try cases involving the infringement of patents, trade secrets, new plant varieties, famous trademarks, and Internet, music, and television copyrights. A total of 77 major intellectual property rights cases were tried and closed during the year.

In conjunction with the national campaign targeting intellectual property rights violations, local people's courts punished infringements in accordance with the law, trying and closing 3,529 cases involving counterfeiting, piracy, and other intellectual property rights violations, up 28.28 percent from the year a year ago. They tried and closed 13,393 first-instance intellectual property civil cases, 38.04 percent more than in the previous year. In so doing, the courts provided a judicial guarantee for the enhancement of China's independent innovation capability, the perfection of the nation's innovation system, and the promotion of international fair trade and the development of the cultural industry.

4) The Supreme People's Court supervised and supported government departments in law-based administration; protected the legitimate rights of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations: and protected order in administration and management. As government's social management function and public service provider function grew steadily, harmonizing and balancing public power with the rights of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations has become an issue of widespread concern to society. During the past year, the Supreme People's Court tried and closed 77 major administrative lawsuits and state compensation cases involving urban planning, housing demolition, labor and social security, environmental protection, and administration of industry and commerce.

People's courts at all local levels tried and concluded 95,707 first-instance administrative lawsuits in 2005, up 3.81 percent from the previous year. In a determined bid to correct administrative conduct that violates the masses' interests, people's courts at all local levels nullified or amended administrative actions or upheld the illegality and invalidity of administrative actions in 16,895 cases. They firmly supported government organizations in law-based administration, ensured that administrative organizations fulfill their social management functions in accordance with the law, and upheld the administrative actions of government departments in 37,192 cases. The people's courts fully respected the right of the parties involved to file a lawsuit. In 41,620 cases, the courts permitted the plaintiffs to withdraw a complaint following the decision by the administrative organizations to amend their administrative action at issue. In addition, the courts investigated and handled 124,629 non-lawsuit administrative cases and tried and closed 2,991 state compensation cases involving a total of 37.51 million yuan.

5) Efforts were stepped up to coordinate the enforcement of court decisions in interregional civil cases and ease the "law enforcement" difficulties. For years the masses have complained strongly about the difficulties in having the decisions of a court enforced. In 2005 the Supreme People's Court worked extra hard to coordinate the enforcement of court verdicts in major interregional civil cases, handling a total of 210 such cases. In addition, modern electronic communications technology was put to use to develop a "national information management system" to help enforce court decisions. In their search for a state enforcement deterrence mechanism, the courts worked with public security departments, administrations of industry and commerce, and banks to impose stiffer sanctions on those who refused to comply with court decisions so as to encourage them to comply voluntarily.

People's courts at all local levels continued to improve enforcement using a variety of methods: higher level enforcement, designated enforcement, cross enforcement, releasing the names of those subject to enforcement, and offering incentives to those who come forward with information on enforcement. For all 2005, 2,052,835 new applications for enforcement were received, in addition to the 360,445 already on file. Enforcement was effected in 2,036,717 cases involving 312 billion yuan. Of these 2,036,717 cases, the parties voluntarily carried out the courts' verdicts and reached a settlement in 1,007,432 cases, while compulsory measures to enforce the courts' decisions were taken in 431,803 cases. In 597,482 cases, enforcement was terminated because the parties had no properties or because the properties' whereabouts were unknown.

2. Supervision and Guidance Work

An important responsibility entrusted to the Supreme People's Court by the Constitution and the laws is to supervise and guide the administration of justice by the lower courts. During the past year, the Supreme People's Court focused its supervision and guidance on those issues that generated the strongest complaints from the public and intensified its supervision and guidance of people's courts at all local levels.

1) The Supreme People's Court strengthened the supervision of the administration of justice and worked hard to address the concern of the public over their difficulties in filing appeals and applying for retrials. One way for the public to express their interest demands is to write a letter to or visit a government office. These letters and visits represent an important channel for the Supreme People's Court to strengthen self-supervision as well as its supervision of people's courts at all levels. During the past year, the Supreme People's Court reformed the mechanism for handling letters and visits to keep the channels of appeal flowing smoothly. The Supreme People's Court handled 147,449 letters and visits from the public in 2005, down 0.15 percent compared with the previous year, including 19,695 letters and visits that alleged misconduct by judges. The Supreme People's Court stepped up the investigation of appeals and applications for retrials and placed 1,834 cases on file for investigation and prosecution in 2005. In another 383 cases, the Supreme People's Court decided to grant a retrial or ordered a lower court to rehear a case. It adopted a hearing system for appeals and applications for retrial and held more than 1,000 hearings for all 2005.

People's courts at all local levels processed 2,995,244 letters and visits from the public in 2005, down 5.33 percent year on year, including 435,547 cases that dealt with misconduct by judges. They reviewed 196,342 appeals and applications for retrial, of which 47,902 cases were found to meet the requirements for retrial and 46,468 cases were brought to a close. In addition, the verdicts were reversed in 15,867 cases, 0.31 percent of all active cases in 2005. As a result of the ceaseless efforts of people's courts across the nation, the number of letters and visits alleging misconduct by judges has begun to decline after climbing year after year.

People's courts at all local levels took up 10,107 cases after documents were filed by procuratorial organs challenging the verdicts in some criminal cases in accordance with trial supervision procedures, down 18.15 percent year on year. Of these 10,107 cases, 9,949 cases were tried and closed. Specifically, the verdicts were reversed in 2,677 cases in accordance with the law after the grounds on which the procuratorial organs based their challenge were accepted; 323 cases were sent back for retrial because new evidence was uncovered or because the facts had not been sorted out in the original trial; 1,065 cases were resolved amicably after the parties reached a voluntary settlement; the original verdicts were upheld because the protests were determined to have no merit in 3,737 cases; the procuratorial organs withdrew the challenges in 401 cases; and the proceedings were terminated because the whereabouts of the parties were unknown or for other reasons in 1,746 cases.

2) The Supreme People's Court strengthened judicial interpretation work to make sure the appropriate law was applied. As provided by law, the Supreme People's Court explains how a specific law should be applied in a judicial proceeding to ensure that people's courts at all levels have an accurate understanding of the law and to create uniform sentencing standards. In 2005, the Supreme People's Court formulated 15 judicial interpretations and issued 28 judicial guidance documents. Taking aim at the high incidence of armed robberies and holdups, the Supreme People's Court promptly put forward some opinions on certain issues pertaining to the laws to be applied when trying those cases and clarified the standards to be applied for determining what constituted such crimes. In view of the new circumstances that have emerged in gambling-related criminal cases, the Supreme People's Court worked with the Supreme People's Procuratorate to develop an interpretation of the specific laws to be applied in trying gambling cases. It also formulated definitions for "operating an online casino" and "group gambling." Targeting the new issue in disputes over state-owned land use right contracts, the Supreme People's Court has formulated an interpretation of the law to be applied in trying cases involving land use rights contract disputes. It has also formulated detailed rules on the requirements for the sale and transfer of state-owned land and contract validity. Bearing in mind the characteristics of rural land contracting disputes in the new era, the Supreme People's Court formulated an interpretation of the law applicable to the resolution of disputes involving rural land contracting, thereby setting uniform standards for the handling of cases involving the transfer of land contracting management rights and the distribution of land requisition compensation fees.

3) The Supreme People's Court strengthened guidance over the development of people's courts at the basic level and worked hard to raise their standard and capability. To promote the development of people's courts at the basic level, the Supreme People's Court convened a national people's court work conference, formulated "The Decision on Strengthening the Work of People's Courts Comprehensively," and guided the political construction, organizational construction, and technical construction of the people's courts as well as their equipment upgrading and judicial management. The Supreme People's Court improved and perfected a liaison system for people's courts at the basic level and demanded that leaders of people's courts at all levels immerse themselves among people at the grass roots, understand their situation, review experiences, and guide their work. In addition, the Supreme People's Court has selectively stepped up training for judges in people's courts at the basic level and training for the presidents of people's courts at the basic level in the western region. For the year as a whole, 535 presidents from people's courts at the basic level and 4,379 judges from local people's courts were given training. In addition, 110,000 judges received training from judge-training institutions at all local levels. The ability of judges at the basic level to apply the law, to write verdicts, and to achieve judicial arbitration has been further enhanced.

4) The Supreme People's Court promoted judicial reform and gave a boost to the improvement of the judicial system. In accordance with the CPC Central committee's centralized plans on the judicial system and work mechanism, the Supreme People's Court in 2005 issued the "Outline for the Second Five-Year Reform Plan for People's Courts" to guide people's courts at all levels to reform and perfect the judicial procedures, trial organization, trial supervision, trial guidance, the enforcement mechanism, and other systems. Moreover, the Supreme People's Court guided people's courts at all levels in conscientiously implementing the NPC Standing Committee's "Decision on Perfecting the People's Jury System," developed rules for the people's jury system, and stepped up training for people's jurors. A total of 45,697 people's jurors took part in trying 164,630 cases of all types, up 16.53 percent, thus broadening judicial democracy and increasing judicial transparency.

5) The Supreme People's Court expanded legal aid and improved measures to make things convenient for the people in judicial matters. The Supreme People's Court timely amended the "Rules for Providing Litigants in Genuine Economic Difficulties with Legal Aid." The rules provide legal aid to struggling enterprises, bankrupt enterprises, and individuals who are handicapped, widowed, orphaned, or who live below the poverty line. They also stipulate that parties seeking compensation for injuries due to traffic accidents or work-related injuries and parties seeking support may be exempt from litigation fees or pay such fees at reduced rates, thus further broadening the coverage of legal aid. In 2005, people's courts around the nation made legal aid available to 266,732 individuals involved in litigation who had bona fide financial difficulties, saving them 1.265 billion yuan in litigation fees through fee exemption, fee reduction or fee deferment, up 16.24 percent year on year. Meanwhile, the Supreme People's Court guided local people's courts in perfecting and implementing measures designed to make things convenient for the people in judicial matters and provided guidebooks to the public instructing them on how to file a lawsuit, informing them of the risks of litigation, and guiding them to properly express their interest demands in accordance with the law. The Supreme People's Court also guided people's courts at various levels in making it easier for the public by allowing people to file a lawsuit through online filing, by holding mobile court, and by reserving trial dates in advance.

3. Building a Corps for People's Courts

Building a corps of judges who are politically firm, professionally competent, and honest and incorruptible and who have a fine style is an important assurance of a fair judiciary. In 2005 the Supreme People's Court conscientiously implemented the demand of the 3d Session of the 10th National People's Congress that the building of a corps of judges be intensified and worked hard to resolve the problem of a minority of judges breaking the law and perverting justice for a bribe, which has drawn extensive public criticisms. The Supreme People's Court worked hard to improve the political and professional qualities as well as the professional ethics of the corps of judges.

1) Further intensified the building of the leading groups of people's courts. Even as it tackled the building of its own group, the Supreme People's Court intensified its management of the leading groups at high people's courts. During 2005 the Supreme People's Court dispatched nine investigative teams to help party committees at the local levels to study the leading groups of high people's courts and help them establish and perfect a study system, a supervision system, a democratic life system, a recuse system, and a system for holding judges accountable when they break the law in the administration of justice. Outstanding personnel were selected to fill leadership positions or for on-the-job training in some high people's courts, intermediate people's courts, and people's courts at the basic level to amplify the ranks of leading groups in the courts. The Supreme People's Court actively cooperated with the party committees of the localities and departments concerned to sternly investigate the minority of law breakers among the ranks of leading groups in the courts. It supported people's courts at all levels in strictly enforcing entry requirements. A pre-appointment examination system for judges was strictly implemented. In addition, there were special reviews. Those found to be delinquent were corrected resolutely.

2) Further intensified the ideological and political development of the corps of judges. In accordance with the unified plans of the CPC Central Committee, the Supreme People's Court conscientiously launched educational activities to preserve the advanced nature of party members, demanding that people's courts at all levels educate their rank-and-file party members with Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thinking of the "Three Represents," thoroughly identify problems in ideological faith, sense of purpose, organization, and judicial style, and enhance the rank-and-file judges' awareness of the overall situation, their legal awareness, and their sense of responsibility. In accordance with the unified plans of the Central Political and Legal Commission, the Supreme People's Court launched a campaign throughout the nation's system of courts to "regularize judicial conduct and promote fair administration of justice." The campaign focused on correcting and standardizing those links in the civil proceedings and enforcement work that were most likely to go awry. The Supreme People's Court demanded that people's courts at all levels investigate such problems as judges handing down unfair verdicts, acting in arbitrary ways, enforcing rulings in violation of the law, failing to place cases on file for investigation and prosecution, and ignoring complaints, and that the courts take measures to correct the problems within a set period of time.

3) Further intensified the professionalization of the corps of judges. In keeping with the patterns and characteristics of the administration of justice, the Supreme People's Court guided people's courts at all levels in enforcing entry requirements for the profession of judges, heightening their sense of professionalism, nurturing their sense of professional ethics, sharpening their professional skills, and establishing their professional image. The Supreme People's Court perfected classified management for judges and other staffers. It also improved the recruitment, training, evaluation, promotion, and exchange systems. It developed a judge selection plan and improved the quality of those selected. It strictly enforced the "Basic Code of Professional Ethics for Judges," promoted the judges' self-improvement, and restricted their extra-curricular activities. It formulated the "Code of Conduct for Judges;" encouraged a sense of impartiality, of efficiency, and of incorruptibility among the judges; and put forward specific demands in eight areas, from placing cases on file for investigation and prosecution and trying cases in court to conducting arbitration, document production, and handling letters and visits from the public that involves misconduct by judges. A joint examination was held for 34,771 enforcement personnel from the nation's court system. Of these 34,771 people, 312 people failed the examination and were given re-training or new assignments.

4) Doubled effort to improve the judicial style and intensify the drive for incorruptibility in the courts. The Supreme People's Court called on rank-and-file judges across the nation to study in depth the advanced deeds of Song Yushui, who is well known for her analytical ways and understanding and who is admired both by those who prevail in a case and by those who lose, and Jin Guilan, who has her feet firmly planted at the grass roots and who cares about the ordinary people. It called on them to set an example and spread the spirit of righteousness. As a result, a host of model collectives and advanced individuals who "practice the administration of justice fairly and are wholly devoted to the people" have emerged in the courts all over the country. In 2005, 379 collectives and 376 individuals were commended by the Supreme Peoples' Court and other central departments concerned. Furthermore, the Supreme People's Court conscientiously lived up to the spirit of the fifth plenary session of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission and mobilized the court system throughout the nation to fight corruption and conduct activities promoting incorruptibility. It sternly investigated personnel who abused their judicial power or enforcement power to further personal gains and broke the law for a bribe. For all 2005, 378 judicial personnel were investigated for such crimes, down 18 percent year on year. Of these 378 individuals, 66 were held criminally liable, down 44.07 percent compared with the previous year.

Fellow deputies, during the past year people's courts on the mainland were actively engaged in exchanges and cooperation with judicial organizations in Hong Kong and Macao. Substantive progress was made in achieving reciprocity between the mainland, on the one hand, and Hong Kong and Macao, on the other, and in enforcing the decisions in civil and commercial cases. The appropriate agreements have been signed to date. Last year people's courts on the mainland and judicial organs in Hong Kong and Macao exchanged documents in civil and commercial cases and investigated certificates in 979 cases. In addition, people's courts accepted the rulings of Taiwan courts in 17 civil cases.

During the past year, the Supreme People's Court, in line with overall judicial work, was actively engaged in judicial exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries. As authorized by the central authorities and with the Supreme People's Court taking the lead, China successfully hosted the 22d World Law Conference. The theme of the conference was "The Rule of Law and Harmonious International Society." President Hu Jintao met with chief justices, ministers of justice, and directors of procuratorate from more than 60 nations and regions as well as leaders of international organizations. He also delivered a major speech. People from the legal communities at home and abroad engaged in wide-ranging and in-depth discussions and exchanges revolving around 22 special topics, including international counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, environmental protection, intellectual property rights, trade and commerce. The meeting issued the Shanghai Declaration, which made a major impression on the international legal community and gave China a positive rule-of-law image. Last year the Supreme People's Court was involved in several projects of judicial cooperation with a dozen nations and international organizations, paving the way for judicial exchanges with the outside world by people's courts at all levels.

Fellow deputies, the Supreme People's Court last year earnestly accepted the supervision of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee over its work and worked hard to improve all manner of work. First of all, it conscientiously reported its work to the 3d Session of the 10th NPC and strengthened and improved its work in accordance with the demands in the resolutions of the session. It reported to the 18th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th NPC about the strengthening of the supervision of the administration of justice, winning the strong support of the Standing Committee and all specialized committees of the NPC. Secondly, the Supreme People's Court has strengthened liaison with the NPC deputies, formulated the "Rules for Processing the Proposals, Criticisms, and Comments of NPC Deputies and Motions from the CPPCC," and set up special offices staffed with specialized personnel to keep up regular contact with NPC deputies and CPPCC members. It conscientiously handled 205 resolutions, motions, and proposals that emanated from NPC deputies and CPPCC members. Thirdly, it invited NPC deputies and CPPCC members to inspect its work and sit in on court trials. The Supreme People's Court conscientiously heeded opinions from NPC deputies and CPPCC members about the administration of justice. Fourthly, it took the initiative to seek and listen to the opinions of legislative bodies on its judicial interpretation work and conscientiously did a good job in placing the judicial interpretations on file. During the past year, the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee supervised and supported the Supreme People's Court's work, giving a strong boost to all the court's work. Looking back at out work over the past year, we clearheadedly realized that there is a wide gap between the people's ever-growing judicial needs today and our judicial capability. There are still many problems and inadequacies in the work of our courts. First, in some cases we did a poor job in our examination of the evidence, in the ascertainment of the facts, and in the application of the law. Second, some judges let personal feelings, personal relations, and greed sway their decisions. Some even bent the law or perverted the law in return for a bribe. This has had a very bad effect. Third, some judges were inefficient and dragged their feet in their trial work, thus delaying the closing of cases beyond their normal deadlines. Fourth, there were irregularities in law enforcement conduct. Some law enforcement personnel decided to suspend or terminate enforcement as they pleased, resulting in ineffectual enforcement. Fifth, people's courts at the higher levels were not doing enough to supervise and guide people's courts at the lower level. Difficulties in filing appeals and applying for retrials, which are a cause of concern among members of the public, have not been resolved in a fundamental way. Sixth, a number of reform measures have not been fully implemented. Others need to be further improved and deepened. The Supreme People's Court will conscientiously take steps to address all these problems and further intensify supervision and guidance to solve these problems effectively even as it steps up its own development.

Presently, some people's courts at the basic level are also encountering considerable difficulties in their work, which hinders the normal administration of justice. For one thing, people's courts at the basic level in some localities in the eastern coastal region and in several large and mid-sized cities have a large caseload but are understaffed. The overloaded dockets of many people's courts at the basic level are a problem that must be tackled urgently. For another, there is a brain drain affecting the corps of judges in central and western China. Judges are getting older, but there are not enough successors. Some relatively young and experienced judges in the prime of life have chosen to quit or take early retirement in order to enter another line of work. Thirdly, some people's courts at the basic level, especially those in the central and western regions, are poorly equipped and under-funded to do the work they have to do. In response, we must rely closely on the leadership of the party, the supervision of the NPC, and the strong support of the governments, the people's congresses, and people in all walks of life. Through the hard work of people's courts all over the nation and the entire corps of judges, we will overcome the difficulties that lie ahead and strive to create a new look in judicial work.

4. Work Plans for 2006

In 2006 the Supreme People's Court will firmly adhere to the Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thinking of the "Three Represents" as its guide. It will firmly establish and implement the concept of scientific development and continue to enforce the policy of "administering the law fairly and serving the people heart and soul." It will work to improve the quality and efficiency of the administration of justice and law enforcement across the board and continue to intensify its supervision of and guidance over people's courts at all levels, thereby providing a judicial guarantee for the smooth implementation of the 11th Five-Year Program and the building of a harmonious socialist society.

1) Strengthen the administration of justice in criminal cases and punish the criminals in accordance with the law. First, firmly adhere to the "strike hard" policy and severely punish those guilty of subversion of the state and national splittism; those guilty of murders, armed robberies, rapes, bombings, abductions of women and children with an intent to sell, the manufacturing and sale of drugs, and other crimes that severely jeopardize the lives, health, and properties of the citizens; and those guilty of organized crime of a gang nature, slapping them with multiple penalties if they have committed other crimes and strictly enforcing the property punishment to confiscate their ill-gotten gains and deprive them of the capital that they need to go out and commit other crimes. In accordance with the law, the Supreme People's Court will punish the crime of commercial bribery, which undermines order in the socialist market economy. In accordance with the law, it will punish government workers found guilty of bribery. Second, we will uphold he policy of combining leniency with severity in criminal cases. If the crime in question is minor or if there are circumstances that warrant a reduced sentence or an exemption from punishment, the defendant will be dealt with leniently. Thirdly, we will strengthen the administration of justice in cases involving minors. We will use a mix of education, persuasion and teaching by example, and redemption. We will inform adjudication with education and promote the sound development of minors. Fourth, we will continue to step up human rights protection in criminal cases, formulate and perfect the rules of evidence in criminal cases, strictly exclude inadmissible evidence, and prevent the miscarriage of justice.

2) Strengthen our work in trying civil cases and administrative lawsuits. We will protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons, and other organizations in accordance with the law. First of all, we will properly handle marital and family conflicts and neighborhood and community disputes. We will prevent domestic violence and the abandonment of the elderly and promote family and neighborhood harmony and stability in the community. Second, we will properly handle labor disputes and actively resolve cases where the defendants have violated the workers' legitimate rights and interests, for instance, by delaying the payment of wages or withholding a portion of their wages. We must be prompt in putting these cases on file for investigation, prompt in trying them, and prompt in enforcing the rulings to ensure that workers are paid what are due them. Third, we will try and hear cases involving enterprise restructuring and bankruptcy in accordance wit the law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the workers of enterprises being reorganized or going bankrupt. We must prevent the loss of state-owned properties. Fourth, we will conscientiously try and hear cases involving the rights and interests of servicemen or their families. We must maintain the unity between the military and the localities and between the military and the civilians and promote the modernization of national defense and the armed forces. Fifth, we must conscientiously try and hear administrative lawsuits and state compensation cases, promote law-based administration, and preserve the order in social management. Sixth, we must try and hear cases involving environmental protection and resources utilization in order to accelerate the creation of a conservation-oriented and environment-friendly society.

3) Step up the trying of cases involving rural issues in order to promote the building of a new socialist countryside. In accordance with the law, we must punish actions that illegally occupy and use farmland, destroy irrigation works, or damage the rural infrastructure. In accordance with the law, we must punish people who jack up the prices of agricultural capital goods, manufacture or sell bogus seeds and fake chemical fertilizers and pesticides, or commit other acts that damage the peasants' interests. In accordance with the law, we must punish behavior that jeopardizes rural social stability and democratic management. We must protect the normal order in social and economic life in the rural areas. We must continue to step up the trying and hearing of cases involving land contracting, land requisition or taking, the procurement and sale of agricultural byproducts, and the wages of migrant workers. We must properly handle the disputes that occur in the course of urbanization and the integration of township and town planning, protect the peasants' legitimate rights and interests, safeguard the sound development of agriculture, and expedite the building of a new socialist countryside.

4) Step up the trying and hearing of intellectual property rights cases and safeguard the building of a national innovation system. In accordance with the law, we must punish violations of another party's intellectual property rights, counterfeiting, and piracy. We must create a legal environment conducive to independent innovation. In accordance with the law, we must protect intellectual property rights on the Internet and readily accept and hear Internet domain-name disputes and trademark infringements cases. We must formulate judicial interpretations relating to unfair competition, infringement of new plant varieties, and the piracy of music and television works. That way, we will ensure the building of a national innovation system and promote the implementation of the strategy of using science and education to vitalize the nation.

5) Work harder to enforce the verdicts of civil cases and effectively solve "law enforcement difficulties." First of all, we must tighten the supervision of enforcement and perfect the enforcement measures. Where a verdict cannot be enforced locally, we must use other approaches, such as enforcement at a higher level, designated enforcement, and cross enforcement, in order to intensify enforcement. Secondly, we must press forward with the building of a national information management system for the enforcement of the courts' rulings as well as a state enforcement deterrence mechanism in order to prompt the parties involved to comply with the verdicts voluntarily. Thirdly, we must standardize enforcement behavior and clarify the standards and conditions that must be met before a verdict is suspended, terminated, or closed. Mandatory enforcement measures must be used with caution. Fourthly, we will launch a nation-wide campaign lasting half a year to focus on clearing up the backlog of enforcement cases and work hard to create a positive circle in enforcement work.

6) Conscientiously implement the demand that the judiciary is for the people and create a favorable litigation environment. To begin with, we must diligently create a work mechanism that makes it convenient for people to deal with the courts and accelerate the building of venues where people can file lawsuits or where roving trials can be held. We must provide the parties with copies of the litigation handbook free of charge to inform them of the risks of litigation. We must continue to improve the specific conditions and standards that parties who have economic hardships must meet in order to be exempt from paying lawsuit filing fee or to be allowed to pay the fee in accordance with a delayed schedule or at a reduced rate. Secondly, we must improve the mechanism whereby we receive visits and letters from the people alleging government misconduct. Unclog the channels through which the parties can file appeals or present petitions. Increase the transparency of the examination of appeals. Vigorously push for a hearing system for appeals and provide the ordinary people who file appeals or apply for a retrial a procedural safeguard that is open and highly efficient and that puts everybody on an equal footing. Thirdly, we must further the excellent tradition of people's adjudication and continue to implement this principle: "If a case can be mediated, mediate; if a case should go to trial, let it go to trial. Use a mix of arbitration and prosecution to close a case." We must vigorously step up judicial arbitration work to promote the building of a harmonious society.

7) Step up the building of a corps of judges and the building of the infrastructure at the basic level and steadily raise the standard of the administration of justice. First, we must make it a priority to launch education in the socialist rule of law, further standardize judicial behavior, and promote the fairness of the administration of justice. Second, we must further intensify the professionalization of the corps of judges by stepping up education and training. We must intensify the exchange of judges among the various regions, eastern, central and western, so that they can learn from one another. We must improve the ideological and political quality, professional judicial expertise, and professional ethics of the corps of judges across the board. We must continue to do a good job in the campaign to promote honesty, sternly investigate and punish those who use public power to further personal interests and who bend the law for a bribe. We must firmly correct the unhealthy trends that hurt the interests of the masses. Third, we must perfect the hiring mechanism and work hard to solve the problem of brain drain affecting the corps of judges in people's courts at the basic level in some localities. We also must work hard to resolve the succession gap in some localities. Fourth, we must continue to adhere to the guiding thought of orienting ourselves to the basic level, to the villages, and to the masses. We must use judicial methods to advance the vital interests of the largest number of people.

8) Conscientiously implement the "Outline for the Second Five-Year Reform Plan for People's Courts" and continue to deepen the reform of the people's courts. For starters, we must press ahead with the reform of judicial procedures. In capital cases, we must improve the procedures for second-instance trials and the approval procedures. In the first half of this year, we began hearing in open court the second-instance trials of capital cases where the appeal was based on important facts or evidence or where the people's procuratorate had contested the verdict. As of July 1, 2006, all the second-instance trials of capital cases will be tried in open court. Secondly, we must reform the supervision system for the prosecution of civil cases and administrative lawsuits to put an end to the difficulties faced by the public in filing appeals or applying for a retrial and timely correct valid verdicts that are clearly erroneous. Third, we must reform and improve the enforcement system and its work mechanism. We must improve the enforcement procedures and enforcement management system. We must establish and perfect an enforcement work mechanism that features unified management and unified coordination and that operates highly efficiently so as to solve the problem of ineffectual enforcement. Fourth, we must reform and perfect the people's court work mechanism. People's courts should be free to accept cases for prosecution directly, thus making it easier for the masses to file lawsuits. At the same time, we must perfect the adjudication committee system, the precedent-as-guide system, and the people's jury management system.

Fellow deputies, in 2006 the Supreme People's Court will conscientiously accept the supervision of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee and voluntarily submit itself to the supervision of the masses. It will work hard to improve work. First of all, it will earnestly implement the demands put forward by the 18th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress as well as the demands of the present session. It will step up the supervision of judicial work, perfect the supervision mechanism, and make supervision more effective. Secondly, the Supreme People's Court will effectively strengthen liaison between the people's courts and people's congress deputies and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It will seriously heed the opinions and suggestions of the deputies and the members regarding the work of people's courts. Thirdly, in active coordination with the NPC Standing Committee's inspection of the implementation of the Judges Law, the Supreme People's Court will establish and perfect a system of penalties for judges that will take into account the characteristics of the profession of judges. Fourth, we will do a good job in the reporting, filing, and inspection of judicial interpretations. We must continue to step up research, widely solicit opinions from people in all walks of life, standardize the procedures for the formulation of judicial interpretations, and improve the quality of judicial interpretations. Fifth, we will establish and perfect a people's court news release system and take the initiative to timely release information about the priorities in the work of the people's courts and about the major cases that are the focus of public attention. We must voluntarily submit ourselves to the supervision by the masses. Fellow deputies, faced with the new situation and new tasks, the Supreme People's Court, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as its general secretary, will uphold the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thinking of the "Three Represents," implement the concept of scientific development across the board, bestir ourselves to do solid work, and make new and greater contributions to ensuring the realization of justice and fairness in all society, to building a socialist society, and to promoting balanced and all-round economic and social development.

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