China senior official urges lawyers to promote social justice

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[JURIST] A top Chinese official on Monday called on the country’s lawyers to promote law enforcement and social justice [Xinhua report] and encouraged lawyers, prosecutors and government officials to build a community of support and respect. During a meeting attended by members of the country’s law firms and bar associations, Zhou Yongkang [BBC profile], a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Republic of China [official website], urged Chinese lawyers to take on more pro bono cases and resolve conflicts in order to promote social well-being. Zhou also encouraged the country’s courts to hire more lawyers to act as both judges and prosecutors.

The Chinese government has recently focused attention on ridding corruption [JURIST news archive] in official channels. In April, Zhou appealed [JURIST report] to the nation’s judges to be impartial when issuing rulings. Speaking in front of a national meeting of high court presidents in the Shaanxi Province [official website], Zhou stressed the importance of fair and honest justice in order to build a country ruled by law. Also in April, the Intermediate People’s Court in Chongqing sentenced [JURIST report] a former deputy police chief and high-ranking judicial official to death for accepting bribes, protecting criminal gangs, rape and being unable to justify his large amount of personal assets. In March, the Hebei Province People’s High Court upheld a life sentence for former Supreme People’s Court (SPC) vice president Huang Songyou, who had been convicted [JURIST reports] of bribery and embezzlement. Earlier that month, Wang called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in the country’s court system. In January, the SPC announced new anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an effort to increase public confidence in the rule of law.

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