Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Are Chinese Courts Communist?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 24, 2010

Here is an excerpt on the court structure in China. I am actually studying this, at least tangentially, but it is China and foreigners in the court rooms is usually verboten. They will allow us to see ‘mock ups’ or actors acting out a court case, but as for the real thing, there is a slim chance you will be able to witness one. They, for what I have been told, are a sham anyway, so we are not missing much.

“Thus,the court structure is a mirror of the party, and judges receive their appointment from the People’s Congress at the appropriate level. “Chinese judges are subject to external interference that limits their independence. Local governments influence courts through their control over judicial funding and appointments, and frequently use this influence to protect local interests. Party authorities often intervene in politically sensitive cases and routinely screen court personnel decisions. Since the early 1990s, local people’s congresses have exercised increasing influence over court decisions. Public opinion is an increasing source of pressure on Chinese courts, through sensationalistic media reporting on cases.1In addition to this, the way the structure would thus look like is that the judges for the Supreme People’s “Court” in Beijing are appointed by the National People’s Congress, the Provincial governments appoint the judges to the Higher People’s Courts, the local People’s Congresses appoint district judges. It has been said, however, that the Party, exercises control of the People’s Congresses thorough the country and thus has a tremendous amount of control thereof2. In addition, as is still the practice in China with State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) and certain governmental offices, it is with rare exception that a judge not be a member of the Communist Party3.


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