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People's Republic of China's Criminal Justice System

 

Keywords: lawyer, arrest, detention, court, public prosecution, civil suit, marriage, criminal punishment, criminal activity

 

China is a large country with a total land area of 9.6 million square kilometers, and more than 1 billion people which amounts to one fourth of the world population.

People's Republic of China was established as a socialist country in 1949. Since then, efforts have been made to enact basic laws concerning criminal justice administration. It was in 1979, after the period of "Cultural Revolution" which lasted for ten years, that the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law were enacted. At the same time, laws concerning the organization and function of the courts and public prosecution were also re-organized. Basic laws with regard to the lawyers, arrest and detention of the suspects, civil suit procedures, marriages, etc. have been established.

The Chinese Criminal Law takes the concept of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong as its guide. It proclaims that its tasks are to use criminal punishments to struggle against all counter-revolutionary and other criminal acts in order to safeguard the system of the people's democratic dictatorship and the smooth progress of the course of socialist construction.

The Law takes the Constitution as its basis. Article 28 of the Constitution stipulates that "The State maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter-revolutionary activities; it penalizes acts that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals".

Since 1979, higher legal education has considerably developed through universities and other institutions. High priority is being given to publicizing information on the legal system through, eg. the China Law Journal, and many provincial and municipal journals, magazines and newspapers. Law education has been introduced in the primary, middle and other schools. Studies, symposia and public lectures are often organized in factories, mines, rural communes and brigades in order to give increased publicity to the Constitution and other laws. The age for bearing criminal responsibility is sixteen. Minors under the age of fourteen are entirely exempted from criminal responsibility, even if they commit acts harmful to society. Minors aged fourteen but under the age of sixteen shall partially bear criminal responsibility, that is to say they are responsible criminally only in cases involving murder and manslaughter, serious injury, robbery, arson, habitual theft or other acts seriously undermining social order. For delinquents aged fourteen to seventeen but younger than eighteen, the Law requires a lenient punishment - to be specific, a lesser penalty within the range of the legally-prescribed punishment. When minors are not punished because they are under sixteen, the heads of their families or their guardians are to be ordered to subject them to discipline or when necessary, the minors may be given shelter or rehabilitation by the Government.

The crime rate in China has shown a drastic increase in recent years. Still China remains one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in the world. Of all the crimes reported, theft accounted for about 80%, but the violent crimes like murder and robbery were also up. Crimes associated with gangs abroad, such as trafficking in narcotics, smuggling of gold and relics, and counterfeiting of currency and credit cards also increased during 1988.
 

Source: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/int10.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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