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Academic urges rationality on China's human rights

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese academic on Monday urged Human Rights Watch to be rational over China's human rights record after the latter published its "World Report 2015" last week.

Human Rights Watch turned a blind eye to China's judicial reform to better protect human rights, said Li Daojun, professor of the Research Center for Human Rights of Shandong University.

He detailed China's achievements in advancing human rights protection through judicial reform in an article entitled "The Human Rights Watch should keep rational".

The following is the full text of the article:

It's a common wish of the people to build a sound judicial system and create a favorable judicial environment so as to pursue legal remedy, control abuse of power and protect basic human rights. China has explored a path of rule of law with Chinese characteristics aimed at the protection of human rights since reform and opening up.

The country started to institutionalize human rights when the "Protection of Human Rights" principle was incorporated into China's constitution in 2004. The fourth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in late October 2014 made overall, essential and long-term arrangements for comprehensively advancing the rule of law. The judicial reform is aimed at improving the judicial system and the operating mechanism of judicial power, standardizing judicial behavior, strengthening supervision over judicial activities, and intensifying judicial protection for human rights through fair judicial process.

The rule of law emphasizes ruling and governing the country by the constitution and the authority of the constitution. It also attaches importance to legislation, amendment, abolishment and explanation of human rights protection provisions in the legal framework, amending and improving procedure laws including the Criminal Procedure Law, the Civil Procedure Law, and the Administrative Procedure Law, making the principle and system of litigation more logical and providing justified procedure for human rights protection through lawsuits.

A series of reforming measures that have been taken and those in the pipeline reflect the positive guidance of ensuring fair judicial process. For instance, the allocation of manpower, funds and materials of judicial organs is managed at central and provincial levels to ensure their independence from administrative power, preventing them from administrative intervention and local protectionism. Law enforcement, abiding by laws and regulations, is independent from legislative bodies' improper intervention, and the judicial process is also free from intervention from mass media and interest groups. It is only submitted to the legal rationality.

The reform also reached out to the judicial system itself. Firstly, superior courts are not allowed to intervene in trials carried out by subordinate courts and the judgments can only be changed through the procedure of appealing. Secondly, measures have also been taken to ensure the independence of judges in courts at various levels, avoiding the influence of different kinds of opinions not from the legal aspect. The selection mechanism for judges will be improved to open the path for experienced lawyers, prosecutors and law experts to be selected as judges and rule out opportunities for those unqualified or inexperienced persons. In this way, the judges will be more professional and reliable.

Judicial activities have become more transparent in China. The authority and credibility of judicial power will only be achieved when it is executed for the protection of human rights and when it relies on the participation and supervision of the people to secure justice. The Supreme People's Court has established circuit courts. They will free up SPC headquarters to concentrate on judicial policies and try cases that have profound significance in unifying the application of law, and also facilitate the public to file cases in local communities and get their disputes solved locally. These newly established organs will be operated to a higher standard.

China has gained an "early harvest" for the policies and arrangements made by the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. The facts show that China has been devoted to building a more open, dynamic, transparent and convenient judicial system, trying to secure justice in every single case.

The judicial process must be fair and be conducted through open procedure; it must be open and should be operated with reason. Judicial power can only be used during the process of taking, hearing, considering and judging a case. Chinese judicial organs have been trying to follow the duties and procedures stipulated by laws to deal with cases, coordinate interests, define rights and responsibilities, and solve disputes, no matter whether the cases are common criminal cases or corruption crimes, whether they are civil and commercial or administrative lawsuits. They have been striving for justice for each case in fact finding and application of law.

The correction of wrongful convictions has become part of the country's effort to ensure a fair judicial process. Judicial organs have thoroughly reinvestigated prominent cases, including "Huugjilt's case", in which teenager Huugjilt was found guilty of rape and murder in 1996 and executed but later found innocent. They have corrected wrongful convictions, giving justice to the people involved. It's an essential step towards the goal of making the people feel justice in every single case. A judicial system that seeks justice, protects human rights and prevents wrongful convictions has been formed, becoming a place to solve disputes, a channel to resolve conflicts and a shield to protect human rights.

China's new round of judicial reform and innovation, which concentrates on human rights protection, has started. A fairer, more democratic, open, and independent judicial system will better protect human rights. Human Rights Watch disregarded the achievements China has made in human rights protection, turned a blind eye to China's efforts of advancing judicial reform to better protect human rights, and looked at China through colored spectacles and distorted facts as always. It obviously lacks necessary sense. It's hard to view its report in a favorable light!

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