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County judges to receive training

ABOUT 1,000 county-level chief judges will undergo training from September to improve their performance and dealings with the public, according to the Supreme People's Court.

The training is part of a nationwide campaign to ensure grassroots officials dealing with the public can tackle problems before they lead to social unrest.

The drive involves hundreds of thousands of county-level chief procurators, court presidents, police chiefs, prison wardens, and county Communist Party secretaries, who have received or will receive training in provincial capitals and Beijing.

"The campaign, both in scale and in form, is almost unprecedented under the Communist Party of China's administration," said Ye Duchu, a professor with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The training programs were aimed at improving capabilities of grassroots officials and maintaining long-term stability, said Ye.

"As China is experiencing a transition leading to both opportunities and challenges, the leaders are becoming more concerned about how well their policies are carried out, because, in the end, it's a question of whether the Party can survive better and longer," Ye said.

"Direct training could make the central government's orders reach communities more effectively while grassroots voices could be heard more clearly," Ye added.

On June 10, the Ministry of Justice started a 10-day training course for 325 prison wardens to improve prison safety and stability and prevent repeat offenses. They will be joined by another 356 wardens later this month.

The Ministry of Public Security organized courses for almost 3,000 county-level police chiefs from February to May to improve "professional skills such as online working, standardizing law-enforcement procedures and enhancing relations with the public."

Controversial cases such as unrest involving 30,000 people last year in Weng'an County, Guizhou Province, which was triggered by the death of a schoolgirl, were included in the courses for open discussion.

Meanwhile, about 3,500 grassroots prosecutors will undergo training in Beijing by the end of 2010, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

In each training session, a senior SPP leader would sit in the class and participate in group discussions on topics of interest to prosecutors.

"County-level procuratorates handle social disputes directly, giving us a bigger stage to protect social stability and unity, and help maintain smooth economic development," said a Supreme People's Procuratorate spokesman.



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