A report in Caixin on 8 September revealed that Judge Zhou Fan, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC)’s First Circuit Court in Shenzhen (and member of its Party committee) has been cooperating with Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) investigators (i.e. taken into custody (according to Caixin’s English version)) for at least two months. [The original Caixin report has been taken down, but has been republished by Hong Kong’s Economic Journal.] Judge Zhou has worked in the SPC for over 20 years, focusing on commercial matters, both domestic and cross-border, and would have been considered to be technically outstanding to be selected to be a senior judge for the First Circuit Court.
According to the Caixin report, he is one of the judges linked with former Vice President of the SPC, Xi Xiaoming (earlier posts on Xi found here and here).
The Caixin report mentions other allegations against Judge Zhou, such as cooperating with litigation brokers and interfering in major commercial disputes.The dates of the alleged conduct are not specified.
Over a year ago, this blog had the following comments on Xi Xiaoming’s case:
it is likely that the anti-corruption investigation into Judge Xi will touch on parties, including other judges, related to the case(s) in question. It is also likely that the full extent of the investigation will not be made public.
So returning to the social context of 2011. A number of Chinese lawyers and academics have privately noted that at the time of the case in question, it would not be unusual for supplemental payments to be made to Court judges in connection with commercial disputes involving large amounts of money, and refusing payment could also have been awkward for those involved.
Although Judge Zhou’s photo remains on the First Circuit Court website, the publication of this report and allegations do not augur well for his tenure there.