One of the little-discussed aspects of being in a leadership role in the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in the New Era is ensuring that policies, actions, initiatives, and other decisions hit the target of being politically correct (post 19th Party Congress and post 4th Plenum) while being “problem-oriented” (坚持问题导向) that is, addressing relevant practical issues facing the court system. This is true for President Zhou Qiang as well as the vice presidents (each of whom is responsible for several divisions (主管), according to bureaucratic principles), the division heads, deputy heads, and equivalents in the affiliated institutions of the SPC, whether they be the circuit courts, National Judges College, or the China Institute of Applied Jurisprudence (CIAJ).
After the recent Central Economic Work Conference, Party Secretary and President Zhou Qiang convened a meeting of the SPC’s Party Committee, to discuss the implications for the courts, all of which appear to be the major initiatives of the SPC. I have added numbers and deleted some provisions (translation thanks to Google translate). He said:
- deepen the comprehensive supporting reforms of the judicial system;
- vigorously promote the construction of smart courts;
- continuously improve the quality and efficiency of court work, and create a stable, fair, transparent, and predictable business environment for the rule of law.
- continue to strengthen judicial protection of intellectual property rights and intellectual property rights;
- improve the rule of law environment that supports the development of private economy, implement comprehensive, legal, and equal protection of property rights, protect the legitimate rights and interests of private enterprises and entrepreneurs in accordance with the law, and allow entrepreneurs to concentrate on starting a business..and operating with peace of mind.
- It is necessary to increase the judicial protection of intellectual property rights and provide strong judicial services and guarantees for the implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy. It is necessary to serve to ensure the healthy and rapid development of the digital economy, handle the relationship between the protection of digital rights and the development of the digital economy, protect personal information in accordance with the law, properly handle legal issues related to the digital economy platform, and better serve and guarantee the development of the digital economy.
- …Strengthen research on new situations and issues in the economic and financial field; do a good job in financial and bankruptcy trials; and effectively improve capacity of the people’s courts in risk prevention and resolution.
- …It is necessary to serve a high level of opening up to the outside world, strengthen foreign-related commercial and maritime trials, protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese and foreign parties on an equal basis in accordance with the law, and provide powerful judicial services and guarantees for a wider, wider, and deeper opening.
- It is necessary to severely punish crimes in accordance with the law, actively participate in the special struggle to combat crime and eliminate evil, resolutely safeguard national security and social stability….
So what more specific measures hit the target? They include the following:
- In November, Vice President Luo Dongchuan, when he made comments at the SPC Intellectual Property Court (Tribunal) on establishing a diversified technical fact investigation mechanism–see the language in the Chinese version of the article (“raise political stance, fully recognize the importance of establishing and perfecting a technical fact investigation mechanism 罗东川强调，要提高政治站位，充分认识建立健全多元化技术事实查明机制的重要意义);
- In December, Vice President Jiang Bixin, said such measures included improving environmental protection of the Yellow River Basin and high-quality development;
- In December, head of the administrative division, Judge Huang Yongwei (mentioned on this blog when he was president of the National Judges College), said it included the judicial interpretation on administrative agreements, which he characterized as “having a positive effect on effectively protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the people in administrative agreements, advancing the government of the rule of law, building a credible government, optimizing the rule of law to do business, improving the ability of government administration, and advancing administrative trials in the people’s courts.”
- For Yang Yongqing, deputy head of the #2 Civil Division, and one of the drafters of the recently promulgated 9th Civil and Commercial Trial Work Conference Summary (draft discussed here, the Conference Summary to be discussed in a future blogpost) (and Cao Shibin, head of the CIAJ, it meant going to one of the provincial courts to give lectures on civil and commercial issues. Judge Yang explained what the conference summary means for trying cases involving a company that has provided security to a third party, as well as cases involving applications for relief by third parties. Cao spoke on “Ethics and Judgment -Application of Judicial Reasoning in Civil and Commercial Trial Work”, starting from the challenges and difficulties facing the profession of judges.
- Jiang Huiling, vice president of the National Judges College (NJC), in charge since Judge Hu Yunteng has retired: in November he addressed what implementing the 4th Plenum decision means for the NJC: “continuously promoting the modernization of education and training systems and education and training capabilities. The NJC should effectively translate its efforts into practical actions to promote development, gather the wisdom of all faculty and staff, study and judge the situation, … study in-depth the implications of constructing an “international first-class judicial institution (建设‘国际一流司法学府’)” [the goal that President Zhou Qiang has set for the National Judges College in its new five-year plan).”
This critic will “stay out of the region of immediate practice” (quote of Matthew Arnold, see a screenshot of a caricature that was one of my (late) father’s favorites).