In the run up to the Sixth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which will focus on “intra-Party political life in the new situation,” the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) released further information concerning former Supreme People’s Court (SPC) Vice President Xi Xiaoming. As this blog noted over one year ago, his case was transferred from the Party disciplinary authorities to the SPP for further investigation. According to a recent report, The SPP has finished its investigation and has transferred Judge Xi’s case to the Second Branch Procuratorate of the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate. The procuratorate has filed its case in the #2 Tianjin Intermediate People’s Court. The authorities apparently considered these institutions reliable, because they had dealt with other sensitive cases earlier this year.
The charges against Xi include: using his office and position to obtain benefits for others or using his authority and position to provide conditions [for obtaining benefits], and obtaining improper benefits through the acts of other state staff in the course of their work, illegally accepting huge amounts of money and assets. The judgment to which the charges relate has been published.
The report repeated statements made about Judge Xi earlier by Meng Jianzhu, head of the Central Political Legal Committee, and SPC President Zhou Qiang. In August, 2015, Meng said: “Xi Xiaoming has shamed the judiciary, as an experienced judge who has worked in the Supreme People’s Court for 33 years, who has colluded with certain illegal lawyers, judicial brokers, and lawless business people by accepting huge bribes.” During his report to the NPC in March, 2016, Zhou Qiang said: “especially the effect of Xi Xiaoming’s case of violating law and discipline is terrible, has deep lessons” (尤其是奚晓明违纪违法案件影响恶劣、教训深刻). The report also mentioned that Judge Xi’s case has been used as a typical case by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Although the SPC and several other central criminal justice institutions have recently issued a policy document on making the criminal procedure system trial-centered, the first principle of which is “no person may be found guilty except by the lawful judgment of a people’s court,” Judge Xi’s case seems to be yet another instance in which the exigencies of the political system trump respect for the formalities of the operation of the criminal justice system.