Qiao Shi’s book rouses demand for judicial independence in China

Qiao Shi signing books

I hailed recent publication of Qiao Shi’s book “Qiao Shi on Democracy and Legal System” in my post “Chinese rule of law and democracy advocator Qiao Shi returns”. Qiao Shi, though retired, has been striving for rule of law all those years.

Well known American journalist Nathan Gardels believes that Qiao played a decisive role in bringing down Bo Xilai for his bad example in undermining the rule of law in Bo’s campaign against organised crime in Chongqing. The campaign gave rise to nationwide malpractices of depriving lawyers rights of defence and caused the NPC (China’s legislature) to revise China’s Criminal Procedure law to protect lawyers’ rights.

Qiao seems to be the only enlightened Chinese leader who has the courage to place rule of law above the party. In his rare interview with Nathan Gardels, Gardels asked him, “will the law ultimately be above the party, or the party above the law?” To the audible gasps of his handlers seated behind us, Qiao replied: “No organisation or individual has the prerogative to override the constitution or the law”

Even all his assistants were surprised at Qiao’s reply that law shall be above the party instead of vice versa.

Obviously, publication of Qiao’s book will consolidate the victory against Bo’s faction by the faction in the party that upholds rule of law and provides a theoretical weapon to fight for rule of law in the future. This is especially important because as I point out in my above-mentioned post that Bo said to his Japanese friend “I will return” and as Bo still has lots of followers, he may return and replace rule of law by his despotism in the future.

My previous posts often mentioned the large number of despots in the government and prevailing despotism in China. Such despots and despotism are the basis for Bo’s return. Qiao’s book will provide weapons for fighting against the dominance of despotism and establishing and maintaining rule of law.

SCMP Cary Huang’s report today provides us with the recent development after the publication of the book.

Huang says that the book “inspires academics to declare there is no rule of law while party officials run police and courts”.

“The revelation that the leadership of the Communist Party decided to restore the power of its Politics and Legal Affairs Commission 22 years ago, in the wake of the June 4 crackdown, has triggered debate among lawyers, academics and others about the party’s role in judicial affairs.

“They have generally welcomed a suggestion by Qiao Shi…that the commission’s power to intervene in court cases be reduced and limited.”

According to Cary Huang, “The commission, a powerful body under the party’s Central Committee, oversees all the mainland’s law-enforcement authorities, including the police, internal security personnel, prosecutors and courts.

Many believe that there is no rule of law on the mainland because the judiciary is dictated by the commission and its local offshoots.”

According to SCMP, “Lu Guoping, a famous columnist and author, said Qiao’s book reminded the public of the deterioration in democracy and rule of law over the past decade.

“‘Qiao’s high-profile comment has prompted a sensitive debate among academics over whether China’s democracy and rule of law has progressed, stalled or regressed in the past decade or more,’ Lu wrote on his blog.”

SCMP quotes Peking University law professor He Weifang’s words, “when the party talks about judicial reforms, it has all but stopped talking about judicial independence, which is the key to the introduction of rule of law”.

Chen Guangzhong, a well-known academic, says, “In many regional governments the police chief was also head of the party commission, which meant the police could dictate the whole prosecution and trial process.”

SCMP says, “In his book, Qiao suggests that the commissions be limited to co-ordinating the work of judicial organs.

“The mainlands’ courts are plagued by a lack of judicial independence. Judges and court officials are appointed by local Communist Party organs and all legal institutions are directly supervised by the party’s legal-affairs commissions.

“In highly sensitive cases, like those dealing with dissidents, the judge is often just a medium, handing down a ruling already determined by the party. But even in less sensitive cases, the interests of local officials are often placed above the law.

“However, the party leadership has rejected calls to keep politics and the law independent of each other.”

Read the SCMP Report The black-collar class ruling the law

Categories: Politics & Law

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4 replies


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