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Public security has continued to arbitrarily detain or restrict the personal freedom of activists, petitioners, and other perceived security threats in the past year, particularly during important public functions or sensitive anniversaries. For example, during the NPC meetings in March , security authorities reportedly rounded up vagrants and petitioners and held them in a Beijing stadium without any apparent legal basis.

For example, Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who last year helped to expose the SARS crisis and who wrote a letter in February calling on authorities to reassess the official verdict on Tiananmen, was detained for nearly seven weeks beginning on June 4. This system violates internationally recognized human rights norms for numerous reasons: 1 suspects are not entitled to a court trial and in practice public security officials serve as investigator, prosecutor, and judge, subject to only minimal judicial oversight that is rarely applied; 2 the definition of offenses subject to RETL are vague and easily manipulated by police to silence individuals exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly; 3 RETL detention terms can be longer than those for similar offenses prosecuted under the formal criminal justice system; and 4 the legal basis for RETL is questionable because an administrative regulation established the system, while the PRC Legislation Law requires all restrictions on personal freedom to be established pursuant to national law.

Despite these problems, public security agencies have expanded their use of RETL over the past decade. According to several estimates, the number of RETL detainees fluctuated between , and , in the early to mids, but between and the number detained ranged from , to , In response to a rising tide of public, scholarly, and official criticism and a petition to the NPC Standing Committee challenging the legality of RETL, Chinese authorities appear to be trying to improve public perceptions of RETL and bolster the legal basis for maintaining it.

Law enforcement authorities have the power to forcibly commit individuals to psychiatric facilities ankang.

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The use or threat of ankang to punish dissidents continued in For example, human rights activist Wang Wanxing continues to be detained in an ankang center for unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square in His wife has never been given a documented diagnosis of his mental condition. The system was used to detain indigents, migrants, petitioners, and political activists and was associated with a host of abuses. As of March , Ministry of Civil Affairs officials reported that of the aid centers nationwide had received a total of , visits.

Despite legal prohibitions on torture and recent campaigns to address law enforcement abuses, torture remains common in China. The Chinese government made some public efforts to combat the practice of torture in the past year. In an effort to soothe public anger over law enforcement abuses, senior government leaders and law enforcement officials continued to condemn torture in public statements and launched several campaigns to root out abusive police and prosecutors. Chinese sources acknowledge that the problem of torture is rooted less in a lack of formal prohibitions than in prevailing law enforcement attitudes and an inability or unwillingness to enforce existing laws and regulations.

Theo van Boven, the U. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has long negotiated with the Chinese government for permission to make an investigative visit to China. For a number of years, the U. In March , probably to head off potential support for a U. Human Rights Commission meeting, the Chinese government announced that it had agreed to a visit by van Boven.

Several new reports of "organ harvesting" from executed prisoners surfaced in A leading Chinese transplant surgeon told a Hong Kong newspaper that organ harvesting continues and called it "a stain on the history of medical practice in China. According to Chinese reports, central government authorities are drafting a national law that establishes rules for organ transplants.

Chinese sources are unclear whether this law will address the issue of involuntary organ donations from executed prisoners. Under Chinese law, defendants have the right to hire an attorney, but national law only guarantees pro bono legal defense if a defendant is a minor, faces a possible death sentence, or is blind, deaf, or mute. Chinese defense attorneys face numerous obstacles in representing their clients. Under the Criminal Procedure Law, Chinese defendants in theory have the right to meet with counsel after their first interrogation, or from the day they are subject to detention or arrest, to obtain evidence in possession of the prosecution, and to cross-examine prosecution witnesses at trial.

Witnesses often do not appear in court, undermining the right of cross-examination. Often, all defense lawyers can do in the face of such obstacles is to plead for lenient treatment. Chinese officials acknowledged many of these problems in several articles published in the past year. Some defense attorneys who represent their clients too aggressively face harassment and prosecution. Authorities have prosecuted defense lawyers on questionable corruption charges or threatened to revoke their licenses. Zhang was targeted for his vigorous defense work.

The Chinese government has begun to take some limited but positive steps to address the concerns of defense attorneys and their clients.

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In December , for example, the SPP released a new set of regulations designed to improve conditions for defense attorneys. The new SPP provisions on client access do not apply to cases investigated by public security, and defense lawyers complain that prosecutors have manipulated the new rules or ignored them altogether. Criminal courts in China rarely acquit defendants. According to official statistics, the conviction rate in Chinese criminal courts exceeded 99 percent in Lower courts often seek guidance from higher courts regarding legal issues in cases before them, particularly in sensitive cases.

Perhaps because of the limited prospects for success, only roughly 15 percent of criminal defendants exercise their right to appeal. Prosecutors may appeal acquittals or request adjudication supervision from higher courts until they obtain a guilty verdict. The length, openness, and scheduling of Chinese criminal trials also raise questions about the fairness of the trial process. Chinese criminal trials sometimes last only a matter of hours and rarely more than a day, even when they involve sensitive or complex issues or a possible death sentence.

In the case of Internet dissident Du Daobin, for example, court authorities announced the trial date only three days before the trial. Chinese lawyers and scholars complain that courts often hand down guilty verdicts in criminal cases without adequate evidence. Convictions in many cases appear to be based almost entirely on defendant confessions, despite the prevalence of coerced confessions and legal provisions stating that a confession may not be the sole basis for a conviction.

Courts are subject to a number of external influences in deciding cases. Party Political-Legal Committees also supervise the work of the courts and can influence or decide the outcome of trials, particularly in major or sensitive cases. In response to a flood of public outrage over the decision, the SPC retried the case and reinstated the death sentence, reportedly under direct orders from the Party Political-Legal Committee and despite the opposition of several SPC judges.

While such public pressure has provided a check on corruption and government misconduct in some cases, in the Liu Yong case and others it has given rise to concerns about mob justice. The Chinese government considers the number of death sentences it carries out each year to be a state secret. Domestic Chinese media carried extensive reports on law enforcement and judicial reforms over the past year.

In addition to the reforms noted above, police, prosecutors, courts, and penal institutions launched a series of initiatives with the stated purpose of improving transparency and information exchange, enhancing citizen supervision of law enforcement, addressing corruption and abuse in the criminal justice system, and improving the image of penal institutions.

These and other reforms are part of what appears to be a coordinated government campaign to improve the public image of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary. Government officials launched the campaign in mid, in part as a response to public anger over several well-publicized cases of law enforcement abuse in early , which they interpreted as a sign of general public frustration with law enforcement misconduct and corruption.

Chinese scholars, law enforcement personnel, lawyers, and judges continued a spirited discussion of criminal justice reform in through conferences, scholarly and general media publications, online forums, and legal exchanges. These exchanges included conferences on criminal defense, capital punishment, constitutional protection in criminal procedure, pre-trial discovery, plea bargaining, and other subjects. In one such program in the spring of , U.

Events over the past year illustrate the complex nature of criminal justice reform in China. On a rhetorical level, these initiatives and the official statements accompanying them set a tone more conducive to the protection of suspect and defendant rights. They also provide important political cover for defendant complaints in individual cases and for efforts by reformers to push for broader structural changes in the criminal justice system. Despite some incremental improvements, however, the immediate practical impact of these initiatives appears to be limited. Although Commission sources have expressed cautious optimism about some reform measures, the continued problems described in this section suggest that implementation of these reforms remains uneven at best.

These implementation problems will likely continue for several reasons. First, law enforcement and the courts are under conflicting public and government pressures. The public is angry about law enforcement abuses and corruption in the criminal justice system, but also wants the government to ensure public safety and deal with the growing crime problem. Such acts undermine official statements on the need for a more even balance between the power of the state and the rights of criminal defendants and respect for human rights.

Thus, while the leadership will likely have to deliver some concrete improvements in order to maintain its legitimacy, such improvements are likely to be incremental. Commission Staff Interview. The number of indigents increased following the repeal of a controversial form of administrative detention called custody and repatriation that police had often employed to detain such individuals. In Beijing, 66 percent of respondents in an online survey expressed dissatisfaction with police, while only 2 percent approved of the work of judicial departments.

Reactions to several notable cases illustrate the level of public frustration with law enforcement. Legal scholars lamented that the case had "set reform of the criminal justice system back 10 years. Chinese scholars who have studied past campaigns conclude that they have had little impact on crime rates. Craig S. According to the report, 18, "major" cases of corruption, embezzlement, and bribery were investigated in The official blamed poor investigation work, rising crime rates, official corruption, and new restraints on police as factors. The most notable are Article , which prohibits organizing, plotting, or carrying out a scheme to subvert state power or overthrow the socialist system or inciting others to do the same, and Article , which prohibits organizing, plotting, or carrying out a scheme to split the state or undermine the unity of the country or inciting others to do the same.

Articles deal with "endangering state security. Phuntsog Nyidron, one of the "singing nuns of Lhasa," was serving a sentence for "counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement. Liu Di, the "stainless steel mouse," had been held in detention for more than one year in connection with a series of Internet essays she had written. In November , prosecutors ordered her released on the grounds of insufficient evidence for prosecution.

Note that this estimate is highly qualified by a variety of unknowns and uncertainties. Under the Notice, sentence reduction and parole for all cases involving crimes of "endangering state security" are to be "strictly handled. Commission Staff Interviews. The Group also regards as forms of detention measures of house arrest and rehabilitation through labor, when they are accompanied by serious restrictions on liberty of movement.

Authorities publicly expressed frustration with the persistence of the extended detention problem, which they blamed on lack of legal consciousness on the part of police, prosecutors, and judges. Note, however, that investigators and courts may apply to the SPC or SPP for an "interpretation" of the Notice in complex or foreign-related cases or cases involving the crime of endangering state security.

A public security investigation found 64 cases involving extended custody that exceeded three years. The SPP reported that it had handled 25, cases of extended detention. The SPC reported that it had handled 4, cases of extended detention involving 7, individuals. The SPC claimed that a few cases of extended detention remained unresolved for "legal reasons. Jiang and his wife went missing on June 1. His wife was released on June 16 and Jiang was released in late July. According to Commission sources, Jiang was taken by public security to an undisclosed location for "discussions" regarding his June 4 activism.

Some dissidents were instructed to leave Beijing or their home cities, prevented from moving freely, or otherwise harassed. But see Peerenboom, "Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire," note that Peerenboom disputes the basis for these contentions and argues that in many cases, RETL detainees would be worse off in the formal criminal justice system. Hung, "Improving Human Rights in China," Reportedly, the NPC Standing Committee denied the petition and authorities barred the Chinese media from reporting on it.

In August , the Ministry of Public Security issued regulations reforming the procedures for handling RETL and other administrative detention cases.

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Regulations on Procedures for Public Security Handling of Administrative Cases [Gongan jiguan banli xingzheng anjian chengxu guiding], issued 26 August 03, art. The State Administration Punishment Regulations permit authorities to detain individuals for up to 15 days for a wide variety of minor public order offenses.

Some violators may be subject to RETL under the regulations and local rules for repeat offenders. At least one Western China scholar argues that calls for repeal are misguided. Peerenboom, "Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire," Others note that if the new law provides RETL detainees with rights to judicial review, legal representation, and other protections that are in theory afforded to criminal defendants, it would still be a significant positive step. In several large cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu, civil affairs departments have established a network of small feeder centers in the city center and larger facilities on the city outskirts.

The feeder centers accept aid recipients and transfer them to the larger centers if they want to receive housing and aid there. One recent Procuratorial Daily article, while noting that only a "minority" of investigators participate in torture, nonetheless called it a "chronic disease" that elicited "serious negative reaction from the populace.

Falun Gong affiliates actively report on alleged cases of torture. Local governments also announced new measures against torture. Evidence obtained through unlawful measures may not be taken as the basis for determining a case. This type of bean curd "stinks but tastes good when you eat it. The Dunhuang case is significant as a judicial recognition of rules relating to organ harvesting. According to official statistics, courts appointed counsel for 77, criminal defendants in 11, blind, deaf, or mute defendants, 28, minor defendants, 24, defendants facing the death penalty, and 12, other defendants.

Legal aid organizations approved applications for an additional 8, criminal defendants. The total number of legal aid applications for is not available. However, official statistics indicate that courts nationwide imposed sentences on , criminal defendants in A professor at the National Judicial College confirms that in many courts, fewer than 30 percent of criminal defendants are represented by counsel. Surprisingly, the percentage of criminal defendants represented by counsel dropped between and , even as the number of attorneys in China increased by over 20 percent.

According to Minister of Justice Zhang Fusen, counties in China do not have a single lawyer at all. At a recent national meeting of Chinese justice officials, one commentator identified lack of access to lawyers in rural and minority areas as an especially pressing problem.

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Alleged spy Chen Yulin was reportedly held for nearly one year before being permitted to meet with his lawyer. When suspects are permitted to meet with a lawyer, their conversations are often monitored and recorded by authorities. In the Yang Jianli case, Yang was only permitted to meet with his defense attorneys three times, and each of these meetings was recorded. Prosecutors had nearly a year and a half to prepare their case against Yang.

Chinese judicial officials also publicly acknowledged the problem in August This function is usually carried out by public security. The Ministry of Public Security is reportedly drafting a similar set of regulations, but it is unclear when these regulations will be released. Several attorneys complained that the regulations have had no impact in practice.

Chinese attorneys suggested to Commission staff that the regulations have not yet had a meaningful impact in practice. A conviction rate of 99 percent raises obvious questions about the fairness of criminal trials. High conviction rates are not uncommon in other parts of Asia. For example, police in Japan report very few suspects who are not convictable, and about 99 percent of those who are prosecuted are convicted.

However, defendants in Japan are treated with extraordinary leniency. According to one expert, defendants are often punished with only minor fines, and courts suspend criminal sentences in almost 50 percent of cases. Clark, John Owen Haley, eds. A criminal named Wang Youen was tried and retried a total of four times for murder. These figures provide only a rough estimate of the rate of defendant appeals. Not all of the second instance cases handled in a year correspond to first instance cases handled that same year.

Moreover, in China, prosecutors have the right to appeal a verdict of not guilty. Chinese law also permits "private prosecutions" in some cases and allows private prosecutors to appeal not guilty verdicts. Overall, the SPC places the rate of appeal in China at about 12 percent for all cases civil, criminal, and administrative.

In December , dissident Yang Jianli declined to exercise his right to appeal, arguing in a written statement that the process was a sham. In February , serial killer Yang Xinhai waived his right to appeal after an hour-long trial, despite the fact that he had been sentenced to death. State Compensation Law, adopted 12 May 94, art. Chinese scholars have noted this unintended effect of the State Compensation Law.

While the length of a trial alone cannot be taken as the sole indicator of fairness, such short trials in key cases, when considered along with the many other problems and statistics raised in this section, suggest that trials are little more than a formality. If a case is not to be held in public, the court must announce the specific reason at the proceeding. Authorities sometimes restrict access to trials not falling within such exceptions. For example, the trials of Zhang Jianzhong and the officials charged with dereliction of duty in the death of Sun Zhigang were restricted, despite the fact that these cases did not involve state secrets.

Both Shao and a panel of legal experts have raised compelling questions about the reliability of the Judicial Accounting Audit. Shao denies confessing to any crimes, and the police interrogation record produced at trial reportedly contained no record of his confession. Police have refused to release the original interrogation records. According to the trial court judgment, several witnesses who were also charged with crimes and who implicated Shao were given lenient treatment for their cooperation. Shao maintains that he was prosecuted because he refused to pay bribes to local tax auditors.

An extensive collection of documents relevant to the case, including the indictment and the trial court judgment, is on file with the Commission. In the Wenzhou case, Dong Wenlie was sentenced to death for drug crimes. He reportedly confessed after two days of torture. No witnesses appeared at his trial and no documentary evidence of his crimes was submitted to the court. According to one recent NGO report, there is some disagreement among scholars on the exact number of capital offenses in China. Amnesty International, Executed According to Law, The majority of offenses for which individuals may be subject to the death penalty are non-violent economic offenses.

In December , one scholar tracked messages posted to an Internet chat room in response to media stories about a scholarly conference on the death penalty. According to the scholar, more than 80 percent of the respondents supported the death penalty, while 76 percent called for the number of capital crimes to be increased. Reportedly, only 13 percent of the submissions favored abolishing capital punishment.

The strong public outcry in response to the decision by a Shenyang court to change the death sentence of mafia boss Liu Yong also suggests strong support for capital punishment. For one recent article that reflects mainstream views on the efficacy on the death penalty, see "Death Sentences in Major Corruption Cases Terrify Corrupt Individuals" [Jutan bei pan sixing ran fubazhe danzhan xinjing], Legal Evening News [Fazhi wanbao], 26 August In August , Reuters reported that more than 50 individuals in Xinjiang were executed as part of a government crackdown on separatists and alleged terrorists.

Chinese scholar Liu Renwen contends that public support of the death penalty is problematic, however. If the public were informed about the number of executions and wrongful judgments involving death sentences, experts were allowed to discuss materials and problems related to the death penalty openly, and the public was not constantly bombarded with propaganda about the positive impact of the death penalty, he argues, the public would likely have a different view. Even senior Chinese officials who oppose abolition of the death penalty now acknowledge that the trend is for capital punishment to be phased out.

According to the report, the NPC delegate also stated that China executes five times the total in all other countries combined each year. Some death sentences are suspended for two years or commuted to life imprisonment. Disidai [The Fourth Generation], a book purportedly written by an internal Chinese government source, cites a Party dossier on Luo Gan as indicating that 15, people a year were executed between and According to the work report, of cases involving the review of death sentences, the original sentence was sustained in cases, the sentence was changed in 94 cases, and 24 cases were remanded to lower level courts for retrial.

One Chinese scholar reports that the annual rate of reversal for death sentences reviewed by the SPC fluctuates between 20 percent and 29 percent. A senior judicial official interviewed by Commission staff indicated that the NPC would have to resolve the issue. In March , the SPP reported that a total of 4, citizen supervisors had handled nearly cases. One leading defense lawyer critical of other reform efforts expressed optimism about the citizen supervisor program.

According to official reports, public security organs at all levels dispatched more than 20, inspection teams to root out abuses. In June , the SPC announced a nationwide review of parole and sentence reduction decisions. The authors note that problem illegal sentence reductions has been a major flashpoint for public anger. In the wake of the Sun Zhigang and Li Siyi cases, stories of law enforcement abuses and public criticism of authorities proliferated in domestic Chinese media and in Internet chatrooms.

Commission Staff Monitoring. In mid, as the law enforcement public relations campaign was launched, Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang admonished police officers nationwide to "resolutely stop malignant violations that offend the heavens and reason and stir up public indignation. According to one Chinese government report, the public provided only 6, tips on crimes in as opposed to , in , a development Chinese analysts attributed in part to corruption and "unhealthy trends" in law enforcement.

According to Commission sources, mock hearings and trials encouraged an atmosphere of mutual exchange and generated significant interest and goodwill on the part of Chinese counterparts. Commission staff were struck by the unanimity of Chinese scholars and reformers on this issue and the enthusiasm with which they encouraged further exchange. The Chinese government denies Chinese citizens the right to organize freely and to bargain collectively, and over the past year the government has continued to imprison labor leaders and suppress worker efforts to represent their own interests.

Government policies toward migrant workers continue to be discriminatory. Deaths in the coal mining industry alone, while on the decline, still average more than 6, per year. Because workers have no legal means of organizing to help themselves, their ability to express discontent is highly limited. Frustrated by a lack of channels through which to communicate with management on working conditions or wage issues, workers are forced to protest, sometimes through large-scale demonstrations.

Under this law, the establishment of any lower-level trade union depends upon approval of the next higher-level union body. The sole legal union representative for the average Chinese worker is his or her local ACFTU branch, even though these branches seldom perform any of the important functions traditionally associated with unions, such as organizing workplaces or advocating for workers in disputes with management. There is a trade union in our workplace simply because it is compulsory and the local government sent out a form to our boss.

After the association enrolled 1, workers and helped address worker grievances for three months, ACFTU and labor ministry officials closed it down, claiming that it was an independent union. In November , Guangdong provincial labor officials stated that they considered the ACFTU to have successfully set up branches in foreign-owned export factories in the province.

The Chinese government frequently ends worker protests by jailing leaders on a variety of criminal and administrative charges. In February , government authorities suppressed protests by about 2, workers of the Tieshu Textile Factory in Suizhou, Hubei province, after the bankrupt state-owned factory failed to pay severance benefits. Nine workers were detained. Workers sometimes resort to desperate measures to seek redress of their problems. A prominent U. Unhealthy and unsafe conditions are pervasive in the Chinese workplace. In , , workplace accidents claimed , lives.

Accidents are particularly common in Chinese coal mines. Mine owners have occasionally taken steps to cover up accidents, making it difficult to determine the true accident rate. In June , two Hebei mine owners were arrested for trying to cover up a gas explosion that killed 12 miners. The owners reported only one death, cremated the other bodies, and paid family members to keep quiet.

The injured were not sent to hospitals, but were treated privately. The Chinese government has taken some steps to address the problem of workplace injuries. Several U. The U. This program addresses only coal mining safety issues, and the need exists for other cooperative programs to address workplace health and safety issues in other industrial sectors.

In June , the U. In the same factory, legally mandated overtime rates were 62 cents per hour, but workers were only paid 24 to 34 cents per hour for overtime that was essentially mandatory. Employers induce migrants to work throughout the year with promises of future payment, only to vanish with the approach of the Chinese New Year. Wage withholding generates desperate attempts by workers to recover the money owed to them. Increasingly, this has involved worker suicide attempts or threats. In June , around five thousand Shenzhen workers clashed with police in protesting wage withholdings by their Hong Kong-owned factory.

In the summer of , a Jiangxi province power company announced a series of escalating fines for workers seeking to discuss wage and benefit issues with local government officials. Chinese labor law limits overtime to three hours per day and no more than nine hours per week over a regular hour work-week. Most agree that contract provisions curbing excessive overtime should become part of the supply chain management system.

Child labor issues sometimes attract national media attention. Not only did factory owners violate the law by employing minors, but they also forced the children to work up to 14 hours a day and withheld the wages of those who failed to keep pace. Some of these children were left homeless after being fired from the factory. The Commission is concerned that products resulting from prison labor may be reaching the United States in violation of U. The Chinese and U. Chinese government willingness to cooperate with the U.

Customs substantiated three allegations of products made with prison labor in violation of Section of the Tariff Act of 10 U. Progress to date has been limited to a small number of interactions between U. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. A press officer at the Henan police department said he did not have any information about Zhang Huixin and her family. The three arrived yesterday in Midland, Texas, and were staying in a guesthouse owned by the First Baptist Church, Fu said.

Pictures circulated online showed five men and two women lying on the pavement outside the newspaper building. A stream of white foam could be seen running out of one man's mouth in the pictures. All seven were taken to hospital, and police were investigating the case, the Daily said. Southern Metropolis Daily reported that the seven had drunk pesticide and were petitioners from Qingyang in Sihong county in eastern Jiangsu province.

Their land was seized by the local government and they were petitioning because they were not satisfied with the compensation the authorities paid, the newspaper said. The seven were held in an illegally run detention centre, or "black jail", after they took their petitions to a higher level of government, Southern Metropolis Daily said. An official from Jiangsu was guarding the emergency room where two of the petitioners were being treated, stopping journalists from going in yesterday, The Beijing News reported. The injuries the seven suffered were no longer life threatening, according to the newspaper.

Human rights group say that petitioning, which goes back to imperial times, often leads to people with complaints being held in illegal detention centres by the authorities. People can petition for years without their grievances being addressed and they occasionally resort to extreme measures to draw public attention to their cases. Corrupt official gets life Xinhua Wang Suyi, a former senior official from North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes, a local court in Beijing announced on Thursday. Wang was also deprived of political rights for life and all his property has been confiscated, according to the court ruling by Beijing No.

The court found that Wang had accepted bribes worth more than In return, he took advantage of his posts and offered business opportunities or promotions to nine companies and individuals, including a local real estate development company and Li Shigui, a former official of the region's Bayannur government, between and Scholar releases draft legislation on religion Global Times A scholar who has been pushing legislation on religion publicized his draft proposal for the first time on Thursday at an annual religion and social science conference at the Renmin University of China.

Liu Peng, founder of the Pushi Institute for Social Sciences, an independent think tank that focuses on religion in China, wrote the draft legislation last year and presented the first part at the conference. The draft defines religious freedom and property, regulates religious groups and activities, and calls for the separation of government and religious affairs.

China currently has no religious affairs-related laws, only a regulation at the national level in Regulatory deficiencies have created a problem whereby courts cannot hear disputes that touch on religion, especially those between governments and religious groups, Liu told the Global Times. When these issues need to be addressed, governments usually resolve them by issuing administrative rulings. On the other hand, the government can't regulate religious affairs when problems arise either.

However, there has been much discussion on the difficulty of enacting such a law. Liu Guopeng, a research fellow at the World Religion Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said at a previous conference at the Unirule Institute of Economics that China is not ready for law on religious affairs as most people have no clear idea of what separation of government and religious affairs means to them.

Many of our monks and bishops have high political positions right now. If we follow a strict separation, can they go on with their jobs? There isn't much discussion on changing the mentality," Liu said, adding that he hopes that through grass-roots discussions, this attitude will start to change. Shanghai pilots greater judicial independence Xinhua China's financial hub of Shanghai on Sunday initiated a judicial reform pilot to make judges more accountable and curb government interventions in courts. Pioneering China's judicial reform, the Shanghai pilot cover measures to improve management and job security of judicial staff, enhance accountability of judges and unify the personnel and finance management of local courts, according to the office entrusted with pushing ahead the reform.

In an effort to improve professionalism, a clear division will be set between judges and procurators, other judicial staff, and the administrative personnel, who will be placed under separate management, according to the reform plan. Judges and procurators will also be allowed to be selected from lawyers, legal scholars and other legal professionals.

A responsibility system will strengthen the roles of trial judges and make them work in a more independent manner, changing the practice that their rulings have to go through excessive signing and approvals by the court's chief justices. The reform also targets the decision-making power of the judicial council, limiting their use in complicated cases on which the collegial panel showed a major split. Greater judicial power will also come with greater responsibility, as trial judges and procurators will assume a lifelong accountability to their cases, which means they will be called into account for previous miscarriage of justice.

The plan will also require the judges and procurators at district or county-level courts to be nominated by provincial-level judicial authority.

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Funds of local courts will also come from the provincial, rather than the local finance. Tang Xiaotian, vice secretary-general of Shanghai Law Society, said the financial independence will guard the courts from the influence of the local government. The eastern municipality of Shanghai has been chosen to spearhead the country's judicial reform. China has been pushing for a deeper judicial reform to address public complaints over the capability and fairness problems in Chinese courts.

The Supreme People's Court on Wednesday published a guideline for judicial reforms over the next five years. The guideline includes 45 major measures in eight key judicial issues such as personnel, finance and judicial selection, most of which are included in the Shanghai reform plan. Thousands pay tribute to images of Buddha China Daily Thousands of people gathered to pay homage to the unrolling of the thangka - giant religious silk embroideries - to mark the third day of the Buddha Images Show Festival at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet's Xigaze prefecture on Sunday.

The ritual, which involves the presentation of Buddha images in the monastery, is linked to prayers for rain to deliver a bumper harvest for the local people, religious officials of the monastery said. The three-day-event is observed annually from the 14th to the 16th days of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar, according to the monastery. The first two days displayed images of past Buddha Amida and present Buddha Gautama.

The third day displayed the future Buddha Maitreya, said Nyandrak, deputy director of the monastery's management committee. Tibetan Buddhists believe the age of 25 is a hard year. In order to keep away from things in life that would make one vulnerable, Tibetans carry out certain religious rituals at that age, local residents said. The thangka displayed on Sunday was 45 meters long and 29 meters wide and took 25 tailors and 90 other workers almost seven months to complete.

The monastery is the bed-sitting, or official coronation, place of the successive Panchan Lamas. A similar thangka was displayed for the 9th Panchan Lama at age 37, Nyandrak said. More than 20, Tibetans across the region lined up early in the morning to make the pilgrimage to the Buddha image show. I wish all living beings to be healthy and peaceful," said Tobchen, from Tibet's Rinpung county. Accompanied by the sound of horns reverberating through the air, monks slowly unrolled the thangka on the mountainside behind the monastery. Followed by Tibetan Buddhists who offered their white hada - white silk scarves that signify goodwill, purity and good fortune - to the image, the monks prayed in front of the image.

Shifting the focus from infrastructure to industry China Daily Because the herders on the Tibetan plateau follow the seasons in their search for fertile pastures, they spent much of the year in makeshift accommodations, which are always under threat when blizzards or landslides occur on the exposed land.

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The money accounted for more than half the cost of building his new house, and allowed him to buy a motorbike, which he uses to travel over the barren plateau and keep an eye on his sheep and yaks. Under the program, two provincial-level governments are mandated to provide assistance for Lhasa or one of the six prefectures in the Tibet autonomous region.

In the past 20 years, Beijing and Jiangsu province have provided about 5. Every year, provinces and municipalities set aside 0. Over the past two decades, a combined 2. In , 6. The square is popular with the locals, who often gather there to practice traditional arts such as circle dances and Tibetan operas, and to play their favorite sports.

The new road has really improved the situation," said villager Sonam Tsetan. Because the project is directed at raising local living standards, more than 70 percent of the total investment has been used to provide jobs and funding for businesses, according to the Lhasa government.

Initially, the funds were used to improve the local infrastructure by building highways, hospitals, schools and houses. However, as the local economy developed, the locals started to look at ways of promoting sustainable industries, and quickly realized that mature industries in tune with local conditions were the best bets, according to Ma Xinming, head of the Beijing Aid to Tibet organization in Lhasa.

By the end of , 59 counties had received a total of million yuan from the central government. The money was mainly used to establish about 70 special projects to develop industries suitable for farmers and herders, such as cultivating highland barley, plateau rapeseed, potatoes, and greenhouse vegetables, and raising yaks and Tibetan pigs. Traditional Tibetan medicine has also received funding.

In Todlung Deqen, a county less than 10 km west of Lhasa, money from Beijing has helped to build greenhouses on two sites. To date, the Chinese capital alone has donated million yuan to the county, and the greenhouses have helped to double farmers' incomes, said Luo Hanmo, deputy general manager of Jingtu Eco-Agriculture Co. Many of the goods transported to Lhasa from the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan are expensive, especially fresh produce, so another 1, greenhouses will be put into use in Todlung Deqen in the next few years to lower vegetable prices, according to Luo.

They will sell vegetables for 15 to 30 percent less than the supermarkets," he said. Drolma, a local farmer, said growing vegetables is 20 times more profitable than planting low-yield highland barley. She is confident she can grow a greater variety of vegetables in her greenhouses. In other areas, trials are under way to assess the suitability of new strains of livestock.

Dairy cattle introduced by officials from Jiangsu have raised incomes in Palding, Dagze county. Of the families in the village, 69 have been taught to raise cattle and a further 62 have been given guidance in raising sheep. Village chief Nyima said the cattle are milked twice a day to produce fresh milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. Now that we are raising cattle, our incomes have more than doubled to 5, yuan. In the end, though, we will only achieve our goals if we work as hard as possible and learn to understand new ways of doing things.

Terror attacks stifle Uygur businesses China Daily The businesses of Uygur entrepreneurs in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, especially in traditional Uygur foods, have suffered serious setbacks since the series of terrorist attacks that happened this year, businessmen said, who jointly condemned the violent acts.

Our banquet hall, which caters to tourists and offers traditional Uygur foods and performances, has seen hardly any customers since the terrorist attack in Kunming in March," said Xoket Abulat, the manager of Xinjiang Tumaris Hotel in Urumqi, the regional capital. He said that because of the poor sales, the hotel had no choice but to let some employees go and reduce the salaries of those stayed. Police shot four attackers dead at the station, and the other four were arrested and detained by police. All were from Xinjiang. Two separate terrorist attacks were carried out in Urumqi in April and May.

The violence prompted the central government to launch a nationwide yearlong campaign against terrorism. The less optimistic situation of his business actually has fueled his ambition to open new branches outside the region. I hope the restaurants will serve as platforms to create mutual respect," he said. Xoket and Abudulkeyim are among the entrepreneurs and their employees - most of them from Uygur ethnic group - who jointly drafted and signed an open letter addressed to fellow Uygurs to denounce terrorism a week ago.

Our enterprises have been affected by the terrorist attacks. On July 10, the Xinjiang regional government sent a work group to Guangdong province assisting local government to provide services and manage the workforce from Xinjiang. More teams will be sent to other provinces where many people from Xinjiang make their living. Anti-graft inspectors uncover cases of 'austerity violations' in Xinjiang SCMP A total of violations of Communist Party austerity measures were uncovered in Xinjiang during the first half of the year, with 87 per cent of the cases found in the second quarter, the region's anti-graft watchdog has said.

The findings coincided with just-completed inspections by the more senior Central Commission for Discipline Inspection CCDI , the party's top anti-graft agency, carried out between March to May. Only violations were found in the first quarter. Xinjiang's anti-graft agency said 1, cadres had been punished for the violations, according to its statement carried on the CCDI website. The main problem area for Xinjiang was abuse of taxpayers' money for banquets and luxury gifts. Other excesses included unnecessary ceremonies and misuse of government vehicles. Xinjiang and Jiangxi, with violations, were the only two areas CCDI investigated for six months and which were flagged up on its website.

Over the weekend, the CCDI inspection team publicly issued separate reports on Xinjiang's regional authorities and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps - a quasi-military entity that controls much of the region. The inspectors said they had received substantial complaints of graft in the mining, natural resources and land sectors. A CCDI inspection report issued yesterday said the main issues for Fujian were "naked" officials those whose families live abroad , corrupt land deals and collusion with businessmen.

Hong Kong affairs entirely China's internal affairs: spokesperson Xinhua A spokesperson of the Office of Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong said here on Saturday that it is beneficial to all concerned parties to remain Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. On July 11, the British government published a half-year report on Hong Kong, in response to which, the spokesperson made the remarks.

So Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs and tolerate no intervention by any foreign country in any way. We hope relevant country would do good to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability," The spokesperson said. The key elements covered in the negotiation include the elimination or reduction of tariffs, rules of origin, liberalization of trade in services, liberalization, promotion and protection of investment, and intellectual property cooperation.

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HK submits election report Global Times Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying submitted a report to the national legislature Tuesday, confirming that proposals for universal suffrage will only accept candidates who are loyal to both Hong Kong and the central government. The report has made clear that only the nomination committee has a "substantive power" to endorse candidates, and such power of nomination must not be bypassed. It is based on opinions collected through the , written submissions put forth by individual groups and members of the public during the first round of a five-month public consultation, which ended in May.

According to Basic Law Article 45, which stipulates the requirements for choosing Hong Kong's top leaders, the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage is to be done upon nomination by a broadly representative committee in accordance with democratic procedures. The submission marked the city's first move in a five-step process to determine the electoral methods for the selection of the chief executive in and for the formation of the Legislative Council LegCo in Leung says in the report that the Hong Kong public is generally eager to see implementation of universal suffrage for the election, and agrees that the new chief should be a person who "loves the country and loves Hong Kong.

The report also made brief mentions of the controversial "civic nomination" process proposed by democracy campaigners, but did not address its feasibility. However, the reports did state the majority agreed that the composition of the nomination committee should be decided by reference to the existing methods of forming the Election Committee. This means the nomination committee should be composed of four sectors in equal proportions, in order to meet the requirement for being broadly representative as stipulated in the Basic Law. The current election committee is composed mainly of lawmakers, professional groups, business leaders and Beijing representatives.

The size of the nomination committee should be the same as the current election committee, meaning 1, members, and should not exceed 1, if an increase in size is needed, according to the report. Ma believed the report did not objectively reflect the views of Hong Kong people, as there are still debates over the nature of the "love the country and love Hong Kong" requirement for the city's leaders. The New People's Party vice chairman and lawmaker, Michael Tien Puk-sun, said he believed many Hong Kong people are disappointed with the report due to a lack of concrete advice on election procedures.

In contrast, Chang Chak-yan, another CUHK political scientist and co-founder of Silent Majority, which opposes the Occupy Central movement, said the report has accurately reflected mainstream views through the , public submissions. The Hong Kong Federation of Students, co-organizer of Occupy Central, warned that a series of "civil disobedience" actions will take place, if the suggestion of civic nomination is rejected by central authorities, reported Hong Kong's Commercial Radio station.

Following the report's submission, the NPC Standing Committee will decide in August on whether the electoral methods need to be amended. A second round of public consultation on the reform proposal will then be held by the end of to form a more concrete and detailed reform package. Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beihang University in Beijing said the report is unbiased and expects only small amendments to the reform will be made. China lodges protest with Britain over HK affairs Xinhua China on Wednesday lodged solemn protests with Britain over the meetings between high-ranking British officials and the Hong Kong opposition.

China firmly opposes any interference in Hong Kong affairs by any country under whatever pretext," said Hong. The practice of "one country, two systems" has achieved great success in Hong Kong in the past 17 years since its return to the motherland, which is recognized by all, Hong said. China urged the British side to respect China's stance and concerns and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any means, he said.

The British side should take effective measures to eliminate the ill effects caused by the meetings, and make concrete efforts to safeguard the China-Britain relationship and cooperation, Hong added. It's official: Macau chief executive Fernando Chui will seek re-election SCMP Macau's chief executive, Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on, will formally launch his re-election bid today amid escalating social tensions in the former Portuguese enclave. Whether Chui will face any challenger matters little, experts say, as he is widely regarded as Beijing's pick in the race.

And even if it is a one-man election, the members of the election committee will still need to cast their votes on August Chui's election office said last night that he would elaborate on his re-election platform when he formally announced his candidacy today. Chui's first five-year term saw Macau's economy surpass Switzerland's and claim the world's fourth-highest per capita GDP thanks to soaring revenues from taxes on casinos. But discontent among the population of some , has also surged, culminating in May when thousands rallied in a public demonstration unprecedented since the city's return to Chinese rule.

The protest was prompted by legislation Chui proposed that would make him immune to criminal prosecution during his tenure. He later scrapped the proposal. Chui, 57, also angered democracy supporters by dismissing a non-binding referendum on electoral reform organised by the city's democrats. This week, in a move apparently aimed at youngsters who complained about a lack of affordable housing, Chui unexpectedly announced that 28, public housing flats would be built in an undeveloped area - almost double the number planned.

Macau watcher Larry So Man-yum said the decision - which Chui said was unrelated to his re-election campaign - might not lessen the challenges he faces in a second term. Chui's top aide, Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, is expected to step down, having been in office since Portuguese rule ended in Unlike Hong Kong, Macau's Basic Law does not stipulate universal suffrage as the ultimate means of electing the chief executive. That led youngsters disaffected by the widening wealth gap to call for more democracy.

In the run-up to the election on August 31, democracy activists plan to conduct a poll, modelled on Occupy Central's recent unofficial referendum, organiser Sulu Sou Ka-ho said. He promised more details in the coming days. They plan to ask residents whether the chief should be elected by universal suffrage, and whether they have confidence in Chui, who is likely to be the only candidate in the election. Macau's leader Fernando Chui 'happy to let Beijing know public's views on democracy' SCMP Macau's leader said yesterday he would be "happy" to let Beijing know what the city's residents think about democracy, as he launched his campaign for re-election as chief executive, an exercise all too likely to be a one-man race.

In this interview he talks about the role As well as earning an academic qualification, i. The fifteenth edition of the World Trade Institute Summer Academy on international law and economics is underway, bringing together government representatives, scholars and practitioners from around the world. Faisal Siddiqui joined the MILE 3 programme with a degree in international relations and went on to build a career as a political officer with the United Nations.

In this interview he outlines his career path and explains how the MILE helped him hone his professional skills. Students taking up the offer are matched up with a specially selected member of the MILE alumni who takes them under their wing and helps them to establish themselves professionally. Sascha Finger, who along with Corinne Karlaganis has responsibility for alumni within the WTI communications team, answers questions about the MILE mentorship programme that is now in its third year, in the first of two interviews about student mentoring at the WTI. In this interview Karolis, who had previously studied law in Vilnius, London and Reykjavik, tells us about his thesis topic and his experience of studying at The final oral round will take place in Geneva in June.

Canadian Nadia Vassos, who graduated from the MILE programme five years ago, has since carved out a career in international trade policy.

Editorial: Economic and Political Studies: Vol 7, No 2

In this interview, she says the legal knowledge and negotiation skills she acquired on the MILE have proved particularly useful in her current role with the Canadian Competition She says the MILE programme kick-started her legal career by introducing her to the firm that would employ her upon graduation. The final in a series of WTO 20 conferences taking stock of two decades of jurisprudential and key policy developments in the multilateral trading system and organised by the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization took place in Delhi, India, from 16 to 18 February.

MILE 13 graduate Susana Wong works as a university teacher, project manager and researcher on cross-border trade issues. How will President Trump shape United States foreign policy, in particular in regard to trade, finance and development aid? The WTI has joined the newly created Platform on International Energy Governance that brings together leading world universities and research centres active in the field of international energy law and policy.

Three years after graduating she is putting what she learned to use at the Mexican Trade Ministry. In an interview with The current and future challenges facing the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization were the focus of a special lecture by its Chairman, Thomas R. A MILE 11 graduate, Harsh Hiroo Gursahani has carved out a role as a successful trade lawyer in India where he produces policy papers for the government and advises private clients on food law.

The academic year began for the 21 doctoral students enrolled at the WTI on 27 September. Here he talks about his association with the WTI, the benefits of studying at the Institute, and the need to adapt courses to changing times. Ilaria Espa has published an article on the new raw materials dispute that threatens to revive trade tensions between China and the United States and European Union. Thalis Andrade, a graduate of the MILE 14 intake, is a trained lawyer who works in foreign trade analysis for the Brazilian government and also lectures on international trade law.

He says the MILE programme allowed him to realise a dream of living abroad while studying a subject he loves. The WTI is offering the opportunity to two political science graduates to join a new research project on globalisation as PhD candidates. The initial The World Trade Institute WTI has won sought-after European Union financial backing for a project examining the role of local authorities in tackling climate change.

Three WTI researchers were part of the conference programme that brought together academics, scholars and political figures. Sustainability — whether in the use of raw materials, or in the areas of food and agriculture, climate and water — is central to a number of research projects conducted at the WTI. Sustainability in law is a particular focus. An interview with Judith Wehrli, who is researching the legal Switzerland occupies an important position in the global trade of hard and soft commodities.

Companies headquartered within its borders directly or indirectly shape commodity extraction practices around the world, some of which carry considerable negative environmental and social risks on the ground, particularly in fragile contexts. Minimising these risks and A team from the WTI, led by Prof. MILE 4 graduate Marina Foltea talks about her journey from Moldova to Switzerland, where she has set up her own international trade and investment law advisory service, Trade Pacts, and shares advice with current students on the graduate programme.

The Spirit of Bern — a new platform for dialogue — held its inaugural meeting in Bern on 18 January. All about harnessing the power of dialogue for bringing about positive change in society, the Spirit of Bern is a new platform involving experts from the worlds of economics, science and politics. The inaugural public meeting will be held in Bern on 18 January and feature presentations by WTI faculty This initiative, It is with profound sadness that we learnt that John Jackson passed away on 7 November Professor Jackson was a friend of the institute and a friend of current and past members of the WTI family.

We will miss one of the founding fathers of International Economic Law. A former government trade economist in Gambia, Sainabou Taal embarked on the MILE programme in to further her career in international trade policy development. In this interview she talks about how an internship at the WTO was a springboard to her current role as a policy analyst specialised in A conference on intergenerational justice — the second in the WTI Doctoral Programme Conference Series - took place on 9 October to discuss different conceptions of intergenerational justice and distilling concrete institutional and policy mechanisms to ensure greater coherence in this area.

Food Security is the main theme of the World Expo taking place in Milan until the end of this month. An English adaptation of the interview is reproduced here with kind permission. A group of senior civil servants from Taiwan paid a visit to the WTI on 18 September for a one-day training programme on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements negotiation. The next step is ratification by Astana. What expectations and hopes lay behind the creation of the World Trade Organization, and 20 years on how have these been realised?

A regular commentator on trade issues in Sri Lankan newspapers and on television, she was recently ranked 15th among young leaders below the age of 40 and 19th most powerful woman in The Summer Academy on International Trade Regulation — five week-long courses on cutting-edge issues in global economic governance — opens its doors to graduate students and practitioners on 6 July. The Academy runs until 8 August.

Jindal Global University has taken place in Delhi. It was attended by academics from leading institutions, senior policy makers, trade law practitioners, and representatives of civil society and private After a stint in Geneva he returned to Bern, taking up a legal position at the Universal Postal Union. The native of Brazil says MILE was invaluable to him in building up a professional network and progressing in his career.

Commercial products containing synthetic nanomaterials may range from safe food additives to potentially explosive products. In some cases the risks to consumers are unclear because of a lack of long term test data. On 21 April, a group of scholars and stakeholders discussed research gaps in the field of commodities and trade at an academic workshop. Around the world the resources for agricultural production — soil, water, biodiversity - are under pressure as the population increases and climate change affects the poorest countries where a high percentage of income is spent on food.

Poverty and increasing food prices are leading drivers of food insecurity. It will be held in Colombia on November. The WTI doctoral school has distributed toys to two organisations in western Switzerland providing support to children with neurodevelopmental disorders. A third delivery is destined for a foundation for the visually impaired. Since completing the MILE programme in , lawyer Jian Guan has specialised in international trade law in China and is carving out a role as an expert in this area.

While practising law in Beijing he is also working towards a PhD. During this time she took a year out to extend her knowledge of international A workshop will take place at the WTI on 21 April on research gaps in the field of commodities and trade. Gallen are co-hosting the event. A highlight of the second term of every MILE year is the few days spent enjoying winter sports and generally chilling out in the Swiss mountains. Jin Glover reports on the trip.

She talks here about her professional journey from Odessa to Geneva, from maritime law to international trade. WTI senior researcher and faculty member Anirudh Shingal presented the case of India at a recent conference on the internationalisation of government procurement regulation at the European University Institute in Florence. After studying in South Africa and England he gained work experience in both countries and has a Beginning on 5 January , Term 2 of the Master of International Law and Economics programme will include one new and one reworked module.

Malebakeng Forere, who completed her doctorate last year within the SECO-WTI academic cooperation programme and returned to her native South Africa, took up a post as senior lecturer in law at the start of November. In this interview she talks about plans to publish her thesis, and the importance of Lucia Satragno, a doctoral student under the supervision of Professor Thomas Cottier, has been awarded the prestigious van Calker Scholarship to conduct research in international monetary law at The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law in Lausanne.

From flooding in Bangladesh to drought in Kenya: in many parts of the world climate change is accelerating, destroying environments and prompting migratory flows. States are waking up to the challenges and considering how to respond to these movements of people — both internal and cross-border. A conference held at