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China's Corruption Crackdown: Millions Prosecuted as Protests Against Rulings Surge

  • Posted on May 30, 2023
  • News
China President Xi Jinping

corruption crackdown:-

From 2017 to 2022, Chinese courts have put about 8. 3 million people on trial, showing a 12% rise from the previous 5-year duration . At the same time, a significant increase of almost 20% was observed in the number of protests targeting judicial decisions. 

In March, the SPP revealed these figures, which provide insight into the operations of China’s infamous legal system, functioning under increasingly strict domestic security conditions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

According to Zhang Jun, who is leaving his post as director of the SPP, the number of prosecutions for violent crimes has fallen by 31. 7%, whereas there has been a substantial increase of 43. 3% in prosecutions for internet-related offenses like fraud, gambling, and spreading indecent material.

Under President Xi Jinping’s guidance, Chinese officials have heightened their emphasis on purported criminal acts that pertain to the well-being of the nation and its people, singling out critics, demonstrators, and attorneys that advocate for human rights. 

Legal professionals have suggested that revisions in anti-spying legislation have broadened their range, resulting in greater jeopardy for foreign institutions and individuals working within China.

International companies conducting research and providing advice have been targeted for investigations and arrests, and many non-Chinese individuals and locals employed by foreign corporations have been held for reasons related to protecting the nation’s security. 

Legal proceedings concerning matters of national security, often related to accusations of spying or treason, are frequently conducted covertly, depriving the public of access to information on evidence, verdicts, and penalties. 

The data that was made public only included the quantity of legal actions taken, without any further elaboration.

Enshen Li, a criminology senior lecturer at the University of Queensland, remarked that the increase in prosecutions might indicate a prevalent worldwide tendency of governments to make some behaviors overly criminalized. 

Moreover, China has implemented a mechanism since 2016 to motivate accused individuals to admit guilt in return for more forgiving penalties. Around 90% of criminal cases have made use of this method, leading to a noteworthy boost in case processing speed and simplifying legal proceedings related to crime.

The plea leniency system has caused a significant drop in pre-trial detentions as it effectively encourages defendants to admit guilt through its almost perfect success rate in criminal trials. 

From 2018 to 2022, there has been a significant drop in the ratio of prisoners held before trial, which has hit an all-time low of 26. 7%, down from 54. 9%

Jeremy Daum, a research scholar at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, stated that the Chinese system placed great importance on resolving issues in addition to punishing and deterring individuals. 

According to the SPP, it takes responsibility for enforcing just and lawful investigation and prosecution processes and has noted a significant rise of 30% in the number of proposed arrests that it has rejected from public security organizations.

Despite this, the information also indicated a substantial increase in the number of appeals initiated by the prosecution against criminal verdicts or punishments. The number of protests filed against incorrect criminal rulings has risen by 18%, 9% during the last reporting period, with a total of 41,000 cases reported by the SPP. 

It should be noted that these requests are initiated by prosecutors, not by accused parties. The system’s legitimacy and judges’ safety are being safeguarded through a greater emphasis on preventing cases from being wrongly processed. 

The highest judicial court has enforced a system of “indefinite accountability” for judges, enabling ongoing examination of their cases even after they have retired since 2017. 

Judges of higher authority have termed it as a symbolic threat that looms over them, similar to the legendary sword of Damocles.

For five years, the SPP revealed that a total of 78,000 individuals, including more than 100 in positions of provincial leader or minister, were charged with corruption and bribery. Since taking power, President Xi has launched an extensive anti-corruption initiative aimed at addressing the misconduct of China’s political elites.

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