This article throws light upon the seven salient features of the Chinese judicial system. The features are: 1. Judiciary is a Part of the Administration 2. A Committed Judiciary 3. System of People’s Justice 4. System of People’s Assessors 5. Elected Courts 6. Use of Different Languages by Various Nationalities 7. System of Procuratorate.
Feature # 1. Judiciary is a Part of the Administration:
Like all other socialist systems, Judiciary in China is not an independent institution. It is a branch of state administration. There is no such thing as separation of the judiciary from the executive in China.
Feature # 2. A Committed Judiciary:
The Judiciary in China has been assigned a role in the development of the socialist system. It is machinery for easy and speedy decision of cases, and for educating the citizens in the direction of the socialist system. Like all other government departments, the aim of the Judiciary is to uphold and strengthen the socialist system in a spirit of dedication to the socialist ideology.
It is the duty of the courts in China to inculcate in the citizens the spirit of devotion to the cause of socialism, to observe the norms of socialism, to abide by the Constitution and the Law, to safeguard the unity and integrity of the nation, and to help the state in suppressing counter revolutionaries, reactionaries and other enemies of the socialist system.
Feature # 3. System of People’s Justice:
The courts in China administer people’s justice i.e. justice in the interest of the socialist aspirations of the people. This principle is opposed to the principle of individual justice. Under the latter, the courts protect the rights and personal freedoms of the individual vis-a-vis the state. However, under the former, the courts protect the collective interests of the people vis-a-vis the individual interests.
Feature # 4. System of People’s Assessors:
The People’s courts hear the cases. Representatives of the people participate in the administration of justice. In cases pertaining to counterrevolutionary crimes and also in criminal cases, the masses are drawn in for discussions and suggestions.
All citizens who have the right to vote and contest elections are eligible to be elected as people’s assessors. Their tenures and methods of election are decided by the Ministry of Justice. These assessors enjoy equal rights with the judges of the courts in which they work.
Feature # 5. Elected Courts:
Chinese courts are elected by the congresses i.e. by social assemblies at different levels. These are responsible before their respective congresses. The judges report to the congress which elects them. The congress can also remove a judge.
Feature # 6. Use of Different Languages by Various Nationalities:
All the citizens of all nationalities possess the right to use their own spoken and written languages in court proceedings.
Feature # 7. System of Procuratorate:
The courts in China function in close cooperation with the people’s procuratorates which are at work at different levels. The procuratorates work under the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. These are instruments of state control over all the courts and government departments.
Thus, the Judiciary in China is neither an independent nor a powerful part of the constitutional system. It works as a system for eliminating the enemies of socialism. The judges are committed to the ideology of the Communist Party and their foremost task is to punish all those who work, directly or indirectly, against the interests and ideology of the Communist Party of China.