Reform the Judicial System

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China II Updated: 2021-12-24

Reform the Judicial System*


March 24, 2015


Driving the reform of the judicial system to a deeper level and building a fair, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system are key measures in improving state governance and modernizing the governing capability. Judicial justice concerns the people's immediate interests, social fairness and justice, and the implementation of the rule of law. We must ensure the correct political direction of judicial system reform, focus on improving the credibility of the judiciary, start from the prevailing situation in our country, and follow the law of judicial development. We must focus on solving problems, be resolute in overcoming difficulties, muster strength and confidence, and forge ahead with determination, so as to firmly push forward a deeper-level reform of the judicial system and enhance social fairness and justice.

Our country's judicial system was established by the people under Party leadership and developed through a long period of practice; generally speaking, it suits our national conditions and socialist system. Different factors, however, have led to problems in judicial activities, such as miscarriage of justice, unjust and misjudged cases, judicial corruption, and cases manipulated by money, power, and personal favor. Left unresolved, these problems will seriously interfere with the thorough implementation of the rule of law, and have an adverse effect on social fairness and justice. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee has attached great importance to judicial reform, and has made significant progress in implementing reform measures, in the areas of building socialist rule of law with Chinese features, building a socialist country by the rule of law, and safeguarding social fairness and justice.

The judiciary is an important component of the superstructure. Reforming the judicial system means improving and developing our judiciary, and following the path of the socialist rule of law. Party leadership is the fundamental guarantee of socialist rule of law, and the defining feature and political strength of our judicial system. Deeper-level reform of the judiciary and improving judicial administration and the exercise of judicial power must be conducted under the unified leadership of the Party by upholding and improving our judicial system. While the Party assumes a leading and core role in exercising overall leadership and coordinating the efforts of all, adjudication and procuratorial organs should perform their duties in accordance with the law and do their work accordingly.

We reform the judiciary for the people, through the people, and to the benefit of the people. In the end, it is the people who can make the final judgment on the results of reform and the credibility of the judiciary. The judiciary is the final line of defense in safeguarding social fairness and justice, and fairness is the soul and life of the judiciary. To conduct deeper reform of the judicial system we must listen carefully to the people and know their expectations; we must also go to the frontline of judicial practice for first-hand information. The success of reform lies in the number of problems solved and whether the people are satisfied with the solutions.

Special attention must be paid to judicial accountability. All registered judges and prosecutors must work in court, and take lifelong responsibility for cases they handle. Judges and prosecutors have the power of trial and judgment, and they should work under constant scrutiny, exercising their power within the proper limits. They should be supervised by the law, by society, and by public opinion, and must "do honest and upright things justly, selflessly, and conscientiously"1. Judicial power must be caged by the system. Let fairness and justice shine on the people, and let the people see concrete results of reform. 

Judicial reform must progress in line with our fundamental political system, basic political system, and the level of economic and social development. We must maintain our country's features and strengths. We should learn from beneficial foreign experience, but cannot blindly copy their judicial systems. When improving and reforming our judiciary, we must follow the objective rules of judicial activities, and make sure that power and responsibility are integrated, power is checked, openness and fairness are achieved, and procedures are followed. Reform of the judiciary concerns the overall situation, and we must strengthen top-level design and drive top-down reform in an orderly fashion. To promote institutional innovation, we should always deal with reality, and carry out reform in light of the conditions of judicial organs in different areas and at different levels.

Solving problems is the focus of our work, and should be targeted by reform. We must address the major problems and key issues affecting judicial justice and restricting judicial capacity, and make reform pertinent and effective. The task of reforming the judiciary, defined at the third and fourth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, is a mandatory goal and must be implemented in full. The Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee and relevant units should develop a sound plan regarding the timing, form, and momentum of various reforms, and adopt concrete and pragmatic measures to the satisfaction of the people. Organs under the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs must take the lead in designing institutions and plans, and in issuing support measures, by taking into consideration the overall development of the cause of the Party and the state, and the fundamental interests of the people. Provincial authorities and central departments must give full support to judicial reform and implement their plans and tasks. Evaluation should be strengthened on those reform measures that have been put into practice, and experience should be summed up in a timely fashion. We must pay attention to emerging and potential problems and problems that suggest a bad trend, and do our best to solve them. We must work harder to pool our strengths, mobilize all positive factors, and form a powerful force to give further impetus to reform.


* Main points of the speech at the 21st group study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee.


1  Lü Kun: Groans from My Sickbed (Shen Yin Yu). Lü Kun (1536-1618) was a writer and thinker of the Ming Dynasty.

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