UNDP Hosts Rule of Law Roundtable, Launches Annual Report on Judicial Reform in China

May 8, 2014

2013 was a pivotal year for rule of law in China, which saw greater priority placed on judicial reform and the abolition of re-education through labour.  These were topics discussed at the Rule of Law Roundtable hosted by UNDP China, together with the Ford Foundation.  The UNDP Country Office welcomed over 50 participants from 27 organisations, including from embassies, development organisations, academia, and civil society, to discuss rule of law in China.

“Access to justice and rule of law are an integral part of human development, and an integral part of UNDP’s engagement in China,” said Mr. Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Country Director, during his opening remarks. Mr. Bahuet helped launch the 2013 Annual Report on Judicial Reform in China, which was compiled by Professor Xu Xin and his team at the Advance Judicial Research Institute of Beijing Institute of Technology. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of developments in judicial reform in 2013 and the way forward for governance.

At the roundtable, speakers presented their analysis of the prospects and challenges for judicial reform in China. Mr. Jiang Huiling, Judge and Deputy Director General of the Judicial Reform Office at the Supreme People’s Court, spoke about the phases of judicial reform, illustrating the many advances that have been made in China and the categories for action under the current institutional and structural focus of judicial reform.  Professor Ji Weidong, Dean of the Law School at Shanghai Jiaotong University situated judicial reform in the wider societal and organisational context, indicating the factors resisting reform.  On re-education through labour, Professor Xie Chuanyu, Professor of the People’s Public Security University of China, explained the rationale for its abolition and its relationship to other forms of administrative detention.

Participants shared their views on the rule of law context in China and advances in judicial reform, and also exchanged information and experiences on their areas of engagement in aspects of rule of law, human rights, and governance.