V. Judicial Power Serving the People
Putting the people first and exercising judicial power for the people are the fundamental starting point and ultimate objective of judicial work in China. In recent years, in light of new situations and requirements coming along with the rapid socioeconomic development, China has made continuous efforts in promoting the development of the grassroots judicial organs by intensifying service consciousness in judicial work, extending work platforms and improving work procedures, so as to provide more convenience for people to exercise their rights.
1. Strengthening the Development of Grassroots Judicial Organs
Most of the cases handled by the judicial bodies take place at grassroots level, and grassroots judicial institutions are the frontline platforms providing judicial services to the public. The local grassroots courts, procuratorates, public security organs and judicial administrative bodies are strengthening such agencies as people's tribunals, procuratorial offices, police stations and judicial offices to make judicial services close to the people and provide better service to them.
Strengthening the construction of grassroots people's courts. Every year grassroots people's tribunals try an average of 2.4 million cases, accounting for one-third of all cases tried by the people's courts of first instance across the country. In recent years, to facilitate litigation, local grassroots people's courts have resumed, built or improved the people's tribunals, and promoted a mechanism for people's tribunals to directly place cases on file for investigation by simplifying this procedure. Currently, China has nearly 10,000 people's tribunals, covering almost all towns or townships and urban neighborhoods. Convenient litigation offices and liaison points have been set up in remote villages and litigation liaisons are appointed. Circuit tribunals have been set up in places where there is relative concentration of population, and they are encouraged to receive and hear cases as they go the rounds so as to serve the people as best they can.
Strengthening the construction of grassroots procuratorial offices. Local grassroots people's procuratorates have established sub-offices in some major townships or towns to receive reports from the masses about offences, their complaints and petitions, to find clues to crimes involving government functionaries, to exercise legal supervision over illegal practices in litigation, to do publicity work on crime prevention and the rule of law, to participate in social security comprehensive management and safety building, and to supervise and coordinate with community correction work. So far, China's procuratorates have set up 2,758 such offices, and 9,622 other procuratorial agencies like liaison stations and work stations.
Strengthening the construction of grassroots police stations. Public security organs are promoting a community policing strategy in urban and rural areas. Now China has more than 50,000 police stations and over 170,000 sub-stations, covering all the townships, towns and neighborhoods, making police services and distribution of police forces closer to the grassroots and the public. Public security organs have remarkably improved their capabilities to prevent and crack down on crimes, control security situation and serve the people. Since 2006, cases of serious violent crimes in eight categories handled by public security organs nationwide, including murder, robbery, rape, kidnapping and personal injury, have kept going down, by 9% in 2010 from 2009, and by 10% in 2011 from 2010.
Strengthening the construction of grassroots judicial offices. In recent years, in addition to the functions of legal publicity, legal assistance, mediation guidance and grassroots legal services, the grassroots judicial offices have taken upon themselves such new functions as community correction, and settling down and rehabilitating those committing minor offences. Currently, China has more than 40,000 such offices, covering most of the country's townships or towns and urban districts. In the 2004-2011 period, the judicial offices solved 2.84 million disputes, assisted in the mediation and settlement of 46.77 million difficult and complex disputes, participated in resettlement of 2.69 million ex-convicts, and guided the handling of 1.12 million legal-assistance cases.