Jul. 23 – According to a survey, 14 out of 30 provincial chief justices have had no legal training, reports the South China Morning Post.
Of the judges participating in the survey, 14 possessed no prior legal training or experience working in China’s court system prior to their appointments.
The survey participants had all been employed previously as government administrative officials moreover of the other justices, 14 had been promoted from within the judiciary and only two were Professors of Law.
Peking University professor, He Waifang, told SCMP that such judges “run the court system in the same manner as they run the Communist Party and government branches.”
He added that the main thinking was “to deliver orders and instructions that judges think best meet the needs required to ensure social stability.” He said that such a system was “fragile.”
Last March, Wang Shengjun, was appointed Chief Justice. He holds no prior law degree and graduated from a bachelors degree in history from Hefei. Chief Justice Wang has said that judges must keep in mind three guiding principles: the interests of the Communist Party, the interests of the people, and respect for the Chinese constitution when handling cases.
China has been slowly working to reform its judiciary. When the Communist Party defeated the Kuomintang or the KMT in 1949 it also took down its legal codes and installed a form of socialist law modeled after the one used in the Soviet Union.
During the Cultural Revolution, the legal system all but crumbled because it was believed to be counter-revolutionary. It was only 1980s that the country again started implementing a constitution that gave importance to the rule of law.