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National / Politics Email this Article  Print this Article 
China's top judge explains court procedures to SCO
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-09-22 16:21
China's Chief Justice has said that secret trials are resolutely prohibited in Chinese courts unless the law dictates a defendant should be tried behind closed doors.

Addressing the first Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Supreme Court Presidents' Conference, which was held from September 21 to 22, Chief Justice Xiao Yang stressed that a "trial for the people" is a general principle upheld by China's judicial workers. He said Chinese courts are forbidden to intimidate litigants and judges are not allowed to prolong a trial purposefully or end a trial before the whole case has been discussed.

But there are exceptions. The law states that cases involving state secrets, such as last month's trial of New York Times researcher Zhao Yan, can be conducted in secret.

Xiao said the principle of a "trial for the people" safeguards citizen's rights. "When trying criminal cases in an open court, Chinese judges focus on the protection of the defendant's human rights, adhere to the principle of 'innocent until found guilty' and acquit the defendant promptly if there is insufficient evidence, Xiao said.

"In trying civil cases, Chinese courts give equal protection to the plaintiff and defendant. In such cases, state-owned and domestic companies have no privileges, meaning there is no discrimination against foreign and private companies," Xiao said.

Source:Xinhuanet 
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