A vivid illustration of how many Chinese legal professionals increasingly resent the Communist Party’s grip over the courts was given late last month at a law conference in Beijing.
During the conference, held on Nov. 27, a speaker mentioned that the Chief Judge of China’s People’s Supreme Court Wang Shengjun had contracted pancreatic cancer—and the lawyers in attendance responded with a round of applause.
The lawyers had gathered to discuss an unresolved murder case, which involved a homicide that happened 10 years ago. Chen Ruiwu, the wrongly identified suspect, gave details of his ordeal. He explained how, during interrogations, police extorted confession by applying excruciating torture. Chen was sentenced to death, but through legal efforts was saved from that fate and released as innocent on Nov. 4.
The unusual response to Wang’s alleged cancer was documented by Liang Xiaojun, a lawyer, on his microblog on the same day. It was soon widely cited, and applauded.
Wang has earned the title of “Chief Illiterate of Jurisprudence” in China’s legal circles, because he was appointed as a political taskmaster, meant to lay down the Communist Party’s line rather than adjudicate based on legal principles. Wang, in fact, has no legal training.
Beijing University Law Professor He Weifang lamented: “This is a person who knows nothing about the law. It’s a tragedy for China’s legal system to let such a person in charge of the judiciary. It makes the legal community uneasy when all Wang does is engage in politics rather than upholding the law. “
The Supreme Court has in recent years issued numerous notices prohibiting courts at all levels to accept sensitive cases, such as forced demolition disputes, compensation claims for victims of poisoned milk powder, and for the victims of the “tofu” construction projects that collapsed and killed children in the Sichuan earthquake.
Read the original Chinese article.