The Criminal Procedure Law Amendment of China
was passed in the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's
Congress of the country that concluded in Beijing on March 14. This
is another big step forward in the country's democratic
construction. "To respect and protect human rights" is written into
the Criminal Procedure Law Amendment. It is the first time that
China has written into a code "to respect and protect human rights"
outside the Constitution.
China's Criminal Procedure Law was promulgated
in 1979 and was amended once in 1996. Over the past 16 years, as
the Chinese economy and society developed rapidly, new situations
have emerged in regard to criminal offenses. As the country
undergoes democratic reform and progresses in adopting a rule of
law while enhancing the public's awareness of the rule of law,
people impose higher demands on maintaining judicial fairness and
protecting human rights.
The goal of the amendment is to ensure the
principle of punishing crimes while protecting human rights is
fully implemented in the execution of laws. Almost half the clauses
in the current Criminal Procedure Law have been amended, with
another 66 new clauses being added. The amendments aim to balance
between cracking down on crime and protecting human rights.
According to the amendment, the principle of protecting human
rights will be further strengthened through the law enforcement
process, including taking compulsory measures, evidence
confirmation and trial procedures.
The amendment fully reflects the people's
will. It pays more attention to the balance between punishment and
human rights protection, fairness and equality, legal effect and
social effect. It embodies the concept of rule of law in legal
It has been only a few dozen years since China
began to construct democracy and the legal system, while developed
countries have already spent hundreds of years developing their
legal systems. In this sense, China is still at the early stage on
the road of legal construction. It must take into full account of
its national condition, and refrain from copying other countries'
experience. The development of democracy and legal construction
should be done step by step in the process of continuous learning
Therefore, applause should be given to China's
progress in democratic and legal construction as well as human
rights protection. We expect to see further improvement of this