Chinese Judicial System
Following ongoing cases of judicial corruption with commutations to sentences, probations and cases of bribery, Chinese authorities have declared they will establish a strict anti-corruption initiative.

A former board chairman of a Chinese beverage company was able to navigate his way through the judicial system and eventually escape overseas. According to Chinese news agencies, Zhang Hai was able to illegally reduce his sentence by nine years. His release came after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzling the equivalent of $33.8 million in public funds.

There are 24 people altogether, ranging from police officers to prison and court officials, that are now under investigation for their involvement in the case highlighting judicial corruption from multiple fronts. The Commission for Political and Legal Affairs under the China Central Committee reported that criminals were able to use money and power to escape punishment in the Chinese criminal justice system.

The anti-corruption drive aims to strengthen the framework of the judicial system so there is greater accountability and transparency. In fact, a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences revealed that multiple local and regional governments were neglecting the process of publicizing information to allow for transparency in the judiciary.

Cases of corruption within the Chinese judicial system indicate a significant concern for the Chinese people. Similar to the United States judicial system, the Chinese judiciary is only able to operate with the good faith of the people. Problems arise, however, when a lack of transparency obstructs the awareness of corruption. Moreover, in-depth studies of the corruption within the Chinese judicial system indicate that acts of corruption are not rare and isolated occurrences. On the contrary, corruption is embedded within the Chinese judicial system and is even inherently produced by the mechanism of decision-making.

To account for the systemic failures of their judicial system, Chinese authorities plan to take an institutional approach to addressing the problem by amending the system. According to the Central Commission for Discipline Investigation, a total of 182,038 Chinese government officials have been punished for corruption in the last year. Considering the magnitude of the government’s shortcomings in stemming corruption, it is important that authorities begin to seriously address the ongoing problem.

– Jugal Patel

Sources: BBC, Global Times, U.S.-Asia Law Institute
Photo: New York Times