Willy Lam: The CCP Strengthens Control over the Judiciary

From China Brief, via Global Terrorism Analysis:

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s administration has boosted the Chinese Communist Party’s () control over the judiciary, a move designed to enhance Beijing’s ability to maintain stability and to crack down on dissent. More powers have been given to the party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (CPLAC), which has control over the police, the prosecutor’s offices and the courts. Hu, also party general secretary, has given new orders that zhengfa (“political and legal”) departments—which handle law enforcement and judicial matters—must observe the so-called “three top priorities,” meaning the latter must give “utmost priority to the party’s enterprise, the people’s interests, and the Constitution and the law” (Xinhua News Agency, June 23).

That the party’s goals and concerns override everything else was made clear in a national meeting of judicial and security officials called late last month by the CPLAC, which is headed by conservative Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) member . A former minister of public security, Zhou told the nation’s senior judges, prosecutors, police officers and other zhengfa cadres to “perpetually uphold the political orientation of being loyal to the party, loyal to the country and the people, and loyalty to the law” (Xinhua News Agency, June 20; China Police Daily [Beijing], June 21). Speaking for the nation’s 180,000 judges, the newly promoted President of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) Wang Shengjun indicated at the same conference that “only by upholding the ‘three priorities’ from beginning to end can the work of the people’s courts go along the correct political path.” In what amounts to a drastic politicization of the judiciary, court officials were told to rally behind the leadership of the “party central authorities with comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary.” “We must unify our consciousness, thoughts and action regarding what kind of flag the courts will hoist and what kind of road they will take … in order to ensure the correct political direction of the people’s courts,” Wang added (Xinhua News Agency, June 23).

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