[JURIST] A top Chinese official on Thursday appealed [Xinhua report] to the nation's judges, urging them to be impartial when issuing rulings. Speaking in front of a national meeting of high court presidents in the Shaanxi Province [official website,], Central Committee of the Communist Party of China [official website] official Zhou Yongkang [Xinhua profile] stressed the importance of fair and honest justice in order to build a country ruled by law. President of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) [official website] Wang Shengjun [Sina profile, in Chinese] agreed with Zhou's sentiments, contending that reform of the judiciary will contribute to social justice.
The Chinese government has recently focused attention on ridding corruption [JURIST news archive] in official channels. Last week, a Chinese Intermediate People's Court in Chongqing sentenced [JURIST report] a former deputy police chief and high-ranking judicial official to death for accepting bribes, protecting criminal gangs, rape, and being unable to justify his large amount of personal assets. In March, the Hebei Province People's High Court upheld a life sentence for former SPC vice president Huang Songyou, who had been convicted [JURIST reports] of bribery and embezzlement. Earlier that month, Wang called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in the country's court system. In January, the SPC announced new anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an effort to increase public confidence in the rule of law. In October, two Chongqing courts sentenced [JURIST report] six individuals to death for their connections with organized crime gangs.