[JURIST] The President and Chief Justice of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) [official website, in Chinese] on Sunday told the National People's Congress (NPC) [official website] that the country must continue to implement legal reform [CCTV report] to combat corruption and foster social and economic growth. In his address to the annual meeting of the NPC, Chief Justice Wang Shegjun recommended [AP report] that courts work to speed up civil cases and increase the transparency of trials. Shengjun discussed the achievements of the Chinese courts in the last year, including an increase in resolution of intellectual property cases, and a decrease in prosecutions of judges and court staff for corruption. He stressed that the courts must continue to resolve cases and eliminate corruption in order to create a "favorable legal environment."
The Chinese government has worked in recent years to reform their judicial system and combat corruption. Last May, the SPC issued a directive [JURIST report] instituting new harsher penalties under the criminal law for violations of food safety crimes. In December 2010, a former Chinese corruption official was executed for accepting more than 4.7 million USD in bribes in return for mining contracts and job promotions. In September 2010, a member of the NPC announced that the government did not consider removing the death penalty [JURIST report] as a punishment for corruption. That summer, the Chinese government executed a top judicial official [JURIST report] after it was revealed he accepted bribes and had been protecting a number of organized crime gangs. In March 2010, the Hebei Province People's High Court upheld a life sentence for former vice president of the SPC who had been convicted [JURIST reports] of bribery and embezzlement. Earlier that month, the SPC president called for increased efforts to fight corruption [JURIST report] in the country's court system. In January 2010, the SPC announced new anti-corruption rules [JURIST report] in an effort to increase public confidence in the rule of law.