China courts uphold presumption of innocence

China courts uphold presumption of innocence

The courts in China issued a statement [text] Monday reiterating their dedication to human rights through the reformation of their criminal laws by upholding the presumption of innocence and the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. This reformation comes as the UN has repeatedly criticized the country for the secrecy surrounding the judicial system and the manner in which prisoners are treated, especially political prisoners who may face particularly harsh prosecutions. The Chinese government has consistently rejected criticism [Reuters report] of its human rights record.

In July Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] Chinese authorities to “end their ruthless assault against human rights lawyers and activists.” In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. Chinese state media recently criticized detained human rights lawyers for undermining the rule of law. In January Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] high profile human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband on charges of political subversion. Also in January Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Chinese government to overturn a verdict sentencing three human rights activists in the Guangdong province to up to five years in prison. In December Chinese authorities released [JURIST report] prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang after receiving a suspended sentence for “causing a disturbance” after he attended a weekend meeting that urged an investigation into the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.