China Daily Calls for Better Rights Protection During Strike Hard Campaigns

January 18, 2005

At a meeting of high court judges in mid-December, Supreme People’s Court President Xiao Yang reportedly instructed courts to strengthen rights protection and ensure that innocent people are not prosecuted in the course of efforts to fight crime and maintain social stability (China Court Net, 12/16). Echoing Xiao’s statement, the China Daily published an editorial on December 18 calling for stronger measures to protect human rights as law enforcers and courts launch a long-term crackdown to counter China's crime wave. While supporting the crackdown, the editorial notes that "breaches of the justice principle" have been "a regrettable part of past clamp-downs" and that the speed with which some cases were processed was "achieved at the expense of justice." Chinese and Western scholars have long expressed concern that efforts to meet crime fighting targets during "strike hard" campaigns have led to violations of procedure and wrongful convictions. The editorial represents a rare official acknowledgement of such problems.