The Law For the People
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INTRODUCTION TO THE PEOPLE'S PROCURATORATES OF
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Article 130 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China provides that the PRC establishes the Supreme People's Procuratorate, local people's procuratorates at different levels, the military procuratorates and other special people's procuratorates.
The people's procuratorates were established after the people's Republic of China was founded. The Organic Law of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China, adopted by the First Session of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference on September 27, 1949, stipulated that a Supreme Procuratorial Administration of the Central People's Government should be established, together with local people's procuratorial administrations at various levels. The first Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates, adopted by the First Session of the First National People's Congress in September 1954, both provided for the establishment of a Supreme People's Procuratorate, local procuratorates at various levels and special procuratorates. They also prescribed the functions and powers of the people's procuratorates as well as their organizational structure, the principles and procedures for their work. Later, in accordance with these documents procuratorates at all levels were gradually established.
For ten years during the "cultural revolution" that began in the mid- 1960"s, procuratorial organs were dissolved. In March 1978 the First Session of the Fifth National People's Congress decided to reestablish people's procuratorates at all levels, and in July 1979 the Second Session of the Fifth NPC promulgated a revised Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates. Since then, the procuratorates have played a crucial role in maintaining the unity and dignity of the state legal system and ensuring the smooth progress of socialist modernization.
II. Nature and Tasks
Article 129 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the people's procuratorates are state organs for legal supervision. By exercising their procuratorial authority, the people's procuratorates suppress all treason, attempts to split the country or other counterrevolutionary activities, and prosecute counterrevolutionaries and other criminals. Their purpose is to safeguard the unity of the country, the people's democratic dictatorship and the socialist legal system; to maintain public order, including order in production and other work, in education and scientific research, and in the daily life of the people; to protect the socialist property owned by the whole people and by collectives and the private property lawfully owned by individuals; to protect the citizens' rights of the person and their democratic and other rights; and to ensure the smooth progress of socialist modernization. The people's procuratorates also educate the citizens, encouraging them to be loyal to their socialist motherland, to conscientiously observe the Constitution and the laws and to combat illegal activities.
III. Functions and Powers
The people's procuratorates exercise the following functions and powers:
- investigate cases involving graft, infringement of citizens' democratic rights, dereliction of duty and other cases which they deem necessary to handle directly, and decide whether to arrest the offenders and initiate public prosecution;
- review cases investigated by the public security organs and state security agencies and decide whether to approve arrest and whether to prosecute; supervise the investigation activities of public security organs and state security agencies to determine whether they conform to the law;
- initiate and support public prosecutions of criminal cases; supervise the criminal trials of the people's courts to determine whether they conform to the law;
- supervise the verdicts and sentences of the people's courts in criminal cases to determine whether they conform to the law; in cases where they find definite errors, lodge protests in accordance with the procedure for appeal; supervise the execution of sentences in criminal cases and the activities of prisons, houses of detention and institutions in charge of reform or rehabilitation through labor to determine whether they conform to the law;
-exercise legal supervision over trials of civil suits by the people's courts;
- exercise legal supervision over administrative litigation and;
- protect citizens' legal right to lodge complaints or petitions against state functionaries who violate the law; investigate the legal responsibility of those who infringe upon other citizens' rights of the person or their democratic or other rights; deal with the citizens' accusations, reports of wrongdoing and petitions.
VI. Principles of Operation
In exercising their supervisory functions and their procuratorial authority, the people's procuratorates are expected to adhere to the following principles, as provided by the law;
-The principle of applying the law
equally to all.
All citizens of the People's Republic of China are equal before the law, and all citizens must perform their duties, while enjoying their rights as provided by the Constitution and the laws. In the exercise of procuratorial authority by the people's procuratorates, the laws are to be applied equally to all citizens and no privileges are allowed.
-The principle of basing
judgments on facts and law.
In dealing with cases the people's procuratorates must always make careful investigations, study the evidence and seek truth form facts. They are to lay stress on material evidence rather than readily giving credence to oral statements, and to strictly forbid security personnel to coerce confessions. They must observe and enforce the law to the letter and investigate thoroughly the responsibility of anyone who violates it. The functionaries of the people's procuratorates at all levels are expected to pay great attention to facts and to the law, to be faithful to the socialist cause and to serve the people wholeheartedly.
- The principle of relying on
China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship, and the people are masters of the country. All state organs and their functionaries must rely on the support of the people and maintain close ties with them. The people's procuratorates must follow the mass line in their work, heed the opinions of the masses and subject themselves to their supervision. They are expected to enforce the law impartially, to be upright and never to stoop to flattery.
- The principle of sharing
The people's procuratorate maintain a division of labor with the people's courts and the public security organs, each having separate responsibilities. To guarantee the accurate and effective enforcement of the law, they coordinate their work, and each acts as a check upon the other.
V. Organizational Structure
The Supreme People's Procuratorate
The Supreme People's Procuratorate is the highest procuratorial organ of the state. It's main functions and powers are as follows:
- exercise procuratorial authority in major criminal cases that have an impact on the entire country;
- lodge a protest, in accordance with the procedures for judicial supervision, if some definite error is found in a legally effective verdict or sentence by a people's court at any level;
- supervise the activities of prisons, houses of detention and institutions in charge of reform through labor;
- supervise trial of civil suits and administrative litigation;
- interpret laws applied to procuratorial practice;
- formulate regulations, provisions and rules for procuratorial practice;
- determine the organizational structure and staff size of the people's procuratorates at all levels.
The Supreme People's Procuratorate consists of the following departments:
Criminal Procuratorial Department:
- exercise procuratorial authority directly in major criminal cases having nationwide impact;
- study laws and policies relating to major criminal justices; analyze different types of crimes, their incidence, the reasons for them and ways to combat them; help local criminal procuratorial departments coordinate their efforts to improve public security.
Procuratorial Department for Embezzlement and Bribery:
- investigate or participate in the investigation of major cases of embezzlement or bribery accepted by it or by its local branches;
- analyze the nature of economic crimes and the means employed in them, predict their future incidence;
- research measures to investigate and prevent them;
- draw up rules to govern investigative and preventive work;
- organize the investigation of major cases having an impact on the country as a whole;
- guide the investigation of complex cases by the lower-level procuratorates.
Procuratorial Department for Dereliction of Duty and Infringement of Citizens' Rights:
- participate in or coordinate the investigation of major cases of dereliction of duty or infringement of rights;
- study laws and policies relating to major dereliction of duty and infringement of citizens' rights and draw up relevant rules and regulations.
Procuratorial Department for Railways:
- participate in the investigation of major and complex cases handled by the lower-level procuratorates;
- analyze crime on the railroads and decide how laws and policies should be applied.
Procuratorial Department for Prisons and Reformatories:
-provide guidance to local people's procuratorates in handling crimes committed by convicts in prisons and illegal acts or crimes committed by administrators and guards;
-handle appealed and protested cases under its jurisdiction and petitions lodged by prisoners themselves who do not agree with the rejection of their appeals after reexamination by provincial high people's courts or people's procuratorates and the verdicts of whose cases may still be wrong;
-study how laws and policies should be applied in local procuratorial departments for prisons and reformatories and draw up detailed rules and regulations.
Procuratorial Department for Civil and Administrative Cases:
-coordinate their handling of major civil and administrative cases;
-study laws and policies relating to their work and draw up detailed rules and regulations.
Procuratorial Department for Accusations and Petitions:
-handle citizens' petitions against legally effective criminal verdicts and sentences of the people's courts and against decisions of the people's procuratorates; review the petitions under its jurisdiction, and redress any injustices;
-study accusations, petitions and reports of wrongdoing; direct the work of local procuratorial departments for accusations, petitions and reports of wrongdoing; draw up detailed rules and regulations for their work.
Local People's Procuratorates
-branches of the above, and people's procuratorates of autonomous prefectures and cities directly under the provincial governments; and
-people's procuratorates of counties, cities, autonomous counties and municipal districts.
If their work requires it, people's procuratorates at provincial or county level, with the approval of the standing committee of the people's congress at the corresponding level, may set up branches in industrial and mining areas, agricultural reclamation areas, forest zones, etc.
Special People's Procuratorates
There are two types of special people's procuratorates
The military procuratorates are special organs for legal supervision in the Chinese People's Liberation Army. They exercise procuratorial authority in cases of dereliction of duty and other criminal offenses committed by active servicemen.
Railway procuratorates include branches in all regional railway bureaus and sub-bureaus.
The Procuratorial Committee
Each people's procuratorate has a procuratorial committee. The committee is expected to institute the system of democratic centralism and, under the direction of the chief procurator, to discuss and decide important cases and other major issues, on the principle of the minority being subordinate to the majority. If the chief procurator disagrees with the majority's decision on an important matter, it is referred to the standing committee of the people's congress at the corresponding level for final decision.
Each people's procuratorate is composed of the following: chief procurator, deputy chief procurators, members of the procuratorial committee, procurators, assistant procurators, clerks, judicial police and administrative support personnel.
The Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate is elected and removed by the National People's Congress, in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates.
The Deputy Procurators-General, members of the procuratorial committee and procurators of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, as well as the Chief Procurator of the Military Procuratorate, are appointed and removed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress upon the recommendation of the Procurator-General.
The chief procurators of local people's procuratorates at and above the county level are elected and removed by the people's congresses at the corresponding levels. An election or a removal must be reported to the chief procurator at the next higher level, who submits it for the approval of the standing committee of the people's congress at the same level.
The deputy chef procurators, members of the procuratorial committee and procurators of local people's procuratorates are appointed and removed by the standing committees of the people's congresses at the corresponding levels upon the recommendation of the chief procurators.
The term of office of local chief procurators is the same as that of the people's congresses at the corresponding levels. The term of office of the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate is the same as that of the National People's Congress, and the Procurator-General serves no more than two consecutive terms.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and the standing committees of the people's congresses of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government may, upon proposals put forward by the Procurator-General or by the chief procurators at the corresponding levels, replace the chief procurators, deputy chief procurators and members of the procuratorial committees of people's procuratorates at lower levels.
The assistant procurators and clerks of all people's procuratorates are appointed and removed by chief procurators at the corresponding levels. With the approval of chief procurators, the assistant procurators can act as procurators.
The Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate is: Han Zhubin (from March 1998)
Supreme People's Procuratorate,
People's Republic of China:
147 Bei He Yan Street
Beijing, P.R. China
Telephone: 0086-10 6512 5902 or 0086 10 6524 1850
(This Introduction based on the materials proviced by the General Office of the Supreme People's Procuratorate of the People's Republic of China.) Newly updated in April 1998
(The English translations are for reference only)
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