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|Monday, April 09, 2001, updated at 10:48(GMT+8)|
China Offers More Judicial Assistance to CitizensChina has made considerable progress in building a judicial guarantee for human rights through perfecting legislation, ensuring an impartial judicature and strictly enforcing the law, says a white paper issued Monday by the Information Office of the State Council.
The white paper, entitled "Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2000", says that according to a set of regulations formulated by the Supreme People's Court, litigants in financial difficulty could have their payment of litigation costs postponed, reduced or remitted.
The regulations, namely the Regulations on Providing Judicial Assistance for Litigants Actually in Financial Difficulty, was mapped out in July, 2000, in an effort to guarantee that poor people can still exercise their litigation rights according to law.
According to the regulations, beneficiary can be litigants who are in financial difficulty, especially the elderly, women, juveniles, the disabled and laid-off workers pressing for the payment of alimony, the costs of maintenance and upbringing, pensions, or for payment of medical costs and acquisition of material compensations for victims of traffic accidents or injury at work, and faulty medical treatment.
In 2000, courts across the country made decisions on such costs in more than 190,000 cases.
The white paper says that the lawyer system and the system of legal assistance have been constantly improved, and are playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding rights of the citizens and promoting impartial justice.
There are currently over 9,500 lawyers' offices and some 110, 000 lawyers in China. By the end of 2000, China has established 1, 853 legal assistance organs at various levels, with 6,109 full- time employees.
More than 170,000 cases of legal assistance were handled last year in China, with over 228,000 people receiving aid and 830,000 people getting consultancy on law-related questions.
Chinese lawyers have participated in the defense of over 310, 000 criminal cases and provided legal assistance for criminal suspects at the criminal procedure and investigation stage in more than 170,000 cases.
The white paper says that China protects the legitimate rights and interests of the poor, weak, the disabled and other litigants.
Statistics show that China had approved 92 foreign and 28 Hong Kong law firms to set up offices in the interior areas of China by July 2000.
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