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Judicial System Posted: 2002-05-14 11:40:46

Introduction to the People's Procuratorates of the PRC

    

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.

¢ñ. 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.

¢ò. Functions and Powers

The people's procuratorates exercise the following functions and powers:

- exercise procuratorial authority in cases of treason, of attempts to split the country and of other major crimes that violate state policies, laws, decrees and administrative orders;

- 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.

¢ó. Organizational Structure

(i)The Supreme People's Procuratorate (See ¡°The Supreme People¡¯s Procuratorate¡±)

(ii)Local People's Procuratorates

These include:

-people's procuratorates of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

-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.

(iii)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.

(iv)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.

(English translations are for reference only)