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The Credibility Crisis in China’s Courts

Oct 20 , 2014

The Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party is underway in Beijing this week with the theme of “ruling the country according to law.” The rhetoric and reform proposals that emerge are expected to focus on restoring the credibility and authority of the country’s judicial system—a problem that has been a particular focus of President Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

The Chinese public has grown increasingly cynical toward the courts, which have been plagued by wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice. The judiciary is widely perceived to be weak, inconsistent and easily manipulated by those with power and money. In hopes of addressing this credibility problem, the Fourth Plenum is expected to bring renewed affirmations of commitment to the law and proposals to strengthen important legal institutions.

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