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Rule of Law
Cover Stories Series 2012> Rule of Law
UPDATED: March 20, 2012 NO. 12 MARCH 22, 2012
Highlights of the Amendment

Safeguarding human rights: The amendment includes respecting and safeguarding human rights into Article 2 of the Criminal Procedure Law. It is a significant step in carrying through the principles of the Constitution and moving toward giving priority to safeguarding human rights.

Prohibiting self-incrimination: No one shall be forced to testify against himself/herself. It is the judicial department's duty to prove whether a person is guilty, instead of coercing a confession out of the suspect.

Restricting torture for testimony: Illegally obtained evidence shall be excluded from legal proceedings. This will restrict illegally obtained evidence and extorted testimony in China.

Prohibiting "secret arrest": Improvement shall be made in the conditions for arrest and the procedure for the people's procuratorate to examine and approve arrests, and standards shall be set for notifying family members of a relative's arrest.

Rights of lawyers: The rights of lawyers in meeting with suspects, referring to records and entering the criminal procedure during the investigation period shall be safeguarded. It makes clear that criminal suspects can entrust defendants during the investigation period.

Limiting power: The amendment limits the power of the police and procuratorate, improves stipulations on interrogating suspects and the accused, and enhances supervision over investigation activities.

Reviewing and approval of death penalty: The amendment strengthens provisions on public trial, clarifies the scope of public trial during the second instance and provides more detailed provisions on the reviewing and approval procedure of death penalty.

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