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Xinjiang to crack down on 'three evil forces'

BEIJING - China's Xinjiang will spare no efforts to prevent and crack down upon sabotage activities of the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism to ensure social stability, chairman of the regional government has said.

Xinjiang will also strengthen the management of religious affairs in accordance with relevant laws, Nur Bekri, also a deputy to the National People's Congress, said during the top legislature's annual session on Monday.

"Xinjiang will earnestly implement the policy of religious freedom and guide the religious activities to fit into the socialist society," the official said.

"We will give protection to the legal activities and stem crimes so as to create a stable environment for Xinjiang's development," he said.

Located in China's far west, Xinjiang has been battling separatism, extremism and terrorism for decades.

About 41.5 percent of Xinjiang's 21 million population are Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group. Security experts say growing religious extremism in the region has fanned most of the violent attacks.

During Xinjiang's most deadly unrest in decades, 197 people were killed and about 1,700 others injured after riots broke out in the capital city of Urumqi on July 5, 2009.

While keeping an eye on the security, Xinjiang will also speed up to build itself into a channel for China's energy and resources security and an important portal for China's opening up westward, Bekri said.

Human rights added to draft law

BEIJING - A draft amendment to the nation's criminal procedural law, which came under fire for permitting detention without informing family in some cases, has added the principle of protecting human rights to its general provisions, a spokesman said.

The draft amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law, which will be submitted for legislators' review during their annual plenary session, now includes a section on respecting and protecting human rights in the second article of its general provisions, which comprise the framework for the entire law, Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th National People's Congress, told a news conference on Sunday.

Li said the amendment aims to facilitate investigation in a timely manner, protect the innocent from being accused and ensure suspects' rights of defense and appeal.

Procedures stipulated in the bill "are aimed at ensuring people's freedom", so the draft follows the principle of protecting human rights, an important code in the Constitution, Li said.
The Criminal Procedural Law, also known as the "mini-constitution", was introduced in 1979 and last amended in 1996.

The law as it stands does not include the protection of human rights as an essential guideline, but "focuses more on cracking down on crimes and somehow has neglected procedural justice", said Chen Guangzhong, an expert on criminal procedure.

"Human rights protection is a universal principle that applies to all, including criminals. Even those who have been sentenced to death have the right to dispose of their legitimate property and their human organs," he said.

The draft bill, which was reviewed twice by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August and December, drew broad criticism for partially permitting "secret detention".In the latest version, however, the draft limits the circumstances under which police can detain suspects without informing their families, said Li.

Chen, who was involved in the drafting, explained that the latest version dropped the articles covering detention without informing family members in response to a national outcry. Other changes in the draft include outlawing forced confessions.

"Reliance on self-incrimination can lead to torture during interrogation and even forced confessions," said Tian Wenchang, director of the criminal law committee of All China Lawyers Association.

Experts said the proposal is likely to be put to a vote upon the closure of the session, as China's Legislation Law stipulates that draft laws can be submitted for a vote after three reviews.

Court delays iPad decision

SHANGHAI - The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court on Thursday rejected a request by Shenzhen Proview Technology to stop Apple from selling iPads in the city.

The court said it could not support Proview's application because no ruling has been made on whether Apple has violated Proview's exclusive right to use the iPad trademark.

A lawsuit over the right to use the trademark in China is still under the second instance trial at Guangzhou people's higher court, which is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday.

Xie Jinnan, a lawyer for Apple, said he was notified about the court's decision but is not authorized to make further comments on the case.

Proview's lawyers could not be reached.

Shu Jianxin, a Shanghai-based intellectual property attorney who has been closely following the case, said the Shanghai court is being cautious to wait for the Guangdong court's verdict.

The lawsuit in Guangdong will decide whether the trademark should be exclusively used by Shenzhen Proview Technology, while the case in Shanghai will decide whether the distributors of Apple products have the right to use it.

Shu said they are quite different lawsuits, but if the Guangdong court rules that Apple has no right to use the iPad trademark, then the Shanghai court might take the decision into consideration.

A legal expert said the Shanghai court's decision to suspend the case might be good news for Apple.

Liu Chuntian, professor of intellectual property at Renmin University of China, said Proview has to provide more evidence proving Apple had infringed on its trademark rights if it wants to win the suit.

In Shanghai's Apple flagship store, shop assistants said some customers have come to ask about the lawsuits, but they have not seen any changes on the sales of the iPad products these days.

"We sell as many iPads as usual and I don't think the lawsuits have impacted the sales of the products," said a shop assistant who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Wang Huazhong in Beijing contributed to this story.

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Chinese Leaders, Lawmakers Discuss Gov't Work Report

Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders on Monday joined lawmakers in panel discussions on the government work report, which was delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the parliament's annual session.

Hu said efforts should be focused on economic construction so as to ensure steady and relatively fast economic growth.

"We should pay more attention to coordinated and sustainable development in an all-around way, and mobilize the initiative of all people so as to form a great force to boost the country's modernization drive," Hu said when talking to deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC) from the coastal province of Jiangsu.

The Chinese President stressed the need to upgrade the industrial structure and boost the real economy as a way to transform the mode of the country's economic development.

He also underlined the importance of conserving energy, reducing emissions and promoting scientific innovation.

Transformation of the mode of development and economic restructuring are the most pressing tasks at present for the Chinese government, Wen said in the government work report.

These measures are the "key to solving the problems of imbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development" in China, said Wen.

Developed regions are at the forefront of China's reform and opening-up, and efforts should be made to push forward reform in key areas and in critical sectors, according to Hu.

The President also called for a deepened reform and opening-up in China's coastal regions and fostering new growth engines in the areas.

While joining a panel discussion with the NPC delegation from central China's Anhui province, top legislator Wu Bangguo called for efforts to promote economic growth and sustainable development by innovation and expanding domestic demands, especially the consumption demands.

Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said the deep-seated problems and conflicts that hinder economic and social development should be solved, calling for breakthroughs in some important fields.

He also called for more attention to be paid to improving people's livelihood by addressing important issues concerning their lives, especially those of disadvantaged groups.

While discussing with NPC deputies from Beijing on Monday, Jia Qinglin, China's top political advisor, said the government work report delivered by Premier Wen was a good and practical one that could inspire people.

Jia said the report emphasized making progress while maintaining stability, outlined policy priorities on improving people's living standards and promoting social fairness and justice.

Jia stressed that transforming the pattern of economic development and facilitating strategic economic restructuring is the most urgent task for the country right now and will remain so for a long period to come.

Jia urged Beijing to take more effective measures to reduce air pollution, particularly improve air quality through the monitoring and treatment of tiny floating particles the size of 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less, known as PM 2.5.

When attending the panel discussion with NPC deputies from southwest China's Sichuan province, Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, expressed appreciation for the progress made in building the area up following its devastating earthquake in 2008.

Sichuan should, based on its experience of post-quake rehabilitation programs, speed up opening-up and lead the development in west China, he said.

Li urged the province to follow the policy in the government work report to improve public cultural services.

The province should also launch campaigns to promote ethnic harmony, he added.

Monday is "Lei Feng's Day," the highlight of the campaign for learning from soldier Lei Feng, who has inspired Chinese for many generations. Lei devoted much of his spare time and money to selflessly helping the needy.

Li called on people in Sichuan to actively carry out the campaign and also promote the virtue local people had displayed in the quake rescue and relief.

At a panel discussion with the Shanghai delegation, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping portrayed Shanghai as a city that maintains an important position in China's reform and development.

The local government should fully grasp the strategically important opportunity and achieve progresses in transforming economic development pattern, deepening reform and improving people's livelihood, he said.

Xi urged Shanghai to embark on a road of scientific development and transform development while maintaining a stable and relatively fast economic growth.

Shanghai should seek development driven by innovation by pushing forward reforms in all sectors with determination and courage, and promoting the competitiveness of the city.

Dispute Rages over Trial by Weibo

A court case in Guizhou province has sparked a heated discussion over whether trial proceedings should be aired on micro blog.

Last month, a gang-related case involving 57 defendants and more than 40 lawyers began in the Xiaohe People's Court in the provincial capital Guiyang. But a dispute between lawyers and judges in the trial has caught the public's attention rather than the case itself.

During the hearing, several lawyers queried jurisdiction and procedures, causing disruption to the point where the judge in one instance ordered three lawyers from the court.

But more controversially, some lawyers in the court have been broadcasting information about the trial and their opinions of the judge through the Sina Weibo website.

He Bing, a law professor from China University of Political Science and Law, said he thought disclosing trial information through micro blog should not be seen as breaching laws but as a good way of monitoring justice.

"The case in Guiyang was open to the public, so lawyers have the right to speak their opinions," he said, adding there was no specific law banning this.

"Publishing the trial information on micro blog can encourage lawyers to uphold justice and improve a court's credibility," he said.

But other lawyers disagreed with He when he too aired his views on weibo.

Wang Yong, a lawyer specializing in criminal cases in Beijing's Chaoyang district, said that lawyers commenting live on a trial on micro blog is unreasonable, and breaches court rules.

"Everyone in the court must abide by the rules. There is no exception for lawyers," Wang said, adding that the responsibility of defendants' lawyers was to devote themselves to the case, not to disclose matters through micro blogs.

Rules state that participants in a court hearing cannot speak unless they receive the judge's permission, and Wang argues this ruling should also apply to the posting of messages on micro blogs during hearings.

"If the lawyers have different ideas about the case or the procedures, they can query them after the trial," he said.

Zhou Liwen, a prosecutor in Central China's Hunan province, posted a micro blog, which has been forwarded almost 2,000 times, saying that participants in the Guiyang trial had behaved irrationally.

"Both the judge and the lawyers lost control and didn't do what they should have done. A trial should be a sensible contest between plaintiffs and defendants, not an argument between attorneys and judges," Zhou said, suggesting that any disagreement should be dealt with before or after the trial.

Zhou thought the micro blogging during the trial might not have been illegal, but would have breached court rules.

"Micro blog, as a form of new media, should also abide by the rules. We can't extend our rights, even though there are no specific laws against doing so," he added.

Since the dispute, the Guiyang court has blocked the mobile phone signal to prevent any recurrence. The trial continues.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a top-tier Chinese law firm specializing in corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. For further information on any issue discussed in this edition of China Law Digest , or for all other enquiries, please e-mail us at or visit our website at

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