On the Protection of the Right of Language Parity in Court Trial: Taking as an Example the Training of Chinese-Tibetan Bilingual Judges in Ethnic Area of China’s Gansu Province
September 28,2016 By:chinahumanrights.org
Zhao Shuwen (photo: Zhao Yifan)
Associate Professor of Northwest Normal University
Abstract: China’s Gansu Province is a multi-ethnic province. Tibetan people living in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of the province, due to lack of bilingual judges fluent in both Chinese and Tibetan, are unable to use Tibetan to engage in direct and convenient communication with Chinese counter-parties in civil and criminal cases, and therefore have to communicate through translators fluent in both Chinese and Tibetan languages, which has in fact impeded Tibetan parties’ exercise of their constitutional right of using their native languages in legal proceedings. Second, although Tibetan litigants communication with the court through translators is intended to ensure their language right, it is a direct and incomplete guarantee. Third, there still exists no small gap between Chinese and Tibetan parties in court trial with regard to equal exercise of language right. Under such circumstances, to realize equal language right in court trial, only by training bilingual judges fluent in both Chinese and Tibetan languagescan we thoroughly eliminate the disparity in language right in court trial. The issue of equal language right to a large extent reflects the equality of legal rights and human rights among ethnic minorities in China. Under the support of Supreme People’s Court and State Ethnic Affairs Commission, great achievements have been made by Gansu Province in training bilingual judges fluent in both Chinese and Tibetan, a great step forward for equal enjoyment of language right by Tibetan parties in court trial. However, it is a systematic undertaking to solve the issue of bilingual judges, and in reality, there are a series of challenges demanding to be overcome in completely resolving the problem of bilingual judges in ethnic minority areas of Gansu Province.
Key Words: Language Right; Human Rights; Bilingual Judges
Zhao Shuwen, Northwest Normal University.