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Nation's legal aid system offers lessons
November 24,2021   By:CHINA DAILY
Nov. 24, 2021 -- China's practices of ensuring that people can have equal access to justice and supervise administrative powers in accordance with the law are valuable lessons for other countries, two Chinese human rights experts said.
 
Since 2003, China has established a nationwide legal aid system to ensure everyone can get access to justice, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability or income level, said Dai Ruijun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Law.
 
"It is worth noting that victims of abuse, abandonment or domestic violence in China can apply for legal aid, not subject to the requirement of economic hardship," she said during the third session of the United Nations' Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.
 
The forum, focusing on equal access to justice for all, was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 
Dai shared the case of a woman in Sichuan province who had been suffering from long-term domestic violence and accidentally killed her husband when she stood up to him after being beaten again in 2019.
 
The women had free legal aid throughout the proceedings, which helped her get a fair trial. She was initially convicted of intentional injury and sentenced to three years' imprisonment, but a second trial found that her behavior constituted excessive defense and sentenced her to probation, Dai said.
 
"A new Chinese law on legal aid will take effect in 2022," she added. "It is foreseeable that legal aid will help even more people truly get access to justice."
 
Meanwhile, China's administrative litigation system has allowed the public to supervise whether the administration's actions are carried out in accordance with law. It has also protected the human rights of the public, Wang Liwan, an associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law's Institute for Human Rights, said at the forum.
 
"The system has become an important part of China's judicial protection of human rights," Wang said. "It has been continuously conveying fairness and justice to the people. Also, it has been serving as an institutional platform for effective interaction between governments and citizens."
 
Dai and Wang both said China has been making further efforts to enforce judicial protection of human rights, setting a good example for other countries.
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