Shen Deyong, First Class Justice. He is currently a member of the 19th Central Committee, director of the 13th CPPCC Social and Legal Committee and former standing vice president of the Supreme Peoples Court. Special Professor of Lecture, China University of Political Science and Law.
Persons under the Rule of Law in 2018
Shen Deyong: Justices Open Course on the Rule of Law
Journalist / Cai Rupeng
This article was first published in the 882 issue of China Newsweek.
Reasons for winning the prize
Whether as the Standing Vice President of the Supreme Peoples Court or as the Director of the CPPCC Social and Legal Committee, he shows the spirit of the rule of Law rooted in China and in line with the world.
He practices the spirit of rule of law with extraordinary commitment, courage and professionalism, and is committed to making this rational force visible to the public.
He is not only a practitioner of the rule of law in China, but also a preacher of the rule of law in China.
On June 22 this year, Shen Deyong was an important turning point in his life.
On that day, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress passed a list of appointments and removals, and removed him from the post of Vice-President of the Supreme Peoples Court, member of the Judicial Committee and judge. His resignation request was granted. This also means that the judicial career of the former Vice-President and Standing Vice-President of the Supreme Peoples Court has come to an end for more than 30 years.
Shen Deyong wrote in his farewell letter to colleagues of the Supreme Peoples Court that day that he had been transferred to work in the Supreme Court since the end of 1998. Qu index has quietly passed for 20 years. Even if the time spent working in Shanghai from November 2006 to April 2008 was removed, 18 years of spring and autumn were spent with everyone under this roof. Eighteen years of bitterness and sweetness, eighteen years of joy and sorrow, eighteen years of success or failure, from now on, will enter the history forever.
Shen Deyong, a 64-year-old cadre at the ministerial level, left his post about a year earlier than normal. In this regard, his explanation is that it is difficult to serve two terms at the same time, and the leadership of the Supreme Court is in the transition between the old and the new, at this time to request resignation, perhaps at the right time. In March this year, Shen Deyong just served as the chairman of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC and the Committee on Social and Legal System.
In an interview with China News Weekly, Shen Deyong said that he has served as the Standing Vice-President of the Supreme Peoples Court for more than 10 years. He is not a power-hungry man. He hopes his resignation will help the leadership of the Supreme Peoples Court to be younger, help young cadres grow up and help the cause develop.
In his departure letter, he wrote: At this moment, to say that there is no loss at all is obviously a self-deceiving statement. After all, it is not only a conscious but also a helpless choice to quit without rewarding ones ambition. It is also false to say that there is no regret at all, although in the past few years, we have followed theThree Lilegacy of Zuozhuan, based on it. The principle of position, seeking political responsibility, saying what should be said and doing what should be done, but compared with their own ideals and expectations, there is still a big gap, far from satisfactory; to say that there is no nostalgia, that is not true. Whose time has been thrown away for a long time?
In the courtyard of No. 27 Dongjiao Min Lane in Beijing, for 20 years or so, I have always been consistent and conscientious. I have truly done myself once. I have truly felt the feeling of tiredness and happiness. I have truly touched the relationship between work and career, the distance between ideal and reality, the similarities and differences between temples and rivers and lakes. To be honest, this process is very painful, but I enjoy it very much.
What Shen Deyong did not expect was that the original intention of this letter was only to send a farewell letter to his colleagues. It soon spread to the legal circles and attracted the attention of all circles of society. It was widely disseminated on the Internet that night, and the amount of reading quickly reached 100,000 +.
Many netizens forwarded this article, praised him and saluted him. Some netizens left a message saying that in this short farewell book, I read the sincere words of a scholarly and elegant elder, past sweetness and bitterness, joy and sorrow, success and failure, loss, regret and nostalgia at parting, optimism in looking forward to the spring breeze, and deep understanding of the road to the rule of law and judicial modernization in China.
As for the departure letter, Shen Deyong said that his original intention was very simple, that is, to say a few words with colleagues at the time of departure, and to say something about his inner feelings. Communists are both principled and emotional, which is a principle I have always adhered to.
Some commentators said that it was his heartfelt words that made the public feel the image of a flesh-and-blood justice. The Lord Chancellor is the leader and model of the whole group of judges. In the eyes of the public, a bright and trustworthy image of the Lord Chancellor will undoubtedly greatly enhance the trust in justice.
But its not easy to be a good judge. Shen Deyong confessed in his departure letter: I have been in this position for 18 years, especially in the position of Executive Vice President for a record 10 years and 2 months, which is a difficult and risky position... In the past 18 years, there have been many difficult moments, unspeakable concealments and dilemmas.
Shen Deyong told China News Weekly that the reason why he used the word perseverance was that the Standing Vice President of the Supreme Peoples Court did not work well, but he did it for ten years. Its not a matter of relaxation, it still needs some perseverance.
As the supreme judicial organ of the state, the Supreme Peoples Court should not only supervise and guide the trial work of local courts and special courts at all levels, but also hear appeals, protests, applications for retrial and appeals against judgments and rulings of high peoples courts and special peoples courts, especially after the Supreme Peoples Court formally withdraws power of approval of death penalty cases on January 1, 2007. It is up to it to make final judgments in major cases of life and death.
In Shen Deyongs view, the Standing Vice President plays a connecting role in the Supreme Peoples Court. He should not only coordinate all parties to do a good job, but also urge the implementation.
During his tenure, a large number of provincial, ministerial and even higher-level cadres were brought to trial at a time when the central government was making great efforts to combat corruption. Whether Bo Xilai, who fell before the 18th National Congress, or Zhou Yongkang, Ling Plan and Su Rong, who were inspected after the 18th National Congress, Shen Deyong, who was a justice at the trial of the case, was sitting at the front line of the town and directing himself.
At the beginning of 2017, Yuhuan intentional injury case occurred in Guanxian County, Shandong Province. The first trial was sentenced to life imprisonment in Huanhuan. The news of a murderer who humiliated his mother was convicted spread all over the Internet, triggering phenomenal public opinion in a short time, and the trial court was placed at the forefront of public opinion. In early April, Shen Deyong went to Shandong to coordinate the handling of the case.
He pointed out that under the new media environment, the judicial organs should listen to the publics opinions more actively, seriously respond to the concerns of the people, show the rationality of the judiciary with rigorous legal principles, show the conscience of the judiciary with sophisticated reasoning, reflect the temperature of the judiciary with a peaceful attitude, strive to form a benign interaction between public opinion and the judiciary, maximize consensus and let the people follow. Inner recognition and support of judicial decisions made in accordance with the law.
He emphasized that the trial of individual cases should be placed in the comprehensive consideration of natural reason, national law and human feelings. First, we should pursue legal justice to the maximum extent, and at the same time, we should take into account the general justice of society. Judicial trial should not go against humans normal conditions, and strive to achieve the organic combination of legal reason. These words were widely disseminated for a time.
The second instance of the case was eventually overdefended and sentenced to five yearsimprisonment. Later, Shen Deyong published How Should We Apply the System of Justifiable Defense in a case statement, making a sensitive case a lively public lesson on the rule of law.
As the most powerful group in Chinas judicial system, the justices are also a high-risk group. All kinds of criminal forces regard them as the target of hunting. During Shen Deyongs tenure as a standing vice-president, Huang Songyou and Xi Xiaoming, two Vice-Presidents of the Supreme Peoples Court, were investigated for corruption.
Now, Shen Deyong can finally leave the position he has been holding for many years. In his farewell book, he wrote: Now I can finally put down, relax and free, from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom, and still healthy, light-footed and clear-headed, is it not fortunate? At the moment of farewell to the past, I will usher in a new time in my life when I can sit and watch the clouds rise, laugh at the spring breeze, and the willows are dark and bright! uuuuuuuu
Despite yearning for a new life of sitting and watching the clouds rise, laughing and greeting the spring breeze, Shen Deyong is still proud of the Lord Chancellor. In an interview with China News Weekly, he said that his life and the historical process of the countrys contemporary democracy and legal system construction are entirely in line. The original intention has not changed for more than 30 years, and there has been no regret in this life.
The origin of this original intention goes back to 1980. That year, Shen Deyong, 26, was admitted to Beijing University of Political Science and Law (now China University of Political Science and Law) as a graduate student in criminal procedure law.
Before that, Shen Deyong had been a teacher in the Foreign Language Department of Jiangxi Normal University (now Jiangxi Normal University). Years later, recalling the choice of that year, he thought that it was not only an awakening of self-consciousness, a grasp of life opportunities, but also a helpless choice in predicament.
In 1974, Shen Deyong entered the University as a cadet of workers, peasants and soldiers, and stayed at the university to teach. The restoration of the college entrance examination system in 1977 made these people feel invisible pressure in the university. The only way to change this situation is to continue to study.
At that time, young Shen Deyong knew little about legal expertise, but he subconsciously believed that the law would be of great use and that the rule of law would be the choice of China in the future. He had just seen from the report on the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee that the country would strengthen democracy and legal system construction.
In this way, Shen Deyong opened the door of Beijing University of Political Science and Law through self-study and became a legal person.
After graduation, Shen Deyong first worked in the political and legal committees of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the CPC; then he was transferred to the Jiangxi Provincial Higher Peoples Court as the President of the First Criminal Court until he was promoted to vice-president in early 1993. Four years later, his work was changed again, and he was transferred to Jiangxi Discipline Commission as deputy secretary.
In 1998, Shen Deyong was appointed a member of the Party Group of the Supreme Peoples Court by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China because of his ability and outstanding performance. In December of the same year, Shen Deyong was appointed Vice President by the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress. This year, he was only 44 years old and was the youngest vice president in the history of the Supreme Peoples Court.
It is worth mentioning that in 2001, Shen Deyong was awarded the second-level justice, becoming one of the first Chief Justices in China. Today, he is also the last of those justices to leave their posts. His departure also became the final curtain call for the first batch of Chinese justices.
Although in life and work has always been low-key and pragmatic, as a justice, Shen Deyong is indispensable both in front of the stage and behind the scenes at the key points of the construction of the rule of law and in the trial of important cases, and he has become the focus of public opinion many times.
In 2006, Shen Deyong landed in Shanghai as secretary of the Municipal Disciplinary Commission and head of the leading group of the project work, responsible for investigating and dealing with the case. The move also brought him into public view for the first time.
After many years, many Shanghai residents still remember Shen Deyongs acclaimed reply to the questions from many Chinese and foreign media on the opening day of the Shanghai delegation to the 17th CPC National Congress in October 2007: No matter how serious the Shanghai Social Security Fund case is, it is just a few dark clouds that occasionally float over, which will not affect the sunny sky in Shanghai!
The investigation and disposal of the Shanghai social security fund case finally completed smoothly, fulfilling the requirements of thorough investigation of the case, recovery of economic losses, maintenance of social stability and promotion of economic development put forward by the central government. When leaving office in 2008, the main leaders of the Shanghai Municipal Committee once said to Shen Deyong profoundly that there were no problems, no repetitions and no sequelae in investigating and dealing with the case of social security funds. It was very difficult to do so.
Before and after the investigation of the Shanghai social security fund case, the phenomenon of turning over pancakes appeared on many occasions in other projects - because the persons involved had to retrial their confessions in court, they were forced to retrial.
After working in Shanghai in 2006, at the first meeting of the Leading Group on Social Security Funds Project, Shen Deyong put forward the request of investigating the project by judicial standards. His work concept and requirements were unanimously approved by the participants.
He said, Judiciary is based on the principles of independence, impartiality and evidence adjudication, and the criteria of fact determination and evidence admission are the most standardized and stringent. To investigate and handle special cases according to judicial standards can prevent the phenomenon of turning over pancakes in the handling of cases most effectively.
Since then, in the process of investigating and handling cases, Shen Deyong has repeatedly pointed out that investigating and handling cases should focus on the organic unity of legal, political and social effects, but legal effects are always the first. Without good legal effects, there can be no good political and social effects. This relationship can not be reversed.
Finally, more than 30 people involved in the Shanghai social security fund case pleaded guilty at first instance, without any appeal. Shen Deyong has also been remembered by many people for his participation in a major case that attracted worldwide attention.
But it was an article he published five years later that let more people know about him.
The Peoples Court Newspaper, published on May 6, 2013, published an article entitled How should we guard against unjust and false cases (hereinafter referred to as Prevention). The author is Justice Shen Deyong.
The article writes: For a period of time, the successive cases of criminal injustice, falsehood and wrongdoing have brought unprecedented challenges to the peoples courts. If not properly handled, it will seriously restrict the development of criminal trial work, and it is time to make up our minds. It is not only the duty of our criminal judicial departments and judges, but also the final judgment nature of the judicial trial to firmly hold the bottom line of preventing unjust, false and wrong cases.
More than a month before the publication of Prevention, the Zhejiang Provincial Higher Peoples Court just retried a case of rape and murder ten years ago and acquitted the defendants, Zhang Hui and Zhang Gaopings nephews. After the unjust case was disclosed by the media, it aroused strong repercussions in society, pointing directly at the judicial system leading to tragedy.
As the Standing Vice President of the Supreme Peoples Court, Shen Deyongs public statement at that time, in many peoples eyes, was undoubtedly causing fire. In the first two days, the fact seems to be the same. The angry netizens will turn their anger on the case to the Lord Chancellor, and the focus of the criticism is the merits and demerits mentioned in the article Prevention.
Shen Deyong wrote in his article: The reality is that the court of appeal is faced with some cases with unclear facts, insufficient evidence, reasonable doubts and inner uncertainty, especially in cases with illegal evidence, the courts often face enormous pressure on the issues of release or release, judgment or non-judgment, light judgment and heavy judgment.
It should be said that some of the cases we see now, including the murder case of Zhao Zuohai in Henan Province and the rape case of Zhangs uncle and nephew in Zhejiang Province, the trial court made meritorious achievements at that time, or at least it could be said that the merits outweighed the demerits, otherwise the head would have fallen to the ground. Facing the interference and pressure from all sides, it is not easy for the court to insist on making a leeway judgment in such cases.
At the same time, we should also be aware that although the courts have been successful in preventing miscarriage of justice, objectively speaking, there have been miscarriages of justice. After all, this kind of judgment leaving room not only seriously violates the principle of legality of crime and criminal law, procedural justice, but also can not stand the test of facts and laws, and ultimately makes the courts fall into a very passive position. Once a case of injustice, falsehood and wrongdoing is settled, the court is almost faced with what thousands of people refer to. At this time, any explanation and explanation are powerless and helpless.
Critics argue that this is to shirk responsibility for the court, and some even shouted the slogan Let Shen Deyong step down. What is more serious is that after the 18th National Congress of the CPC, senior leaders in the field of politics and law first publicly put forward corrections to wrongs and falsehoods in the media. Whether this practice and the viewpoints in it can be recognized by senior officials or not, colleagues around Shen Deyong made a sweat for him, fearing that he might have stabbed a big Lou.
For example, Shen Deyongs viewpoint that it is better to misplace than judge in his article Prevention has aroused great controversy in society. Such disputes even spread to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
In September 2013, four months after the publication of the article Prevention, Shen Deyong led a delegation of the Mainland Court to attend the second high-level judicial Forum on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and Hong Kong and Macao. During the meeting, Justice Su Yongqin, then Vice President of Taiwans judicial authority, told him that the article also caused a great shock in Taiwans public opinion and had different opinions.
Out of curiosity, a friend of Su Yongqins who works in the Academy of Central Research conducted a public opinion survey. The question is: do you think the court is right to misplace or not misjudge? As a result, the two choices are quite the same, and no one can convince anyone.
For such a situation, Shen Deyong, who has been infiltrating the judicial system for many years, is psychologically prepared. He told China News Weekly that he knew that publishing such a signed article was somewhat risky. However, if a case of injustice, falsehood or wrongdoing has been committed, it can not be avoided and the people must be given an account. He was even prepared to accept punishment.
Despite the worst preparation, Shen Deyong still has confidence in his article, because he knows that he is telling the truth and facing the problem directly. Therefore, when someone saw that online public opinion was fermenting, he strongly disagreed with the suggestion that the relevant authorities should delete posts.
As Shen Deyong predicted, the development of the next thing turned around. From the third day, public opinion began to turn in his favor, especially after the media invited some legal experts to participate in the discussion, the voice of approval showed a one-sided overwhelming trend. In the course of dialogue and debate, the public has also begun to have a deeper understanding of some basic concepts of modern criminal justice.
After anonymous recommendation and anonymous selection, the article Prevention was selected as the fourth (2013) China Soft Science Award. At the award ceremony held in Beijing, Shen Deyong entrusted his daughter Shen Yan with the award and donated 200,000 yuan to the China Disabled Persons Welfare Foundation. It was later used to assist four poor hearing disabled people to implant domestic cochlear implants and get out of the silent world.
This is exactly what Shen Deyong wants to see. Years later, recalling the past, he said happily, My will has been achieved. Writing articles and speeches, including literary criticism and academic debate, are essentially for the purpose of conveying opinions and seeking understanding.
He was also encouraged by the high-level recognition and affirmation of his articles, which were reflected in the decision of the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee held six months later.
Soon, the Central Committee of Political Science and Law issued 15 regulations to prevent unjust and false cases, requiring strict observance of the legal procedure system and adherence to the bottom line of preventing unjust and false cases. The Supreme Peoples Court, the Supreme Peoples Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security have issued opinions and notices in succession, demanding that the defendant should be acquitted according to law in cases with insufficient evidence for conviction, and that no leeway judgment should be degraded.
Thereafter, a series of major wrongs such as the Hugejile pattern, Nie Shubin case and Chen Man case were corrected according to law. According to statistics, from 2013 to September 2017 alone, 4032 defendants were acquitted.
The correction of wrongful cases is of great significance, while the construction of the system mechanism of preventing wrongful cases has a far-reaching impact. As early as the 6th National Conference on Criminal Justice in 2013, Shen Deyong advocated the reform idea that criminal proceedings should be trial-centered and trial-centered.
Based on the basic characteristics of the rule of law, that is, the rule of procedure and the rule of rules, Shen Deyong put forward the original theory of the priority of procedural justice in view of the prevailing phenomenon of emphasizing substance and neglecting procedure in judicial practice. At the same time, a series of modern criminal justice concepts have been established, such as legality of crime and punishment, temper justice with mercy, procedural justice, evidence adjudication, suspected crime, exclusion of illegal evidence and so on. Consensus has been gradually formed to adhere to strict justice and strengthen judicial protection of human rights.
In October 2014, the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to clearly put forward the reform of the litigation system centering on trial. Later, Shen Deyong emphasized the importance of this reform on different occasions. In July 2016, at the third national lecture on political and legal cadres, Shen Deyong announced the basic spirit and specific requirements of the reform to more than 1.2 million policemen in political and legal organs throughout the country.
In order to promote the reform of the criminal procedure system centered on trial, Shen Deyong led the drafting of the Three Rules in the Supreme Peoples Court, and the reform of the trial links has gradually entered a substantive stage, with initial results.
In many peoples eyes, the correction of these wrongs and wrongs is not only a sign of Chinas judicial progress, but also a reflection of the transformation of judicial concept, which is indelibly contributed by Justice Shen Deyong.
In Shen Deyongs view, he just did something that should be done, and did some meaningful cases. In contrast, he is more concerned about the future of the rule of law in China.
In his farewell letter, he wrote: Our dear motherland has a history of civilization for thousands of years, while the rule of law only lasts for a few decades. A long history is both a treasure and a burden. Practice has repeatedly proved that Chinas economic and social development can not be leap-forward or leap-forward, especially in the reform of the political system and the construction of political civilization, we must base ourselves on the national conditions, respect the law, step by step, and do not allow subversive mistakes.
We should be aware that the road to the modernization of the rule of law and justice in China is still long. Our generation, even the next two or three generations, are doomed to be only founders and pavers. In promoting the construction of the rule of law and judicial reform, we must adhere to the most sensible choice: proceeding from reality, being down-to-earth, seeking practical results and making steady progress.
Now, Shen Deyong is a member of the Nineteenth Central Committee and serves as a member of the Central Committee for the Comprehensive Rule of Law, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, and a director of the Social and Legal Committee. The work of the Commission on Social and Legal Affairs covers many fields, such as social governance, peoples livelihood security, and the construction of the rule of law. Through the platform of political consultation, democratic supervision and participation, Shen Deyong is still contributing to the construction of China under the rule of law.
In the interview, Shen Deyong disclosed to China Newsweek that he had been appointed as a special lecture professor of China University of Political Science and Law, and would devote part of his energies to academic research and cultivation of legal talents in the future.
Everyone who knows him well knows that he is a scholarly justice. As early as 1992, during his tenure in the Jiangxi Provincial Higher Peoples Court, Shen Deyong co-authored and published The Comparative Study of Death Penalty System, which is the first monograph on death penalty in China. Since then, although he worked in the business department, he has been writing and writing millions of words.
In 2011, Shen Deyongs Outline of Socialist Judicial System with Chinese Characteristics won the nomination prize of the Second China Publishing Government Award and the third Three Hundreds National Prize of the Original Book Publishing Project. The former is the nomination prize of the highest prize in the field of Chinese press and publishing, and the first time that the Peoples Court Press has won this prize.
Shen Deyong has been emphasizing that judges should strengthen their study in the judicial career of more than 30 years. When serving as Vice President of Jiangxi Provincial Higher Peoples Court, he proposed at a provincial court investigation conference held in Lushan that a qualified judge should take the road of adding judges and scholars.
After being employed by China University of Politics and Law, Shen Deyong can finally realize his long-cherished wish for many years - to systematically sort out and summarize his judicial practice for decades, and make theoretical contributions to the national judicial reform and the construction of the rule of law.
Shen Deyong admits that he enjoys life on campus and is very interested in research and teaching, but he is more proud of being a judge.
Source: Qiao Jing_N6607, Responsible Editor of China Newsweek