Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sunshine, the great disinfectant, coming to the Chinese military legal system?

Long time observers of the Chinese military legal system have been amazed to see PLA legal officials (one is a former official) speaking out in favor of Justice Louis D. Brandeis's famous quote (without citing him) "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" twice within the past two weeks. As described in this article in the Diplomat, Senior Colonel Wang Haiping, head of the Department of Military Law at the PLA Xian Institute of Politics, was recently cited in the official media as highlighting the need for transparency in the military courts, and advocated that military courts make public all cases except those involving military secrets.

The well known Caixin website published an article on February 4 by Dean Zeng Zhiping of the Law Faculty of the Nanchang Institute of Technology (and former PLA colonel), also a former visiting scholar at the University of California, Hastings Law School. Dean Zeng's very useful slides on the structure of the Chinese military justice system are available here (since deleted). He identified a breakthrough in the direction of transparency in military legal matters.

We look forward to the day when we can see military court judgments included in the Supreme People's Court's case database and military legislation issued for public comment!

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