Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.

Friday, December 29, 2006

'The Law's The Law', or not as the case may be

Being an English teacher of Chinese adults I have had the pleasure to meet various Chinese lawyers. It always fascinates me to be able to find out 'exactly' how the law system works in China. My conclusion, which is based purely on what Chinese lawyers have told me(with no interpretation on my part I might add)is that Chinese law is based on 'money', not justice, not fairness, not having a talented lawyer or any other thing ad-infinitum.

Let me start off with one story a student told me about her friend whos father was a judge, this family had a nice new car, a big house and anything their children wanted they got, but this girls friend wondered how it was possible that her family should have so many luxuries when her father didn't earn more than about $300 per month; her friend matter of factly replied "oh, because he receives bribes".

I should first point out that in China the judge makes the final decision as to the guilt or innocence of a defendant; in recent years they have established a kind of jury, but in fact that jury can only advise a judge on what, in their opinion, should be the verdict; the judge can completely disregard this as he chooses.

One former student of mine who owned a law firm told me that a lawyers job in China only in fact comes down to two things: 1. developing a good relationship with judges and 2. Giving the money to a judge that has been given to him by the defendant(presumably a guilty defendant). In his own words the actual lawyers skill has no true bearing on the case, in truth the whole court trial is therefore a charade.

Other lawyer students of mine have told me the exact same thing, and have expressed sadness because of this situation in China. If the crime isn't so serious you can actually just pay off the police before it even gets to court. This is another reason why Chinese people revere rich people, because they are, in effect, above the law.


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