The Supreme Court Speaks Out on Forced Demolitions

This link is currently being passed around Chinese social networking circles. It is a Baidu cached version of a document that was posted to and then subsequently deleted from the official website of China’s Supreme Court. Since these sorts of things often get deleted from Baidu’s cache as well, I’ve uploaded a full-size screenshot of the document (click the image for full size) and will also repost the Chinese text in full below.

I don’t have time to translate the whole thing, so I will translate the introduction and the eight major instructions given in the article. Each instruction is followed by some elaboration, which I haven’t translated.

Translation

Recently, land seizures and forced demolitions in some places have given rise to the repeated occurrence of violent ((恶性, hard to translate)) incidents. Some of those [whose homes were] affected have set themselves on fire, jumped off of buildings and committed suicide or maimed themselves in other ways, or resisted, with some lighting gas canisters, splashing gasoline, throwing rocks, etc. to impede enforcement, some have ganged up and surrounded [demolition teams], attacked workers and caused mass incidents, court officials and police cadres have inappropriately used weapons to kill and would people, etc. Recently, another person [whose home was being demolished] set himself on fire in Zhuzhou, Henan (paramedics were unable to save him). Although the above incidents represent a minority of cases, that have given rise to an extreme level of public attention, and had an extremely negative influence on society, and what they have taught us is very profound:

  1. We must attach great importance to, and strengthen, our sense of urgency and our sense of crisis.
  2. We must strictly investigate the implementation [of forced demolitions] in accordance with the law.
  3. We must seriously control [cases where] a lawsuit [is still in progress] but permission to demolish is preemptively granted.
  4. We must employ force cautiously, and ensure that all is safe.
  5. We must strengthen the supervision and guidance of higher-level courts.
  6. We must optimize the environment of justice as it pertains to implementation [of demolitions and seizures] ((awkward translation, sorry, pushed for time!))
  7. Seriously emphasize the information reporting system. [The elaboration on this point makes it clear this is referring to higher level Party committees and court organs being given speedy and reliable information; it is not related to media reporting].
  8. Clarify responsibilities, and seriously investigate illegal dereliction of duty.

Comments

All in all, it’s a somewhat liberal but not particularly shocking document. It reads a bit like a call to clean things up, but since there are very few specifics, it’s hard to imagine this really rocking the boat all that much. On the other hand, there must be a reason it was deleted from the Supreme Court’s official website.

Why was it deleted? Who knows. It’s still available via Xinhua and elsewhere, so it could be the deletion is not political, or it could be the news media just hasn’t been cleaned up yet. We’ll keep an eye out.

Original Text

Since I don’t have time to translate it, and in case it disappears, here you go!

最 高 人 民 法 院
关于坚决防止土地征收、房屋拆迁强制执行
引发恶性事件的紧急通知

近年来,一些地方在土地征收、房屋拆迁强制执行中引发的恶性事件屡屡发生。有的被执行人以自焚、跳楼等自杀、自残方式相对抗,有的以点燃煤气罐、泼洒汽油、投掷石块等方式阻挠执行,有的聚众围攻、冲击执行人员酝成群体性事件,有的法院干警不当使用武器致人死伤等等。前不久,湖南省株洲市又发生一起被执行人在房屋拆迁强制执行中自焚(经抢救无效死亡)的严重事件。上述事件虽属少数或个别,但引起的社会关注度极高,造成的社会影响极为恶劣,其中的教训也极为深刻。为防止和杜绝类似事件再次发生,现就有关问题紧急通知如下:

一、必须高度重视,切实增强紧迫感和危机感。土地征用、房屋拆迁往往事关人民群众切身利益和社会稳定大局,是社会高度关注的问题,也是矛盾多发的领域。各级人民法院的领导和干警必须站在依法保护人民群众合法权益、维护社会和谐稳定、巩固党的执政地位和国家政权的高度,充分认识做好这项工作的极端重要性,将此作为坚持群众观点、贯彻群众路线的重要载体,以更加严格执法的信念、更加严谨审慎的态度、更加务实细致的方法,依法慎重处理好每一起强制执行案件,坚决反对和抵制以“服务大局”为名、行危害大局之实的一切错误观点和行为,坚决防止因强制执行违法或不当而导致矛盾激化、引发恶性事件。

二、必须严格审查执行依据的合法性。对行政机关申请法院强制执行其征地拆迁具体行政行为的,必须严把立案关、审查关,坚持依法审查原则,不得背离公正、中立立场而迁就违法或不当的行政行为。凡是不符合法定受案条件以及未进行社会稳定风险评估的申请,一律退回申请机关或裁定不予受理;凡是补偿安置不到位或具体行政行为虽然合法但确有明显不合理及不宜执行情形的,不得作出准予执行裁定。

三、必须严格控制诉讼中的先予执行。对涉及征地拆迁申请法院强制执行的案件,凡是被执行人尚未超过法定起诉期限的,一律不得受理;凡是当事人就相关行政行为已经提起诉讼,其他当事人或有关部门申请先予执行的,原则上不得准许,确需先予执行的,必须报上一级法院批准。

四、必须慎用强制手段,确保万无一失。对当事人不执行法院生效裁判或既不起诉又不履行行政行为确定义务的案件,要具体情况具体分析,注意听取当事人和各方面意见,多做协调化解工作,尽力促成当事人自动履行。凡最终决定需要强制执行的案件,务必要做好社会稳定风险评估,针对各种可能发生的情况制定详细工作预案。凡在执行过程中遇到当事人以自杀相威胁等极端行为、可能造成人身伤害等恶性事件的,一般应当停止执行或首先要确保当事人及相关人员的人身安全,并建议政府和有关部门做好协调、维稳工作,确保执行活动安全稳妥依法进行。

五、必须加强上级法院的监督指导。上级法院要切实履行监督指导职责,增强工作协同性,及时发现和纠正下级法院存在的各种问题。下级法院要主动争取上级法院的指导和支持,充分发挥执行工作统一管理的优势。凡涉及征地拆迁的强制执行案件,相关法院在执行前必须报上一级法院审查同意后方可实施。

六、进一步优化执行工作司法环境。鉴于目前有关征地拆迁的具体强制执行模式尚待有关国家机关协商后确定,各级人民法院要紧紧依靠党委领导,争取各方理解和支持。凡涉及征地拆迁需要强制执行的案件,必须事前向地方党委报告,并在党委统一领导、协调和政府的配合下进行。同时,积极探索“裁执分离”即由法院审查、政府组织实施的模式,以更好地发挥党委、政府的政治、资源和手段优势,共同为有效化解矛盾营造良好环境。

七、严格重大信息报告制度。凡在执行中发生影响社会稳定重大事件的,有关法院必须迅速向当地党委和上级法院如实报告有关情况,做到信息准确、反应灵敏。对不具备交付执行条件的案件,凡遇到来自有关方面的压力和不当干扰的,必须及时向上级法院和有关机关报告,坚决防止盲目服从、草率行事、不计后果的情况发生。

八、明确责任,严肃追究违法失职行为。凡是因工作失误、执法不规范或者滥用强制手段、随意动用法院警力实施强制执行导致矛盾激化,造成人员伤亡或财产严重损失等恶性后果以及引发大规模群体性事件,或者对重大信息隐瞒不服、歪曲事实,造成影响社会稳定等负面效果持续扩大的,要严肃追究有关法院领导和直接责任人员的责任,并予以曝光通报。
特此通知。

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0 thoughts on “The Supreme Court Speaks Out on Forced Demolitions”

  1. We must seriously control [cases where] a lawsuit [is still in progress] but permission to demolish is preemptively granted.
    (You can drive a truck through this one, or is a translation issue.)

    We must employ force cautiously, and ensure that all is safe.

    Say no more. If you are in the eye of the developers storm, you are stuffed.

    Like

  2. Hello from an Indian interested in all things Chinese. From reading your rough translation of the Supreme Court’s statement I get the impression that the Chinese judiciary doesn’t really have much power. The statements seem more like gentle advisories than judgments of the sort handed down by courts in liberal democracies. Then again, sometimes a lot can be said in a few words. Perhaps that is why the document was taken down.

    PS: Mainstream thought these days seems to be dominated by the notion that India and China are opponents with no recourse for reconciliation. I do not know the course history will take, but I believe that Chinese, Indians, Americans, Africans, Europeans – we are all brothers and sisters in the human family. However, we will have to pay a great price before that understanding reaches the entire world.

    Like

  3. PPS: Just because India is a “democracy” in paper that hardly guarantees justice and freedom for all. We struggle here against the powers of corrupt politicians and land developers just the same as people in China and other parts of the world. We, in India, also have a long way to go before we can say that we truly are a democracy.

    Like

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