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Powers of the Police and the Rights of Suspects Under the Amended Criminal Procedure Law of China

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 3 Dated: 2003 Pages: 490-510
Yue Ma
Lawrence F. Travis III
Date Published
21 pages
This article discusses the progress made in the amended Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) of China in terms of the new procedural safeguards afforded to suspects and of the new restrictions place on the police.
In 1979, China’s Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) was enacted to provide much needed guidance to the people’s court, the people’s procuratorate, and the police in their daily operations. It was the rule of the individual rather than the rule of law. However, in 1996 the CPL was amended as an overhaul of the criminal procedure law and praised as a milestone in China’s legal redevelopment. The reforms of the CPL strengthened the advocacy system, and most notably expanded procedural protections for suspects and defendants. However, arguments suggest that the procedural deficiencies in the amended CPL have made the law less effective in protecting the rights afforded to suspects by the law, thereby suggesting the need for additional revision of the CPL. The police’s disregard of the law remains a serious problem in the criminal justice operation. Traditionally, Chinese culture has a tendency of prioritizing public interest over individuals. This paper introduces the legislative progress made in the amended CPL and offers suggestions as to what needs to be done further to assure better protection of suspect’s rights at the police investigating stage. The Chinese Government must improve its CPL to ensure that it contains adequate procedural safeguards to prevent potential police abuse. References