Media Center

Press Release


  September 25, 2007

“Judicial reform is a natural outcome of political reform following thirty years of successful economic reform in China,” Wan Exiang, the Vice President of that nation’s Supreme People’s Court, said today at the Organization of American States (OAS), as he headlined the twenty-second conference in the Lecture Series of the Americas.

Speaking to diplomats, students, academics and civil society representatives on “Judicial System Reform in China,” Exiang outlined the ongoing changes and potential challenges facing the Far Eastern nation’s legal system.

“Judicial reform is an inevitable and unstoppable trend in China since the general public and the Central leadership, as well as the judiciary demand it,” he explained. Exiang, who is also a professor of law, provided a detailed summary of how China has been promoting judicial reform in recent years, noting that it is currently in a state of transformation and will continue learning form other systems around the world.

Reiterating Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s statement, the keynote speaker said that “democracy, the rule of law, freedom, human rights, equality and fraternity are values shared universally,” and that “different nations might have different approaches to realize and cherish these values, but these values are most closely related to judicial functions. China’s judicial system is no exception.”

In welcoming Wan Exiang to the OAS, the Assistant Secretary General, Albert R. Ramdin, noted “the strengthened relation between China and the Western Hemisphere over the past year. Ambassador Ramdin said that the volume of trade between China and Latin America and the Caribbean grew by almost 40% in 2006 to US $70 billion. “This trend is likely to continue as China becomes more integrated in the global economy,” he said.

The Vice President of China’s Supreme Court also outlined his country’s ongoing efforts to honor its international obligations by signing and ratifying various international treaties. He cited examples including accords on humanitarian matters, labor rights, civil and political rights and rights of refugees, as well as treaties on environmental protection, intellectual property rights and anti-terrorism treaties.

On the domestic front, he said that China has had an economic reform in the last thirty years with a high growth rate of 9.67 percent per year. In addition, Exiang explained that the Central leadership has been paying more attention to basic needs and social welfare of the citizens under its policy based of “serving the people, continuous development and building harmonious society.”

Exiang, who has a doctorate in law, is a professor of International Law at Wuhan University Law School. In past years, he has served as Deputy Head of the International Law Department and Director of the International Law Research Institute at Wuhan University Law School.

Exiang was also founding director of the Center for Protection of Rights of Disadvantaged Citizens, as well as Vice President of Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court and Vice President of Hubei People’s High Court. At present, he is Justice and Vice President of the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China, Vice Chairman of China Society for Human Rights Studies, and a member of China International Law Society.

Created by the OAS Permanent Council to promote principles and values in the countries of the hemisphere, the Lecture Series of the Americas invites internationally renowned speakers to address key issues such as democracy, human rights, social development, hemispheric security, the fight against poverty, and international relations. The conferences are possible thanks to financial contributions from Peru’s San Martin de Porres University, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of France.

Reference: E-238/07