Top court, procuratorate help nation contain virus

2021-03-09 12:02:29

A resident scans a QR code of a mini-program to report health information in Beijing, March 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua] Chinese people experienced a sound living and working environment amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the urgent and great efforts of courts and procuratorate organs across the country last year, according to the annual work reports of China's top court and top procuratorate. The reports were submitted to the ongoing fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, for deliberation on Monday. After the novel coronavirus hit the country, courts nationwide began intensifying their strength in maintaining order during pandemic control and maintaining social stability by issuing legal documents as well as resolving criminal cases and disputes involving the pandemic, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, said while delivering the top court's work report to national legislators. A total of 6,443 people in 5,474 criminal cases were penalized for pandemic-related crimes in 2020, including Ma Jianguo, who was executed for killing workers engaged in epidemic control, the report said. The execution was carried out by a court in Yunnan province in July after the top court approved the death penalty of Ma for killing two epidemic control workers in February. The report also said courts nationwide issued 34 influential cases involving the pandemic last year, giving tougher punishments to those cheating medical workers who aided hard-hit Hubei province, using fake charity institutions to get donations or creating or spreading pandemic-related rumors. Yu Maoyu, deputy head of the top court's general office, said one of the key phrases for Chinese courts was "protecting rights of medical workers". "In 2020, courts took many measures to guarantee medical security and safeguard medical order," Yu said. "In order to protect those who braved the pandemic, we harshly punished people who intentionally tore off medical workers' preventive clothing." Other behaviors also were punished more heavily, including price gouging and people who lied about their histories when they returned from abroad and thereby caused many others to be quarantined, the report said. While keeping public order by strengthening the fight against crime, "our courts helped enterprises in the resumption of activity and production, promoting development and ensuring the vitality of market entities through hearings on cases", Zhou said. The work report of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, which was delivered by Zhang Jun, SPP procurator-general, shows that prosecutors across the country also made great efforts in fighting COVID-19, with 11,000 people charged and 7,227 people approved for arrest for pandemic-related crimes. Last year, the SPP provided information on a series of policies and a number of typical cases, including people faking nucleic acid tests and producing or selling counterfeit vaccines, and this greatly aided lower procuratorates in solving similar offenses efficiently, it said. More procuratorial policies and documents were provided to safeguard enterprises and ensure employment, the report said, adding that 23,000 people were charged with crimes of damaging the legitimate rights of private enterprises, up 2.9 percent year-on-year. Ma Qi, deputy head of the SPP's general office, said prosecutors helped protect the personal and property rights of entrepreneurs in the virus battle, offering judicial guidance in their operations and helping correct cases in which their properties were improperly frozen. Yang Zekun contributed to this story.