This article originally appeared in China Daily.
Migrant workers have become the main beneficiaries of a legal aid policy adopted last year, said a senior official from the Ministry of Justice.
Of the 940,000 people who accepted legal aid in 2011, 310,000 were migrant workers, Sun Jianying, director
of the legal aid department under the Ministry of Justice, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
“China is transforming its political system and economic growth model, which inevitably stirs up various kinds of social conflicts, putting the interests of vulnerable groups at stake,” said Sun. Others large groups that benefit include farmers, elderly people and minors, she said.
The ministry is expanding the scope of people who can receive legal aid and has sent more experienced lawyers to poor cities and counties in the western region to provide legal assistance, Sun said, all of which contributed to the sharp increase of legal aid cases.
Also, people with very low incomes are eligible for free legal aid.
“To most vulnerable groups, legal aid is considered an effective channel – maybe their only hope to safeguard their interests and legitimate rights,” said Li Guifang, deputy director of the criminal defense committee under the All China Lawyers’ Association.
“In China, many victims are poor, and they can’t afford to hire a lawyer for a lawsuit. But if small disputes can’t be solved in a timely manner, they will probably lead to big social conflicts or mass incidents,” he said.
Since 2009, the number of legal aid cases handled across the country has increased an average of 14.8 percent a year.
In 2011, a total of 840,000 legal aid cases were approved nationwide, providing aid to 940,000 people, Sun said.
Among those cases, more than 726,000 were civil ones, with most related to payment and employment disputes, marriage and domestic affairs, as well as traffic accidents.
Fewer than 114,000 were criminal cases, she said.
In practice, cases involving land acquisition and house demolition, company restructuring, education and medical treatment, pollution, as well as food and drug safety have not been included in the scope of many local legal aid agencies.
Moreover, the working mechanism for legal aid, including low-income evaluation standards, funding and supervision, should be improved, Sun said.
This year, the ministry plans to invest at least 300 million yuan ($47 million) to support the legal aid program, a 50 percent increase over 2011, and it also plans to increase lawyers’ subsidies for legal assistance by 20 percent, Sun said.
At present, a lawyer only receives an average of 1,100 yuan for a civil case, and 900 yuan for a criminal case.
“Lawyers are still facing many difficulties in providing legal assistance to criminal suspects,” said Xu Litong, director of the Jiangsu provincial legal aid center.
“Once the criminals are detained, their lawyers have no means to meet or get in contact with them within 48 hours. Meanwhile, the police won’t tell the lawyers about the progress of the investigation, which seriously violates the suspects’ legal rights,” he said, adding he hopes the newly revised Criminal Procedure Law will help improve the situation and further protect the human rights of the suspects.
For previous coverage on China’s legal aid system, please click here.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: July 25, 2022
Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
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Used widely by Microsoft as a unique user ID. The cookie enables user tracking by synchronizing the ID across many Microsoft domains.
Privacy notice: https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement
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Privacy notice: https://www.godaddy.com/en-in/legal/agreements/privacy-policy
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Privacy notice: https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy
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Privacy notice: https://www.scorecardresearch.com/privacy.aspx?newlanguage=1
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Privacy notice: https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/our-policies-terms/privacy-policy
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Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.