Reforms to China's Pretrial Detention System: The Role of the Procuratorate
(2016) 44 International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice 183-211
29 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 4, 2016
Pretrial detention in China is not subject to judicial review. The suspect is usually detained through the whole pre-trial and trial stages in the criminal proceeding. China's ongoing criminal justice reform attempts to change this practice in order to offer more protections to suspects through revising the Criminal Procedure Law. This article, framed in the theory of "living law", takes an insider approach by looking into the demarcation of power and interest among various criminal justice authorities and internal units within the People's Procuratorates along with China's detention reform. The empirical findings based on intensive interviews of "insiders" show a different picture from what outsiders may expect. The power struggles among criminal justice authorities and internal units within the procuratorate failed to achieve the purpose of detention reform. Although there have been some positive changes in Province AH's pilot project, such changes are unsustainable due to the uncertain institutional arrangement.
Keywords: Detention system reform, judicial review, china's procuratorate, local judicial ecology
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