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China pledges education, hospital, juror system reforms

Updated: Apr 2,2015 11:13 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s central authorities on April 2 rolled out plans to support rural teachers, overhaul public hospitals and improve public supervision of court cases.

The plans were adopted at the 11th meeting of the central leading group for deepening overall reform on April 2, during which President Xi Jinping, who is also head of the group, called on authorities to “show courage and guts” in reform. Deputy group heads Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli were also present.

The meeting approved a plan to support rural teachers over the next five years and guidelines on reforming urban public hospitals.

Group members attending the meeting noted that education in remote and poor areas in the central and western regions is the weakest link in the modernization of education.

It is crucial that every child receives an equal education so as to stop poverty spreading to the next generation, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Means of increasing the number of good teachers in poor areas include improving teachers’ political and moral awareness, increasing their income, and persuading urban teachers to work in rural schools.

Urging deeper reform in public hospitals in cities, the group members agreed that public hospitals should be operated for the public good, instead of seeking profits, and the service should be accessible, equal and beneficial for the people.

They believe better healthcare administration is needed, particularly in the area of medical insurance and medical workers’ salaries.

The meeting also saw the adoption of a pilot plan on overhauling the people’s juror system, under which supervisors are selected and employed by courts to help scrutinize judges’ decisions.

The system, a vital part of socialist democracy, should be reformed in a bid to promote judicial democracy and fairness, the statement said, explaining that reform will focus on enhancing independence in jurors’ selection and expanding their participation in trials.

Another judicial reform plan on courts’ accepting and hearing cases was also endorsed by the group.

To address the public’s long-existing difficulty in filing cases, the current censorship of accreditation by courts will be replaced by a case-filing register system.

Authorities vowed to put an end to courts dragging their feet in hearing cases and officials creating barriers to filing cases.

Any interference in courts’ accepting and hearing cases will be harshly punished, said the statement.

Meeting attendees also proposed a five-year plan for implementing the measures laid out at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, a key meeting on “rule of law”.

It was agreed on April 1 that reform measures must be coordinated, consistent, compatible and concrete.

Noting that the mission to comprehensively deepen reform and implement the rule of law is a heavy and urgent task, leaders at the meeting urged a spirit of “driving nails”, parlance referring to perseverance.

They also reached consensus that as many reform details should be disclosed to the public as possible.

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