THE BAR Council is applauding China's “encouraging progress” towards a reformed criminal justice system at a time when Amnesty International is holding its world-wide “China – No one is safe” campaign.
Bar Council leaders have made a series of visits to China and have been urging the Chinese authorities to adopt the safeguards and protections contained in the English legal system.
The Bar welcomes China's move to consider abolishing administrative detention and offer defendants new rights including early access to independent lawyers.
It says authorities are also considering the introduction of an adversarial system to China's courts, ensuring that the state's case against the accused can be fully and rigorously tested.
Chair of the council's international relations committee Peter Goldsmith QC said the China “success story” highlighted the Bar's role “in exporting the humanitarian values and technical expertise which underpin our native legal and judicial systems”.
However, Amnesty's campaign calls on lawyers to write to the Chinese embassy in London to defend prisoners of conscience.
An Amnesty spokesman said China's laws failed to meet standards set by international human rights law.
“Amnesty International believes that a fundamental review of legislation, of law enforcement and judicial practices is needed to curb human rights violations,” he said.
“It is of primary importance to make strong legal arguments for reform in China, focusing attention in particular on
China's law and practices concerning arbitrary detention, torture and unfair trial.”
According to the Bar Council, China's Criminal Procedural Law has not been changed since it was adopted 20 years ago.