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Prosecutors urged to adapt to information age

By Yang Zekun | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-01-18 09:26

Procuratorial work should adapt to the trend of informatization and the use of big data in protecting national and social public interests and promoting national governance, Zhang Jun, procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said on Monday.

Addressing a national meeting of procurators in Beijing, Zhang called for procuratorial organs to actively explore the use of big data to punish and prevent crimes, supervise and correct illegal activities and improve the overall quality and efficiency of legal supervision in the new era.

Since the full implementation of public interest litigation procuratorial work in July 2017, the number of cases handled has increased each year. Prosecutors nationwide registered and handled about 170,000 cases last year, according to the SPP.

With the enactment and revision of related laws, the scope of procuratorial public interest litigation has increased from four to nine fields in recent years. They are ecological environment and resources protection, food and drug safety, protection of State-owned property, the transfer of rights to use State-owned land, the protection of the rights and interests of heroes and martyrs, the safety of production, protection of minors, protection of soldiers' honor and reputation, and protection of personal information.

Most public interest litigation cases concerning State-owned property protection and the transfer of land use rights for State-owned land involved the loss of State-owned assets, and procuratorates at the city level should make such cases their main focus, actively search for clues, and make full use of public interest litigation to promote supervision and recover losses, Zhang said.

In one case related to information technology last year, the procuratorate in Pishan county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, filed a public interest lawsuit in November against a travel blogger on suspicion of infringing the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs after he triggered intense online criticism.

One photo posted by the blogger, surnamed Li, that was taken at the Kangxiwa Martyrs Cemetery in Pishan in July last year showed him leaning against a gravestone with his feet on the pedestal. In another, he leaned with one hand against the tombstone of Chen Xiangrong-who was killed in a border clash with Indian troops-while making what looked like a shooting gesture with the other.

Li's behavior was strongly condemned by netizens, with the viral online response attracting the attention of prosecutors. He was sentenced to seven months in prison this month and ordered to apologize in national media for infringing the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs and causing a bad social impact.

"In addition to the statutory fields of public interest litigation procuratorial work, we should actively and steadily focus on handling cases in areas such as cyberspace governance, finance and securities, intellectual property rights, protection of cultural relics and heritage, and protection of women's rights and interests, so as to lay a practical foundation for the improvement of related legislation," Zhang said.

Prosecutors should also pay close attention to the quality of case-handling and make full use of "procuratorial think tanks" such as the consultation network of civil and administrative experts and the consultation platform of public interest litigation experts to improve supervision, Zhang said.

Zhang also urged procuratorial organs at all levels to strengthen cooperation with other enforcement and judicial departments in the fight against telecom and network fraud, which has occurred frequently in recent years, seriously jeopardizing network security and economic order.

The crackdown should focus on the whole criminal chain, both inside and outside the country, and thoroughly investigate and recover fraudulently acquired funds, he said.

The SPP formulated 65 rules last year on prosecuting cybercrimes. More than 280,000 people were prosecuted for crimes committed through telecom networks, up 98.5 percent year-on-year.

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