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Procuratorates advance public interest litigation

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-01 09:18


Procuratorates in China have expanded their role in public interest litigation to safeguard the rights of specific groups, such as the elderly, disabled, women and minors.

Zhang Xueqiao, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said efforts have been intensified to address the "digital divide" in daily life and work, including areas like dining, medical treatment, transportation and payments.

Procuratorates nationwide handled 2,252 cases last year related to the protection of specific groups' interests and 1,983 cases in the field of barrier-free environment construction.

A notable case involved the issue of drug instructions with small font sizes, making it challenging for specific groups such as the elderly and visually impaired individuals to obtain key information accurately.

Public interest litigation initiated by the Supreme People's Procuratorate led to the inclusion of clauses for the administration of drug instructions in the Barrier-free Environment Construction Law. The law requires drug manufacturers to provide accessible formats such as audio, large print, Braille and electronic versions.

The top procuratorate collaborated with the National Medical Products Administration to promote accessibility reforms for drug instructions, resulting in the release of the first batch of pilot drug instructions with improved legibility.

Zhang said procuratorial public interest litigation clauses had been included in the Law on Barrier-Free Environment Construction, expanding the statutory scope of such litigation to 14 sectors. Procuratorial organs focused on sectors of high concern, such as safety production, personal information protection and the rights of specific groups.

Procuratorates handled 190,000 public interest litigation cases across China last year, with the majority involving administrative public interest litigation against government departments. The success rate of pre-litigation rectification procedures was 99.1 percent, emphasizing the effectiveness of negotiation and procuratorial recommendations.

The legislative plan of the 14th NPC Standing Committee includes the Law on Procuratorial Public Interest Litigation. The draft version of the law has been completed, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate said it is actively promoting related legislative work.

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