Latest news, analysis and opinion on the law and legal issues, including Hong Kong extradition law. Follow the latest on trials, court cases and justice.


China may become world’s first to bring AI to legal system
China may soon become the world’s first country to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into a legal system as authorities want to use the technology to overhaul its judicial operations. The hope is that AI can help monitor judges, streamline court procedures and boost judicial credibility, according to the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) work report released during China’s annual parliamentary sessions on Monday. The 14th five-year plan, outlined at the year’s “two sessions” political gathering, sets a roadmap to upgrade China’s legal system by 2025.  According to legal experts, the changes are part of China’s “smart court” initiative, a signature policy of SPC president Zhou Qiang. He want
China executes man who killed mother for an apartment
Chinese authorities executed a man on February 24 who brutally murdered his mother to claim an insurance payout to buy a flat.  Fu Bailian, 33, electrocuted, then bludgeoned his mother to death in March 2018 at her home in Zigong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Fu was found guilty of the crime in July 2019. The court heard that Fu killed his 56-year-old mother after having harbored resentment over her decision to live in Zigong, almost 1,500km away from his home in Guangzhou, southern China, making her unavailable to look after his child. Legal documents tendered to the court showed that Fu lacked the funds to buy a flat that he wanted and had taken out a personal accident insuran
A child rapist’s five-year prison sentence sets off a wave of anger
A lenient sentence for a man who raped a five-year-old girl in China has deepened a rift between the public perception of child sexual assault and how the crime is treated by the law.  The 20-year-old man, surnamed Li, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined US$510 on January 15 by a local court in the southwestern province of Yunnan. The sentence caused outrage in China, with many people calling for a harsher sentence and even the death penalty.  Li is the uncle of the victim and he brought the girl to a public restroom at a local bus station and raped her, said the court’s statement. Li visited the girl’s family last August and took her out at night, saying he wanted to buy her can
Stricter stance: Kids that commit violent crimes in China face tough new laws
China’s top lawmakers are reviewing a plan this week to get tough on violent juvenile offenders and their parents after a spate of murders and violent assaults by children as young as 11 years old.  Not only is China considering lowering the age of criminal liability to 12, but a new draft amendment would expand the scope of crimes that a child can be charged with, notably to allow kids to be prosecuted for violent assaults.  The plan has been submitted to lawmakers and is currently being reviewed.  Separately, a draft for the Law on Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency wants to hold parents or guardians partly responsible for any violent crimes committed by their children. The draft legislat
Elderly woman survives three days after son buries her alive
A man in northwest China has been detained after his 79-year-old mother was buried alive. The woman, who was partially paralyzed, was rescued after three days and is in a stable condition in a hospital in Shaanxi province, police said. Prosecutors in Jingbian county said the woman’s son, a 58-year-old identified only by his surname Ma, had been charged with attempted murder. On Tuesday his wife told local police that Ma had taken the bedridden woman named Wang away on a cart and she had not returned home. Police said the man had confessed to burying her in the woods and she was rescued later that day. “Ma was there when police were digging up the two-meter deep grave. He didn’t say anything
China has a problem with people throwing trash off tall buildings
The last thing Shanghai man Tony Qian expected while walking with his wife on grassland below the 28-floor residential buildings of their community was to be hit by a falling piece of dog excrement. And yet, as he looked up to see where the foul missile had come from, he saw a tissue fluttering to the ground which, on closer inspection, was stained with the same muck which had struck him on the shoulder. Qian was lucky. There have been numerous reports in recent years of critical injuries and deaths caused by people flinging dangerous items – including a bicycle, stroller and even a kitchen knife – from their high-rise windows. But his efforts to bring the poo perpetrator to justice went now
China says it’ll stop detaining sex workers for up to 2 years without trial
China’s extrajudicial detention of sex workers or their customers, known as “custody and education (C&E),” is set to be abolished in what experts called a long-overdue move. The detention system has been used to crack down on prostitution, which is illegal on the mainland, since the 1980s. Sex workers and their clients could be detained for up to two years without trial in centers overseen by the police. More than 300,000 people were detained using C&E between 1987 and 2000, according to a report by Asia Catalyst, an advocacy group focused on health issues. Although the government does not publish regular numbers of detainees, mainland Chinese media have reported a steady decrease in detenti
The US locks up more people than China does. Right?
In examining the ills of the American prison system, few things are as sobering as the sheer number of people incarcerated. The United States, a country with less than one-fourth China’s population, has more people locked up than China does. That’s the observation made last week in a tweet by Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizing the US’ “for-profit industry” of detention. This is progress, and there is still work to do. There should not be a for-profit industry behind the detention and incarceration of human beings. The US locks up more people than anywhere else in the world, incl China. For-profit caging shouldn’t be legal in the first place. — Alexandria Ocasio-Cor