By Hu Zexi
China will set up an international maritime judicial center in its latest bid to protect national sovereignty and maritime rights, according to a reportby the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to the National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 13.
Speaking about the supreme court’s work during the third plenary meeting of the Fourth Session of the 12thNPC, SPC President Zhou Qiangnoted, “Providing legal service to national strategic programs such as ‘One Belt, One Road’ and ‘Building a Maritime Power’, and resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty, maritime rights and other core interests” will be a priority for people’s courts at all levels in 2016.
Zhousaidthat Chinese courts have handled some 16,000 maritime cases last year, making China the country with highest number of maritime trial institutions and the largest number of maritime cases in the world. For example, Zhou mentioned the Xiamen maritime court’s trial on Minxiayu 01971 collision case in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands, which demonstrated China’s jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands.
In recent years, China has attached great importance to maritime security. In 2012, the 18th CPCNational Congress proposed to build China into a strong maritime power. In 2015,The Fifth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committeesuggested to further develop the marine economy and explore the potential of “blue economy.”
Since the establishment of the first maritime court in 1984, China has made remarkable achievements in this field, establishing a specialized and professional maritime judicial system, improving maritime trial system, handling a number of influential cases in accordance with the law and effectively safeguarding the nation’s maritime rights and interests.
Last December, when presiding over an SPC conference, Zhou suggested to buildan influential international maritime center in China to strengthen maritime trials in the new era.
China has vowed to strengthen its national sovereignty and exercise right of jurisdiction over all types of maritime development in China’s watersin accordance with the law. China’s judicial departments would also actively defend national maritime judicial sovereignty and safeguard its “Blue Land.”
Zhou said that the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese and foreign parties should be protected equally through a fair and efficient handling of each case, so that Chinese marine courts can establish good credibility in the international arena. He also expressed interest in actively participating in international maritime rules and improving international law through legal decisions on influential cases.
According to statistics, China’s shipping volume accounts for one-third of the world’s total. More than 90 percent of China’s foreign trade in goods is transported by sea and marine production accounts for 9.6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. (The Daily Mail – People’s Daily news exchange item)
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