China has issued a guideline to improve its mediation teams nationwide, asking for more professional training and strict management of mediators.
The guideline requires legal departments and mediation committees to provide training programs for mediators.
Training in social development, law and policies, ethics, professional knowledge and mediation skills is preferred, the guideline added.
The guideline states that a "people's mediator" has to be fair, honest, self-disciplined, and warm-hearted in mediation with a certain level of education and knowledge of policy and law.
Experts such as lawyers, doctors, researchers and scholars, retired law practitioners -- including judges, procurators, and police -- and retired officials are welcome to become mediators, said the guideline.
The document also underscored that mediators cannot be partial to any side, insult any party, ask for or take bribes, seek illegal benefits, or reveal personal information or business secrets, and offenders will face punishment according to the severity of their actions.
The guideline was issued jointly by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Justice and three other departments.
China has a "people's mediation" method to resolve civil and commercial disputes outside judicial proceedings. People's mediation committees are found in villages and towns, as well as some enterprises and public institutions.
So far, China has 766,000 mediation committees, and about 9 million cases were settled through mediation every year.
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