Protecting farmers' rights and interests has become a focus of China's courts as they work to serve the rural vitalization strategy, according to a guideline released by the Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Nov 7.
The guideline is intended to give opinions and set regulations on providing judicial service and guarantees for the rural vitalization strategy which is a major strategy first put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress of Oct 2017, and identifies agriculture, the countryside and farmers as the top priority of the Party's work.
Jiang Bixin, vice-president of the SPC, explained the document at the press conference.
Jiang said the SPC has paid a lot of attention to rural-related issues and has produced normative documents as guidance for China's courts to deal with them.
According to him, courts at various levels heard 109,787 cases of rural work contract disputes from 2013 to 2017, 108,943 of which were concluded
Jiang said that the document has seven chapters that provide for courts' services to modern agriculture development, construction of rural ecological civilization and a countryside governance system, as well as protection of farmers' legal rights and interests.
The three rural issues, which are agriculture, rural areas and farmers, as well as land issues, are listed in the document as important parts of the courts' work.
Farmers have rights of possession, usage and profit of the land in accordance to the Property Law and the Law of the Contract for Rural Land and the courts should offer judicial support to the pilot work of rural land reform, the document says.
In addition, courts shall improve adjudication procedures and trial mechanisms of environment-related litigation and tackle disputes between villagers.
The document also states that crackdowns of gang-related criminals play a role in the building of the governed villages.
It requires villages to launch an agriculture-related dispute settlement mechanism and strengthen judicial education to raise rural residents' awareness of respecting and abiding by the law.
A special regulation focused on protecting the right of personality of farmers is also included in the document, which will benefit a complete development of rural area and guarantee farmers' rights and interests.
He stressed that courts should follow the regulations and properly deal with the relationships between short-term and long-term goals, rural reform and stability, ecological protection and rural development, and rural culture inheritance and promotion.
Jiang said the document provides regulations on protecting farmers' rights, which will help rural residents obtain more practical legal assistance.
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