The Procurator-General of China's Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ying Yong, has been appointed vice-principal for legal affairs at Beijing No 4 High School, with the aim of promoting legal education.
"I will promote the integration of rule-of-law principles on campus, strengthen legal education for young people and advance the construction of a safe school environment," he said upon accepting the appointment last week in Beijing.
Ying emphasized the crucial role adolescents play in the country's future and the significance of legal and moral education for young people. He urged procuratorial organs nationwide to further implement and improve the system of prosecutors serving as vice-principals for legal affairs at primary and high schools.
It is a common practice in China for members of the judiciary and law enforcement to play an active role in the education system.
Prosecutors should collaborate with schools to enhance the quality and effectiveness of legal education for young people, contributing to the cultivation of a group who embrace the rule of law and possess confidence in the new era, he said.
According to the SPP, procuratorial organs have earnestly fulfilled the statutory duties assigned by the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, actively promoting legal education in schools and appointing prosecutors as vice-principals for legal affairs.
Currently, 43,000 prosecutors serve as vice-principals for legal affairs in 77,000 primary and secondary schools, playing a significant role in promoting legal awareness, learning and compliance among a vast number of young people.
Ying highlighted that the appointment of prosecutors as vice-principals for legal affairs is not a nominal position but requires dedicated performance, innovative approaches to legal education and efforts to foster outstanding individuals with a sense of patriotism, lofty ideals, firm beliefs and a spirit of the rule of law.
Ying is not the first Procurator-General of the SPP to be appointed as a vice-principal for legal affairs. His predecessor, Zhang Jun, now the president of China's Supreme People's Court, once served as the vice-principal at Beijing No 2 Middle School.
The role of vice-principal for legal affairs dates back to 2002 when several central departments, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice, jointly issued a document on strengthening legal education for students, proposing to improve the system of part-time vice-principals for legal affairs and legal counselors.
In November 2003, six ministries, including the Ministry of Education, issued a document standardizing the responsibilities, selection and management of part-time vice-principals for legal affairs.
Later, the Outline of the National Medium- and Long-term Educational Reform and Development Plan (2010-20) approved by the State Council in May 2010 and the Implementation Outline for Building a Law-based Society (2020-25) issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December 2020, both highlighted the significance of improving the system of vice-principals for legal affairs.
Additionally, the system of vice-principals for legal affairs was incorporated into the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, which came into effect on June 1, 2021. It stipulates that schools should appoint full-time or part-time teachers engaged in legal education and may also hire vice-principals for legal affairs or off-campus legal counselors from judicial and law enforcement agencies, legal education and legal service institutions.
Over 13,000 judges and some 300,000 police officers have been appointed as vice-principals for legal affairs nationwide, according to the SPC and the Ministry of Public Security.
The system of appointing part-time vice-principals for legal affairs has become a "booster" for educational management, playing a crucial role in enhancing the protection of the rights and interests of teachers and students, advancing legal education for youth, and maintaining the security and order of schools and surrounding areas, according to the Ministry of Education.
Last year, the Ministry of Education introduced regulations on the appointment and management of vice-principals for legal affairs in primary and high schools in collaboration with the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, the SPC, the SPP, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice, to further enhance the system. The regulations were implemented on May 1 last year.
According to the regulations, the responsibilities of vice-principals for legal affairs include six aspects, including assisting in the protection of students' rights, preventing juvenile delinquency and participating in safety management.
Addressing campus bullying is one of their responsibilities, and the vice-principals are required to be involved in the formulation and implementation of the school's student rights protection system, participate in organizations such as the student protection committee and the governance of student bullying, and provide guidance and supervision to ensure the school fulfills its responsibilities in protecting minors.