Tibet to accelerate training of bilingual judges to promote rule of law

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Mobile court in the pastoral area of Tibet's Nagqu Prefecture

The Supreme Court will decide a timetable and roadmap of "thousand-person plan" for training bilingual judges from the high, middle and primary level courts in July,according to reports by the

Legal Daily.

On May 28, at a bilingual training seminar for judges jointly held by the Supreme People’s Court and State Ethnic Affairs Commission, deputy director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission Dondrup Angben pointed out that ethnic minority areas are all faced with the same problem: there is a lack of judges who understand the law as well as both Mandarin and Tibetan, which restricts the administration of justice in those areas. This is the greatest barrier to fair administration of justice.

Tibet is a multi-ethnic area in which the Tibetan ethnicity is the largest group. As the people’s awareness of the law begins to gradually increase, the number of cases in primary level courts rises each year. In addition, the majority of cases accepted by primary level courts involve farmers and herdsmen. The law regulates that Tibetan language be used to open a court session to hear cases, which rural and pastoral residents expect in the judicial system. Therefore, it is extremely important to train judges to be bilingual in both Tibetan and Mandarin.

Zhao Xiaolian, director of the Teaching and Research Section of the National Institute of Judges Tibet Branch said that the current team of bilingual judges in Tibet is young, and the levels of their Tibetan language and knowledge of the law are varied. Therefore, they are unable to meet the needs of the people. So there is an urgent need to train high quality judges who have good command of both Tibetan and Mandarin.

In order to solve this problem, the Supreme Court issued the “Opinions in strengthening training of personnel of the people’s courts under the new situation” in October 2013. According to the goals set forth in the “thousand-person plan”, bilingual 1,500 bilingual judges will be trained by 2020. In October 2014, the Supreme Court together with the State Ethnic Affairs Commission held a Tibetan and Chinese bilingual training course at Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

In April of this year, the Supreme Court together with the State Ethnic Affairs Commission also published the “Opinions in strengthening and improving bilingual training of judges in minority areas” in order to promote the implementation of the “thousand-person plan”. The National Court has built a database of teachers for training judges to be bilingual, and five training bases for bilingual and ethnic minority judges have been built in Tibet and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, and Qinghai, Guizhou and Gansu provinces.

This year, the Supreme Court has raised 2 million yuan of special fund for the compilation of teaching materials to train bilingual judges. The Tibet High People’s Court has compiled teaching materials such as “Translation models of Tibetan-Mandarin judgement documents” and “General penal code in Tibetan language”.

Currently, the Tibet Autonomous Region has 82 level-three courts, 84 detached tribunals and 1,283 judges. Among them, 799 judges are bilingual in Tibetan and Mandarin, making up 62 percent of the total number of judges.