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Notice of the Supreme People's Court on Issuing the Some Advice on Implementing the Criminal Policy of Combining Leniency with Rigidity [Effective]
最高人民法院印发《关于贯彻宽严相济刑事政策的若干意见》的通知 [现行有效]


Notice of the Supreme People's Court on Issuing the Some Advice on Implementing the Criminal Policy of Combining Leniency with Rigidity
(No.9 [2010] of the Supreme People's Court)
The higher people's courts of all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, the Military Court of the PLA, and the Production and Construction Corps Branch of the Higher People's Court of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region:
The criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity is an important policy made by the Central Committee of the Party under the new situation of building a socialist harmonious society and is a basic criminal policy of China. It is of great significance in preventing and reducing crimes, eliminating social contradictions and maintaining social harmony and stability to the largest extent. On the basis of making in-depth research and investigation and soliciting the opinions of various circles, the Supreme People's Court formulated the Some Advice on Implementing the Criminal Policy of Combining Leniency with Rigidity (hereinafter referred to as Some Advice) which provide specific and clear requirements for the people's courts to better carry out the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity in the trial of criminal cases.
The people's courts at all levels shall earnestly study Some Advice and fully recognize the important role of Some Advice in guiding the trial of criminal cases. You should have a good understanding of the spirit of Some Advice, improve your consciousness about implementing the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity, carry out the basic requirements of the policy through every procedure of the trial of criminal cases, and realize the goal of giving lenient sentences to those who deserve it, being severe when the actual circumstances so require, keeping balance between leniency and rigidity and imposing due punishments so as to guarantee the high-level unification of the legal effects and social effects of judgments.
Some Advice is hereby issued to you for your earnest implementation in light of the “three major tasks” of the political and legal work of this year. If you encounter any problem in implementation, please don't hesitate to report it to the Supreme People's Court.
February 8, 2010
Some Advice on Implementing the Criminal Policy of Combining Leniency with Rigidity.
As a basic criminal policy of China, the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity is carried out through the whole process of criminal legislation, criminal justice and criminal punishment execution, is inherited, developed and improved under the new situation from the policy of combining punishment with leniency and is a guide for the judicial organs to punish criminals, prevent crimes, protect the people, assure human rights and correctly enforce the laws of the state. The advice as given herein are formulated to carry out the said policy in the judicial work of criminal cases.



I. General requirements on the implementation of the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity
1. To carry out the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity, we shall treat different crimes in different ways based on their actual circumstances, be lenient with those who deserve it, be severe when the actual circumstances so require, keep balance between leniency and severity, impose due punishments, combat and isolate the tiny minority, educate, reform and save the vast majority, reduce social contradictions to the largest extent, enhance social harmony and stability and maintain the lasting peace and stability of the state.
2. We shall correctly understand the relationship between leniency and rigidity, pay attention to both leniency and rigidity in the judicial work, avoid the doctrine of over-emphasis on criminal punishment and being unduly rigid, and also avoid the doctrine of over-neglect of criminal punishment and being unduly lenient.
3. To carry out the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity, we must stick to handling cases in strict accordance with law, implement the principle of legally prescribed punishments for specified crimes, the principle of suiting punishment to crime and the principle of equality of all people before the law, accurately fit punishment to the crime according to the law, make both lenient and severe punishments according to law to make sure that they are legally based and duly imposed.
4. We shall, based on the economic and social development and the changes in public security situations and, particularly, the changes in criminal circumstances, timely adjust the objects, scope and strength of lenient punishment and severe punishment within the limit allowed by law. We shall have a comprehensive and objective understanding of the economic and social situations and the public security situation of different time and different regions, take into full account the feeling of security of the general public and the actual needs for combating crimes, give severe punishments for crimes which seriously jeopardize the national security, public security and public interests, and be lenient if the crime is not serious in nature and has produced little social harm, the defendant has confessed and shows repentance, and lenient punishment is better for social harmony and stability.
5. To carry out the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity, we must strictly abide by the law and maintain the unification and authority of law so as to guarantee good legal effects. At the same time, we must taking into account whether the handling of cases is good for winning the public support and maintaining social stability, whether it is good for disintegrate crimes and eliminating contradictions, whether it is good for reforming and educating criminals and bringing them back to the society, and whether it is good for reducing social contradictions and for enhancing social harmony so as to bring about better social effect. Reasons shall be elaborated in full fledge in the written judgments, especially reasons for giving a lenient or severe punishment, so as to make the defendant conscious of his guiltiness and submit to the law. Emphasis shall be placed on the education of the general public so as to realize the dynamic unification of the legal effect and social effect through judgment.
II. Correctly understanding and applying the policy requirements on “being rigid”
6. “Being rigid” as required by the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity means that severe punishment or death penalty shall be executed with a firm hand after it is imposed according to law if a crime is extremely harmful and has caused extraordinarily serious social harm so that a severe punishment shall be given to the defendant with great subjective evilness and great likelihood to cause personal injury and has caused serious social harm or which requires a heavier punishment according to law or based on the actual circumstances. In judicial work, we shall carry out the policy requirements on rigidity so as to effectively deter criminals and forces that cause social instability and to realize the goal of effectively stopping and preventing crimes.
7. To carry out the criminal policy of combining leniency with rigidity, we must unswervingly stick to the guideline of severely punishing serious criminal offences according to law. The following crimes shall be listed as the main target of severe punishment, for which a heavier punishment shall be imposed: crimes which seriously jeopardize the stability of state power, such as crimes endangering national security, crimes committed by terrorist organizations, by evil cult organizations, by organizations bearing the nature of criminal gangs and by vicious forces, and crimes intentionally endangering public security; serious violent crimes and crimes which seriously affect the people's feel of security, such as crimes of intentional homicide, crimes causing the death of others by malicious injury, rape, crime of abduction, crime of kidnapping and selling women and children, crime of robbery and serious crime of dispossession and crime of burglary; and crimes which jeopardize the health of the people, including drug smuggling, trafficking, transporting and manufacturing. In particular, for criminals who are extremely hostile to the nation or society, aim to injure unspecified persons and are under any extraordinarily serious circumstances, heavier punishments shall be given when the law so provides, and death penalty shall be executed on those who deserve it.
8. Severe punishment shall be given for the following crimes: crimes of embezzlement, abuse of official capacity, misconduct and malfeasance by state functionaries; crimes committed by underworld and vicious forces; duty-related crimes committed by state functionaries as involved in serious safety accidents or cases of manufacturing and selling counterfeited and shoddy foods and medicines; duty-related crimes committed by state functionaries in the field of social security, requisition of land for relocating inhabitants, post-disaster reconstruction, restructuring of enterprises, medical service, education or employment which seriously damage the public interests, cause adverse social impact and are strongly complained about by the general public; and serious crimes of commercial bribery which occur in key areas and sectors of economic and social construction.
Severe punishments shall be given for state functionaries' duty crimes and commercial bribery crimes which bear a vile nature, have serious circumstances and extensive involvements and influence and to criminals who conceal criminal facts, destroy evidence, conclude a pact to shied each other, abscond or otherwise refuse to confess guilt and show repentance after cases are reported.
Severe punishments shall also be given for state functionaries' duty-related crimes and commercial bribery crimes which cause heavy losses to the state property or the public interests and result in extraordinarily adverse social impact even though the defendant has not earned much from the crime.
We shall have a precise understanding of and follow the standards for judging the statutory circumstances for the mitigation of punishment and the mitigation extent for duty-related crimes, strictly control the scope of application of reprieval after a fixed-term imprisonment of three years or less is imposed as a mitigated punishment, and regulate the application of reprievals and the exemption of criminal punishment to duty-related crimes.
9. We shall severely punish the following crimes so as to maintain the economic order of the state and protect the health and safety of the mass for the time being and in the near future: crimes which seriously disrupt the financial order, such as crimes of financing fraud and mortgage fraud, crimes of making and trafficking counterfeit currency and crimes of manipulating the securities or futures market; crimes which seriously endanger food or drug safety, such as crimes of manufacturing and selling bogus drugs, inferior drugs and poisonous and hazardous foods; crimes which seriously damage the economic interests of the state, such as the crime of smuggling; crimes involved in big safety accidents which cause serious consequences; and crimes which seriously damage the environmental resources, such as the crimes of serious environmental pollution, illegal mining and unlawful felling of trees.
10. At the same time when giving a severe punishment for a criminal offense, we must take into full account the defendant's subjective malignancy and the likelihood to cause personal injuries. If the defendant has carefully planed for the crime beforehand, is a habitual or career offender, or commits the crime during reprieval or during the probation for parole of a criminal punishment imposed for an intentional crime, a severe punishment shall be given to realize the special preventive function of criminal punishment.
11. We shall severely punish repeat offenders and drug-related recidivists. Severe punishments shall be given to repeat offenders and drug-related recidivists once they are sentenced by law, even if the criminal circumstances are minor. In particular, a repeat offender who has previously committed a crime with violence or has been sentenced to a severe punishment shall be given a heavier punishment.
12. We shall comprehensively apply the various kinds of criminal punishment means and attach great importance to the application of property-oriented penalties to effectively punish criminals. Where there are collateral property-oriented penalty provisions in any law, these provisions shall apply. For crimes of embezzling property and seeking illegitimate gains, we shall particularly stress the application of property-oriented penalties so as to economically punish criminals and deprive them of the ability and conditions to commit new crimes. We shall make more efforts in the execution of property-oriented penalties to realize the rigidity and punitive function of criminal punishment. When deciding the punishment, a defendant's failure to return the ill-gotten gains after illegally possessing or disposing of the victim's property shall be regarded as an important circumstance, and the spirit of severe punishment shall be carried out in that case.
13. Defendants of criminal cases shall be subject to criminal responsibilities in strict accordance with law without anyone being wrongly sentenced or connived at. We shall do our best to improve the efficiency of the judicial work under the precondition of maintaining justice. In particular, criminal cases which seriously imperil social security and attract much attention from the public shall be heard and adjudicated in a timely manner under the premise of guaranteeing the handling quality of the case.

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