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The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Justice Under Rule of Law in Society project began in 2012 and works to strengthen the rule of law and access to justice in select locations in China. Key objectives include: improved capability of stakeholders to protect rights; increased access to legal assistance for citizens; and improved citizens’ awareness of their legal rights. The program is a response to the dynamic reform environment underway in China, and is scheduled to continue until 2016.
STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW
The project is designed to assist three key sectors of the Chinese legal system: administrative law, criminal law, and additional protections for victims of domestic violence and intellectual property rights.
The activities are designed to create a more favorable environment for national administrative and criminal procedure law reform, based on workable models from provincial and local-level pilot projects. Local level project locations include: Beijing, Anhui, Chongqing, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu and Shaanxi.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW REFORM
The project is also working to improve the administrative law framework promoting government transparency, public participation and legal assistance for citizens. This includes strengthening administrative procedure requirements at national and local levels; improving the capacity of stakeholders in selected locations; supporting law schools and civil society organizations to provide legal aid on administrative law cases; and conducting public education and outreach activities.
SUPPORTING CRIMINAL LAW DEFENSE SERVICES
Defense lawyers are being trained to implement China’s new and more rights-protective Criminal Procedure Law. The project increases the quantity and quality of indigent criminal defense services provided by legal assistance providers, establishes civil sector criminal legal aid models to increase access to justice for indigent defendants and promotes the development of a professional and educational network for defense lawyers.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Significant effort is underway to identify and support access to justice efforts relating to a number of emerging legal issues in China. To better protect victims of domestic violence, the project team helps judges, legal educators, and lawyers to more fully understand the rights of victims and available legal remedies. The project also provides legal aid to victims of abuse and improves citizen awareness on domestic violence issues.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
In the area of intellectual property rights, the project supports policy research and reform.
The Asia Foundation and American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Last updated: March 21, 2014