Courts throughout nation harden their resolve to tackle domestic disputes

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated : May 25, 2022

Chinese courts have strengthened their efforts to hear domestic disputes in recent years and have used different ways to handle them, with the number of such cases remaining high.

Last year, courts nationwide heard some 1.65 million cases involving marital and family issues, including divorce and property distribution, according to the annual work report released by the Supreme People's Court, the country's top court, in March. The respective figures in 2019 and 2018 were 1.85 million and 1.81 million.

To avoid children being harmed in cases of parental conflict, some courts, including those in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Hubei and Henan provinces, have stepped up their efforts to resolve such disputes through mediation.

Courts in Beijing and Fujian province have invited social workers to help conduct surveys and provide psychological counseling in handling cases, the top court said.

The top court has also worked with the All-China Women's Federation to improve family surveys, mediation and psychological consultations. It has sought to alleviate domestic disputes and retain family stability in a more comprehensive and civilized manner.

In late November, Zheng Xuelin, chief judge of the top court's No 1 Civil Division, said courts across the country would resolutely handle cases of domestic violence inflicted on victims of marital disputes, especially women, children, the elderly and the disabled.

The top court's work report also said that courts at all levels issued 2,169 personal safety protection orders last year, 165 more than in 2019. Protection orders are similar to restraining orders in the West.

Liu Min, deputy chief judge of the division, said, "We're considering slightly lowering the bar for the standard of evidence from victims if we discover they're very likely experiencing domestic violence. We're hoping the orders, the first legal step in stopping such attacks … can play a bigger role in building a firewall between victims and perpetrators."

The top court said a marital relationship should be ended if it is found to be truly broken and poses a significant risk of incidents such as domestic violence and abuse.

It added that properly resolving domestic disputes is crucial in preventing civil conflicts from becoming crimes.

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