China’s Parliament Expands Use of In Absentia Trials Targeting ‘Absconders’

But lawyers say political refugees who flee the country to evade persecution could also be targeted under the revised law.

China’s parliament has passed amendments to criminal procedure law to allow courts to try more people in absentia, particularly if they have fled overseas.

The standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the amendments last week allowing judgments to be delivered in corruption and “terrorism” cases in a bid to target former officials and others who flee overseas, Wang Aili, director of the Criminal Law Office with the NPC’s Legal Affairs Commission, told a news conference in Beijing.

China began using in absentia trials in 2016, but the new amendments will expand their use, with the main purpose of targeting absconders in corruption cases, Wang said.

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