China, US court rulings show judicial trust: experts

Politics posing a challenge to judicial cooperation: expert

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The "unprecedented" move of China and the US to acknowledge and accept each other's court decisions reflects a great deal of judicial trust, Chinese experts said.

The US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday accepted the Suzhou Intermediate People's Court's decision on the case of Qiu Qinrong and Zhang Hongying for defaulting on loans, after which Qiu filed a lawsuit before the US court when he discovered that the couple and their son, who lives in California, allegedly transferred money illegally. 

"The evidence the plaintiff submitted demonstrates the Chinese court granted a monetary recovery and that the judgment is final, conclusive, and enforceable. The plaintiff has also demonstrated that the Chinese court was an impartial tribunal that had subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction over Zhang and X (Zhang's wife)," reads the US court's decision.

In June, the Wuhan Intermediate People's Court in Central China's Hubei Province recognized and enforced a US court's decision on commercial cases, which marks the first time China acknowledged a US court's decision on commercial cases, China National Radio reported. 

These two cases reflect a positive trend in judicial trust between China and the US, and that Chinese legal attitudes toward US court rulings are changing, Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the China Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies told the Global Times.

China has always tried to improve relations and cooperation with the US. It used to be limited to economic and trade cooperation, but may cover the judicial system in the near future, Liu said, adding that since the two countries have increased exchanges, they need to reach a certain level of consensus on law enforcement. 

Established in 1998, the China-US Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG) is a major mechanism and platform for the two sides to coordinate and communicate on law enforcement cooperation.

The seven working groups under the JLG are for anti-cyber crimes, anti-corruption, criminal judicial assistance, IPR criminal enforcement, arresting criminals, deporting illegal immigrants and cracking down on illegal immigration, and a subgroup for drug control.

Sensitive issues

Aside from progress on civil cases, China and the US are also cooperating on criminal cases and in the search for criminals, Huang Feng, head of Beijing Normal University's Institute for International Criminal Law, told the Global Times.

The US is a major destination for corrupt Chinese officials and economic fugitives, but through the JLG, China has worked closely with the US to apprehend and have them extradited. Some on the Interpol "most wanted" list have been returned to China.

However, Liu said that extraditing fugitives from the US might be difficult in practice as China has no extradition treaty with the US. "The issue of fugitives may involve a lot of sensitive issues, such as international relations. And it's hard to put aside politics on matters involving international judicial cooperation," Liu said.