China is reshuffling its court system and centralizing power, ostensibly to fight corruption. The Wall Street Journal reports on the pilot program, which could become a “nationwide reform”:
Judicial reforms being undertaken in China could, in theory, curtail a long-standing the problem with the country’s legal system: the ability of local government to conceal illegal activities through their control over local courts. […]The most notable reform would transfer to provincial governments the power over finances and personnel in basic courts, now held by local governments and People’s Congresses. The proposed reforms will begin as pilot projects in six areas that differ widely (Shanghai, Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan and Qinghai). […]Senior judges would no longer decide the salaries and promotion of lower-level judges. The accountability system that is now used to evaluate lower level judges, based heavily on the number of cases that are remanded or reversed, would be changed.
This is one more sign that Beijing is focusing governmental powers as close to Xi Jinping and his cadre as possible.