China's top court said Thursday that it will select 10 classic cases among 20 candidates in 2017 that influenced the country and pushed forward the building of a stronger legal framework.
The selection activity and the 20 candidates have been open to the public on the website of the Supreme People's Court, according to a statement of the top court.
The activity, held jointly with China Central Television, will end Jan 10, and the result will be disclosed at the beginning of next month.
The 20 candidates covered several high-profile cases that ignited heated discussions in the public last year, "and their judgments showed the justice and legal significance behind the cases deserved further study," said Shen Deyong, vice-president of the top court.
For example, Chen Wenhui, the ringleader of a telecom fraud gang who was blamed in the death of promising young student Xu Yuyu in Shandong province, was sentenced to life in prison in July.
The 22-year-old convict, together with the gang, cheated many victims out of more than 560,000 yuan ($83,000) from November 2015 to August 2016. More than 23,000 calls were made in which scammers posed as educational, financial or real estate officials.
Telecom fraud took on national significance in August 2016 when Xu, a 18-year-old university candidate from Linyi, Shandong, died of cardiac arrest after being conned out of the 9,900 yuan she had saved for her college tuition.
The case urged Chinese judicial authorities to increase protections against telecom fraud, while in June 2017 the top court issued a guideline to provide heavier punishments for those illegally using others' private data.
Another case in Shandong also moved the public. In June 2017, the Provincial High People’s Court cut Yu Huan’s life sentence to five years in prison after he appealed on the basis of self-defense.
Yu, 22, was given life imprisonment for intentional injury in February last year by a court in the province's Liaocheng city, after he stabbed four debt collectors with a knife. One of them died.
Yu appealed to the higher court, as he said he and his mother were confronted by several debt collectors in April 2016, adding his stabbing aimed to protect his mother and was an act of self-defense.
"Yu's incident became the hottest case last year, and related information was forwarded millions of times online," a statement of the top court said.
"It encouraged the public to learn Chinese laws, and also increased legal supervision from residents."
It's the third time that the top court has actively held the selection, "as we want to push forward the nation's building of the rule of law and explain our laws and work to the public through these individual cases," Shen said.
"I hope the value of the selected cases can urge judges to be more professional in hearing disputes, and can regulate our trials and enhance public legal awareness," he added.