The Underlying Reasons of the Low Rate of Criminal Witness Testifying in China

Wang Chao


To ensure that witnesses testify in court, the National People's Congress (NPC) created large-scale modifications in witnesses testifying system when amending the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) of the People's Republic of China (P.R.C) (1996 Revision) in 2012. Theoretical circles generally believe that a perfect witness testifying system can help witnesses to testify in court. China’s witnesses testifying system has made remarkable progress from the legal text in 2012. However, judging from the judicial practice in recent years, the proportion of criminal witnesses appearing in court has not been significantly improved. The underlying cause of the unexpected situation is not the various defects of witness testifying system in China itself, but the operating environment of witness testifying system. Further speaking, whether high or low, the proportion of criminal witnesses appearing in court has no substantive impact on the criminal trial. Especially in cases where criminal trial become formalistic, many people’s courts do not need witnesses to testify in court.

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