BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese lawmakers on Friday elected Zhou Qiang president of the Supreme People's Court, making the 52-year-old the 10th chief justice since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.
On the same day, during the annual session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, NPC deputies also re-elected Cao Jianming, now 57, to a second term as procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Cao is the PRC's ninth chief procurator.
As the country's highest judicial organ, the Supreme People's Court oversees the administration of justice by local people's courts at multiple levels, as well as special courts. The president of the Supreme People's Court is also the country's chief justice.
Similarly, as the highest procuratorial organ, the Supreme People's Procuratorate leads local procuratorates at multiple levels and special procuratorates in performing their legal supervision functions.
The head of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, also the country's chief procurator, leads the country's 246,000 prosecutors at all levels.
Each with a master's degree in law, the newly-installed chief justice and procurator-general are carrying the weight of public expectations for justice.
RULE OF LAW
Born in central China's Hubei Province in 1960, Zhou spent two years as an "educated youth" -- a term referring to young intellectuals dispatched to the countryside from cities to learn from farmers from the 1950s through the 1970s.
In 1978, he enrolled in the law department of the Southwest College of Political Science and Law, now known as the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, in the city of Chongqing Municipality. He earned a master's degree in law at the school.
He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in September 1978.
After graduating in 1985, Zhou held a number of posts in the Ministry of Justice.
In November 1995, he left the ministry to become a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Youth League (CYL) Central Committee. He served on the CYL Central Committee for 11 consecutive years.
In June 1998, Zhou was elected first secretary of the CYL Central Committee and headed the country's largest youth organization for eight years, serving the longest term of service as first secretary since 1978.
Under his eight-year leadership, the CYL initiated a host of activities, including efforts to protect the Yangtze River and Yellow River and encourage college graduates to volunteer to work in underdeveloped western regions.
In 2006, Zhou left the CYL for CPC and government posts in central China's Hunan Province. He served as deputy secretary of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee, as well as acting governor and governor of Hunan. At that time, he was one of the youngest provincial governors in the country.
After assuming office in Hunan, he made public the limits of power vested in the province's 55 administrative enforcement departments.
He proposed strengthening the development of administrative procedures. For that purpose, he invited a number of leading experts to participate in Hunan's administrative legislation.
In October 2008, the Hunan Provincial Administrative Procedure Provisions were unveiled, the first of their kind in the country.
In 2010, Zhou Qiang was appointed the provincial CPC chief of Hunan, at which time he proposed governing Hunan by law.
In July 2011, the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee adopted the Essentials of Governing Hunan by Law, a guideline on exercising the rule of law in the province for the next decade.
"Via improvements in the rule of law, we can make people's democracy more institutionalized, standardized and procedural and on the track of the rule of law, expand citizens' orderly political participation," Zhou said.
With Zhou as its governor and CPC chief, Hunan witnessed rapid socioeconomic development.
In 2012, the province's GDP exceeded 2 trillion yuan (321.6 billion U.S. dollars). The Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan city cluster has played an increasingly important role as Hunan's core growth center.