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172,600 Legal Aid Cases Handled in 1st Half Year

The number of legal aid cases handled in China reached 172,600 in the first half of 2007, 38.3 percent more than last year's corresponding period.

According to the legal aid center of the Ministry of Justice, 214,000 people received legal aid, and 1.68 million person-time inquiries were registered, 24.7 percent more than the corresponding period last year.

Legal aid fees reached 270 million yuan in the first six months.

Relevant clauses on legal aid were added into the Criminal Procedural Law and the Lawyer Law in 1996 and, in the following year, China's Legal Aid Foundation and China Legal Aid Center were officially established. Regulation on Legal Aid was formerly promulgated in 2003.

China had 3,171 legal aid organizations of and above the county level by the end of June of this year.

Legal assistance organizations in China, banned from seeking profit, offer free legal aid to those who are unable to hire a lawyer.

The money for the programs come mainly from three sources: government funds, private donations and lawyer's free service.

(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2007)

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