China judge blasts Trump as 'enemy of rule of law'

(Saul Loeb, AFP)
(Saul Loeb, AFP)

Beijing - A top Chinese judge has branded US President Donald Trump a bully and an "enemy of the rule of law" for attacking the US judiciary as China revels in the upheaval gripping the world's leading democracy.

Trump launched a tirade against US District Judge James Robart for suspending his travel ban on people from seven majority Muslim nations last week, deriding him as a "so-called judge".

He Fan, of the Supreme People's Court of China, likened Trump's criticism to the murder of a judge in China in January.

"A president criticising judges and bandits murdering judges are all enemies of the rule of law," he wrote on his public WeChat social media page on Sunday.

"In a country claiming to be the most democratic and most based on rule-of-law, for a president to lead the charge in scolding judges... makes him no different from a bully without dignity!"

READ: Allowing travel ban would 'unleash chaos again' - states

Twitter outbursts

Since Trump's inauguration in January, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party has blasted the "systemic crisis" facing capitalist Western democracies, hailing the superiority of China's authoritarian system.

Trump's threats to get tough with what he sees as unfair Chinese trade practices have sparked fury in Beijing while his Twitter outbursts against the media have prompted scathing commentary in China's nationalist publications.

Senior officials in China's highest court are appointed by the rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, and are expected to toe the line of the ruling Communist Party, not act as a check on its power.

He Fan's comments are jarring given that Chinese President Xi Jinping has rolled out a crackdown on lawyers who have taken on cases deemed sensitive by the leadership.

Authorities, touting the slogan "rule of law", have arrested hundreds of campaigners and lawyers in a sweeping attack on legal activism.

Chinese courts have a conviction rate of 99.92%.

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