China’s ruling Communist Party has pledged to take action against officials who interfere with judicial processes.

A communique at the end of the fourth plenum of the 18th Central Committee last month ‘set a blueprint for the rule of law’, official news reports said. In future the government will ‘try to recruit lawmakers, judges and prosecutors from qualified lawyers and law experts’, the communique said, promising to establish a mechanism by which officials could be penalised or criticised on public notices if found to have interfered in cases.

Analysts interpreted the announcement as an attempt by Beijing to clamp down on commercial activities by local governments.