Judges in China Ordered Not to “Frolic,” Hold Hands

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Earlier this month, the highest court in China’s Henan province issued a comprehensive set of regulations it said were intended to "improve judicial etiquette."  They are pretty exhaustive, to the point that one might wonder what the hell exactly has been going on in courtrooms in Henan.

Some are fairly straightforward, such as those requiring that lawyers and witnesses be treated with respect, or at least that they not be called "annoying."  As the latter rule suggests, the high court seems to be concerned about some very specific phrases, including "Are you the judge or am I?" and "You will certainly lose this case."

Also no longer approved for Henan judges:

  • Heavy makeup
  • Tattoos or painted nails
  • Hair dye
  • Long hair, shaven heads, beards
  • Jewelry
  • "Frolicking" (no definition provided)
  • Holding hands with colleagues

These rules seem to apply to male and female judges alike, except that only male judges are barred from having long hair or beards.

According to the Beijing Times, undercover officers would be deployed to monitor court proceedings and ensure the rules were being followed.  Judges who break the rules will receive "criticism and education," which, like the concept of "frolicking," was not defined further.

Link: Reuters