Song Yushui: Judge from the Grass Roots
2011-02-18Editor:Zhao Chenxi 
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Song was born in 1966 in a village in Peng Lai, Shandong Province. Her teachers recall she was a good student and class monitor. "Although no prodigy, she studied hard, and was class monitor in charge of studies. Song talked little other than when she made her weekly report to the teacher."

Song Yushui: Judge from the Grass Roots
Song Yushui began her legal career in 1985, when she enrolled at the Law School of Renmin University of China in Beijing and acquired a basic knowledge of law and its applications.

Song Yushui began work at the Haidian People's Court Economic Chamber in 1989. As a rural resident she has an innate compassion for vulnerable social groups, but is aware that compassion is no substitute for law and justice. As a judge, Song has often encountered the conflict between justice and humanity.

One occasion was when a fellow rural dweller came to Song and asked for her help with a lawsuit he had filed in Song's sub-court. Song felt cornered. She would have been willing to help him in any way she could, other than in a lawsuit in which she was judge. The man sensed her misgivings and told her, "I understand your situation. You have your principles." In the end, he lost the case because many of the agreements in question had not been properly documented.  

Song Yushui sticks to the three main principles of giving due attention to small matters because they relate to people's livelihood; treating all people involved equally; and giving every person that comes to court a fair hearing.

Song was a country girl who gained a college education with the help of government allowances. She has never forgotten her roots, and remembers well her first case.

It was that of an impoverished migrant worker who was suing a restaurant for non-payment of the vegetables he had supplied it for the past year. As the restaurant had actually changed hands many times since the original transaction, Song ordered the current restaurant owner to pay the bill for the vegetables in question and to obtain compensation from the previous owner. When he finally received what he was owed, the migrant worker wept, saying he would use the paltry sum to pay for his sick wife's medication and his child's schooling.

Song Yushui admits that she cares most about disadvantaged groups, whom she calls "people outside the door," meaning those excluded from life's fundamental rights and pleasures, such as going to a concert.

Song was elected a deputy to the 11th National People's Congress in 2008. She describes her first experience in the nation's highest organ of power as both "exciting" and "surprising".

Song was impressed with the democratic ethos at the congress, and at the keenness of representatives from all walks,including common laborers, to fulfill their responsibilities. Their hard work and life experiences prompted them to speak out on fundamental matters in efforts to meet high expectations. Song recalls that she learned a practical political lesson each day at the congress that year.

"I think of being elected as NPC deputy as a responsibility rather than an honor. In that capacity, I will do my best at the conference to fulfill my obligations and share my opinions," Song Yushui said.

(Source:, Translated by

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