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Chinese Communist Party announces legal reforms

Move comes at a time when slowing growth raises prospect of more commercial disputes

Beijing

CHINA'S Communist Party unveiled legal reforms on Thursday aimed at giving judges more independence and limiting local officials' influence over courts, but it made no mention of the fate of its former domestic security chief who is under investigation for corruption.

The moves, made at a closed-door meeting of the ruling party's elite, are pivotal to the workings of China's market economy, the world's second largest. They come at a time when slowing growth raises the prospect of more commercial disputes.

The measures reflect worries by China's leaders about rising social unrest in recent years. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution - issues often left unresolved by the courts...

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