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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 59-62

Development of China's forensic science in statistics: 2005-2016


1 Key laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, Ministry of Education; Research Centre of Forensic Science Standards, China University of Political Science and Law, China
2 Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Public Security, China

Date of Web Publication30-Mar-2018

Correspondence Address:
Xu Wang
Key laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, Ministry of Education
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_80_17

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  Abstract 

In today's scientific fact-finding, forensic science bears the responsibility of ascertaining authenticity and restoring the truth. With the acceleration of China's internationalization and judicial reforms, forensic science has begun to play a prominent role in judicial trials, where its function and value have received unprecedented attention. In this article, the authors have reviewed 10 years of development in China's forensic science between 2005 and 2016.

Keywords: Forensic science, statistics, standards


How to cite this article:
Wang X, Jiao HJ, Zhu HB, Yuan H. Development of China's forensic science in statistics: 2005-2016. J Forensic Sci Med 2018;4:59-62

How to cite this URL:
Wang X, Jiao HJ, Zhu HB, Yuan H. Development of China's forensic science in statistics: 2005-2016. J Forensic Sci Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 May 28];4:59-62. Available from: https://www.jfsmonline.com/text.asp?2018/4/1/59/229001


  Development of China's Forensic Science 2005-2016: Statistics on Social Forensic Examination Institutions Top


In 2005, after the implementation of the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the Administration of Forensic Examination (adopted at the 14 th Session of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People's Congress on February 28, 2005; hereinafter referred to as the 2.28 Decision), the affairs of forensic science examinations are comprehensively separated from the judicial system and opened to the society. Thus, the number of forensic examination institutions and personnel increased substantially, which ushered in the peak of development in forensic science.

Growth in the number of forensic examinations

According to statistical data, in 2005, the total number of forensic examinations was 266241. By the end of 2015, the total number of forensic examinations was over 2 million [Figure 1]; [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] as of the end of 2016, the total number of forensic examinations for all categories in China was 2.126 million. The number of forensic examinations has been increasing in the past decade.
Figure 1: Total forensic examinations and forensic medical examinations in 2006-2015

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Number of institutions

The number of forensic examination institutions across the country reached 1385 in 2005. As of the end of 2016, 4750 forensic examination institutions and 53,928 forensic experts have been approved by and registered in judicial administrative organizations. This remarkable rate of growth is unprecedented in the history of China's forensic science [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Changes in the number of medico-legal forensic examination institutions in 2006-2015

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Statistics in categories of forensic examination

In China, forensic science was divided into three major categories: forensic medicine, physical evidence, and audio and visual materials. Forensic medicine is further divided into clinical forensic medicine, forensic pathology, forensic biology, forensic toxicology, and forensic psychiatry; physical evidence is further divided into questioned document examination, trace evidence, and microscopic evidence; audio and visual materials are further divided into audio-visual materials, computer forensics and digital evidence. Together there are 11 subcategories. A fourth category, which is called environmental damage identification, was added ever after 2016. Currently, there are 20 subcategories of forensic examination, and the details are [Figure 3]. [10]
Figure 3: Pie chart on the scope of national forensic examinations in 2015

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Structure education attainment of forensic examiners

The number of forensic examiners who attained a bachelor's degree, which is the basic academic qualifications of a forensic examiner, was 35,447. It took up 64% of the total figure. Those who attained a doctoral or master's degree was 7510, which accounts for 13%. The structural variations in the educational attainment of forensic examiners over the past 10 years are shown in [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Structural variations in education attainment of national forensic examiners in 2005-2016

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  Standardization Construction of Forensic Science Top


To some extent, the rapid development of China's forensic science benefits from its own standardization construction.

The standardization of forensic science is a global judicial topic that has attracted the attention of judiciaries in all countries. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward was published by the US National Research Council. The National Institute of Standards and Technology established the Forensic Science Standards Committees, which are dedicated to the standardization of research and institutional forensic science. The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes is also committed to the standardization of forensic science in Europe. [11]

The standardization of China's forensic science relies mainly on two measures: (1) Laboratory certification and accreditation. According to the latest statistics released by the China National Accreditation Service, as of December 31, 2016, China has accredited 443 forensic science laboratories and 166 examination institutions within the judicial system, and (2) Establishing the system of technical standards. Below are the preliminary statistics on the current status of the technical standards for forensic science.

Analysis on the total number and categories of China's forensic science standards

As of June 2016, the total number of national standards and industry standards for forensic science in China was over 370. Their content involves a full range of the development of forensic science disciplines, including toxicology, physicochemistry, forensic medicine, fingerprints, trace evidence, photographs and videos, digital evidence, document examination, criminal information, forensic technology products, crime scene investigation, intelligent speech technology, and psychological tests, among others [Figure 5].
Figure 5: Distribution of established standards among forensic science disciplines

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Level of China's forensic science standards

In China, the standards of forensic examination are divided into national standards and industry standards. [Figure 6] shows the distribution of established standards divided into national standards and industry standards according to their level and scope of application. Based on the overall framework and standards level of all forensic science standards, industry standards accounted for 92% of the total, whereas national standards accounted for 8%.
Figure 6: Statistical data on established forensic science standards

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Classification of China's forensic science standards by target area

To safeguard the accuracy and objectivity of expert opinions in judicial practice, its regulations should be formulated based on the materials, samples, instruments, reagents, and procedures used during the forensic examination, while the appropriate norms and standards were developed.

For standardization organizations that are relatively more developed, if the technical level of standardization is high enough to reach the international advanced or domestic top level, the service objects of standardization will change or transform accordingly, from technology or product areas to management, information, environment, infrastructure, and other services areas. Standardized objects will even be transferred in the process of transformation of technical standards, so that the upgrading of products (technologies) can be promoted. [12] [Figure 7] shows a pie chart on the classification of forensic science standards based on their applicable target area.
Figure 7: Statistical data on established forensic science standards

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  Advancements in China's Forensic Science Technology from the Perspective of Forensic Medicine Top


The improvement and development of science and technology implies that the issues currently faced by forensic science are complex, diverse, and technologically advanced. Taking forensic medicine as an example, the number of items for examination in judicial practice has now exceeded 200. Areas such as personal identification of the bodies of victims in large-scale disasters, forensic examination of complex kinships, forensic examination of bone age, forensic examination of nontraumatic death, forensic examination of poisoning, and among others have resulted in new demands for technology in forensic medicine. [13]

Based on the volume of international journals on Chinese forensic medicine over the past decade, basic scientific research in forensic medicine has begun to develop rapidly with the country's increasing support for forensic scientific research after 2008. The number of research journal articles published by Chinese scholars gradually grew over the year, and the frequency of citations increased significantly. Its academic impact rose each year. In this paper, I will take forensic clinical medicine as an example to talk about the development of China's forensic science for the past decade.

Clinical forensic medicine

In China, clinical forensic medicine studies on all medical problems in the living injuries regarding the law. [14] Forensic clinical research is one of the characteristics of forensic medicine in China. There are four major aspects:

  1. The technology on the objective assessment of human physical functions, which has become the core technology of clinical forensic medicine. The relevant technologies have already become the core technologies of clinical forensic medicine. Due to the unique litigation psychology of the examined party, while also considering the requirements for forensic examinations in the law of evidence, clinical forensic medicine has made advances in clinical medicine to expand research on the objective assessment of human physical functions. Among these, novel auxiliary examination technologies have begun to play an increasingly important role in forensic examination, which include multi-slice spiral computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed radiography, and color Doppler ultrasound. This also includes researches related to traditional neuronal electrophysiology, multifocal electrophysiology, event-related potentials (ERPs), MRI, and cognitive function. For example, ERP can be used to evaluate the cognitive status of patients with traumatic brain injury
  2. Research on issues related to personal identification of living persons, such as basic research on the age determination and appearance identification of living persons. The application of radiographic imaging in dental age determination and bone age determination in living persons has led to the formation of examination standards with practical significance
  3. Researches using interdisciplinary theories and methods on establishing different norms and standards of bodily injuries, which are highly active. Researches related to the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, and Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment from the American Medical Association) are highly active, too. Such as researches involving the assessment of limb function, assessment of hand function [Figure 8], assessment of limb function based on the GEPI, [15] these researches play a promoting role
  4. Researches related to forensic examination of medical malpractice, which has become a popular area of research in China's clinical forensic medicine.


In summary, over the past 10 years, the mission of forensic science in China has been to serve the law and the judiciary; its essence has been to comply with the principles of the law of evidence, and its main methods are modern scientific technology. Its objective has been to provide various forms of judicial trials with the relevant evidence. With advancements in technology and the rapid growth of its scope, forensic science has become an important discipline, which provides the necessary technical support for the impartiality of justice.
Figure 8: Objective assessment of visual acuity based on traditional visual electrophysiology

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Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

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Yu L, Sha-Sha L. Statistical analysis on national forensic examinations in forensic medicine, physical evidence, and audio and visual materials in 2006. Chin J Forensic Sci 2007;31:76-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Ling-Yun D, Zhen-Yu Z, Ling-Yun RL. Statistical analysis on national forensic examinations in 2014. Chin J Forensic Sci 2015;81:116-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Ling-Yun D, Zhen-Yu Z. Statistical analysis on national forensic examinations in 2015. Chin J Forensic Sci 2016;86:79-82.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). Guideline for Evaluative Reporting in Forensic Science. Approved Version 3.0. European Network of Forensic Science Institutes; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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He-Juan J, Yi Q, Chang-Lin W, Yang-Ke Q. Analysis on the applicability evaluation of forensic science standards in China. Forensic Sci Technol 2016;41:476-81.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Yi-Ping H. Thoughts on the strategic development of forensic medicine research in the 13 th Five-Year Plan. Chin J Forensic Sci 2016;85:57-63.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Xu W. Forensic clinical medicine in China: Current status, technical standards and scientific research. Chin J Forensic Sci 2016;87:68-72.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Tian-Tong Y, Meng Y. Guidelines for the practical application of the "Guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment (Sixth Edition)". Evid Sci 2015;23:359-70.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8]



 

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