Chinese judges have faced "notably less" interference from officials both out of and within the judicial system, said Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, when reporting the development of judicial reforms to the top legislature on Wednesday.
Courts have recorded and reported interventions from leading officials and senior judges and held them responsible, Zhou said, at the ongoing bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Judges were granted more autonomy in making judgements and handing down sentences, he said.
About 98 percent of court cases have been decided by individual judges or a panel of judges, instead of submitting them to a trial committee mostly made up of president and vice presidents of a court.
In the past few years, the Supreme People's Court has placed local courts under the direct supervision of provincial courts to minimize intervention from other authorities at the same level.
In 21 provincial divisions, personnel management of city and county courts are under the supervision of provincial courts, according to Zhou.
In 13 provincial regions, budgets of local courts come from provincial courts, he added.
Courts have also encouraged the public to take a more active part in trials. In 2016, about 220,000 citizens acted as jurors in about 3 million cases, accounting for 77.2 percent of all trials.
Despite the progress, Zhou said the courts are still facing some issues, particularly a shortage of competent judges in local courts.