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People's Daily Online

China stresses authority of Constitution, pledges judicial reform

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 07:15, October 29, 2014

BEIJING, Oct. 28 -- The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee published the full text of last weeks' decision on the rule of law on Tuesday, along with an explanation by President Xi Jinping.

The decision, adopted at the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Thursday, stressed the supreme authority of the Constitution, and promised wide ranging changes to the judicial system.

The CPC leadership is the fundamental guarantee of the rule of law, and the Constitution is the fundamental law. Government officials must now pledge their allegiance to the Constitution before taking office.

Xi said the Party must comprehensively promote rule of law to build a well-off society, to deepen reform and to achieve the Chinese dream of a rejuvenated nation.

The decision was drafted by a group headed by Xi and his two deputies Zhang Dejiang, top legislator, and Wang Qishan, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC.

CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY

According to the decision, all officials elected or appointed by people's congresses or their standing committees, at all levels, must now take a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

This is a deliberate underlining of the authority of the Constitution, the 'basic law' governing the country, according CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi. Dec. 4 has been designated Constitution Day.

The country will set up a list of government powers and ban administrative authorities from any extralegal activity. Law-abiding government will be promoted with functions, authority, procedures and responsibilities clearly laid out and mandated in law, and strictly practiced in line with law, said Xi.

Problems in administration and law enforcement such as failure to enforce the law or bending the law for personal gain will be strictly dealt with, Xi said.

A government power list will squeeze out the room for rent-seeking and no government authority will be allowed to exercise extralegal power. No decision may undermine the rights and interests of citizens, corporations or other organizations, the decision says. Additional obligations for citizens or others may not be created without legal authorization.

A system to put major government decisions through checks and reviews will be established and authorities will have legal advisors to ensure their decisions and administrative work are in line with the law.

The vitality of law lies in its implementation, and the authority of law is established during its implementation, Xi said.

The passage of national anti-graft legislation should be accelerated and the system to punish and prevent corruption improved, with the goal of setting up an effective anti-graft mechanism so 'government officials dare not, cannot and do not want to be corrupt'.

In another development on Tuesday, Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, has confessed to taking bribes. Military prosecutors have finished their investigation and started the procedure to file the case. Xu was previously expelled from the Party, discharged from military service and stripped of his rank of general.

JUDICIAL REFORM

Xi warned of serious problems in China's judicial system and pledged to end judicial injustice.

Declaring that the judicial system dogged by unfair trials and corrupt judges, he denounced judges and prosecutors who manipulate cases in exchange for money or favors. 'Some even go two ways by draining both the defendant and the plaintiff,' he said.

The reason for these problems is a judicial system that is neither effective nor complete, he said. The reform plan includes guarantees of independence for courts and prosecutors.

New rules will monitor intervention in court cases by senior Party and government officials, publish their records and hold them responsible. Officials will be banned from asking judical departments to breach their duty and judicial departments will be forbidden from following such orders.

Courts and procuratorates with jurisdictions spanning different administrative regions are under consideration to eliminate interference and improve the independence of courts and prosecutors, said Xi.

The number of cases involving different administrative regions and the amount of money involved has been increasing with the development of the socialist market economy, said the President. As a result, local officials have paid growing attention to such cases, with some using their posts to meddle in cases within their jurisdiction.

This is prejudicial to the rights of parties from other administrative regions and the independence of courts. It undermines the government's role in supervising and administering by law, and ensuring fair law enforcement, Xi said.

The Supreme People's Court (SPC) will set up circuit courts for major administrative, civil and commercial cases involving different administrative regions, making it easier for local communities to file suit and helping to solve conflicts at a local level, Xi said. It will also allow SPC headquarters to concentrate on judicial policy and try important cases that have profound, guiding significance in the application of law.

THE FUNDAMENTAL GUARANTEE

Xi said the relationship between the Party and the rule of law is 'the core issue for the building a country with the rule of law.'

The Party's leadership, socialism with Chinese characteristics and implementing the theory of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics are the 'keys to do well in comprehensively promoting rule of law.'

The National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, must report issues concerning the formulation and revision of law to the CPC Central Committee if they involve important institutional or policy adjustments.

'Party's leadership is the essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the fundamental guarantee of socialist rule of law,' said Xi said in his explanation.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the foundation for the system of socialist rule of law, and a systemic guarantee for comprehensively promoting the rule of law, Xi added.

The Party's leadership and the rule of law are consistent with each other, as socialist rule of law must adhere to the Party's leadership, while the Party's leadership must rely on socialist rule of law, the decision says.

Xi said China will consistently follow the path of socialist rule of law. The way that embodies the achievements and experience of building socialist rule of law is the only right course.



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