Commentary: China's commitment to rule of law

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-22 22:25:36

Bo Xilai was sentenced to life in prison on Sunday for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Bo's case has underscored China's resolve to severely punish corruption and uphold the rule of law.

The verdict makes Bo, former member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau and former secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, one of the highest officials to be convicted for corruption in recent years.

The handling of the case, from placing Bo under investigation, transferring him to judicial organs, initiating a public prosecution, to hearing the case, has been advanced along the track of the rule of law from the very beginning.

The CPC's anti-corruption plan -- to fighting corruption by legal means -- have been forcefully demonstrated in the judicial progress. The court has actively explored judicial transparency.

During the hearing, the defendant and his lawyers fully applied their procedural rights, such as presenting and questioning the evidence and defending their opinions. The court also summoned witnesses to testify on key facts.

Attended by journalists and people from various walks of life, the trial was far more open than previous ones concerning senior officials. A court spokesman was available to address the media during adjournments.

The court unprecedentedly opened an official microblog account to publish the trial transcripts, prompting heated discussions about the case among netizens.

The court not only made public the proceedings and results of the trial, but also gave the legal basis and reasoning for the judgment in the verdict announced Sunday.

It was a vivid demonstration of how the rule of law should be implemented.

Bo's trial illustrates China's determination to fight corruption in accordance with the law.

No exception will be made when it comes to Party discipline and law. Violators will be severely punished no matter who are involved and no matter how high their posts.

China's Criminal Law stipulates that, "the law shall be equally applied to anyone who commits a crime. No one shall have the privilege of transcending the law."

Bo's verdict came after the investigation and punishment of a number of senior officials in the latest crackdown on corruption.

In early July, former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun received a suspended death sentence for taking bribes and abusing his power.

Also on the list are Jiang Jiemin, former head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and Li Chuncheng, former deputy Party chief in Sichuan Province, both of whom were sacked for suspected "serious discipline violations." In addition, Liu Tienan, a former deputy chief of China's top economic planning body, was put under judicial investigation for suspected bribery in August.

The top leadership has approved a 2013-2017 work plan for establishing and improving the system for punishing and preventing corruption. For the CPC, building a system against corruption is a "major political task;" for the whole of society, that is a common responsibility.

Moreover, Bo's trial is another resolute move of China to unswervingly push forward the rule of law.

In 1996, the rule of law was written into the outline of the ninth five-year plan for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives to 2010, becoming an important principle, or a "milestone," for China's modernization.

In 1999, "the rule of law" was enshrined in the country's constitution, giving it more legal clout. A socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was established in 2010 as scheduled.

The "rule of law" does not only mean running state affairs according to law, it also means that administrators must obey the law and handle state affairs through legal means.

The CPC will convene the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November, which will set the agenda for reform in the coming years.

Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee 35 years ago, reform has vitalized the Chinese society, dramatically changed people's lives, and cultivated open minds and belief in the rule of law.

It could be anticipated that no matter what kind of reform is introduced or what kind of signal is sent out by the November meeting, it cannot be manifested without the rule of law.

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