Legal reform tops agenda for fourth plenum

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-20 20:38:02

It has been nearly two years since Xi Jinping was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. So far he has won the hearts of the people with his firm determination and powerful implementation abilities, which are especially reflected in his anti-corruption campaign.

Xi has brought hope to the Chinese people. China needs a determined leadership, but at the same time, one critical issue that China faces is to further boost the rule of law.

The rule of law is a set of rules established by the country based on democracy. The rule will be monitored by independent institutions. Everybody holds certain expectations toward the others, and those who violate the laws will be punished.

As Xi has said that "power should be restricted by the cage of regulations," those who hold power should know the boundary of their power. Once they exceed the boundary, they are breaking the law.

Party leaders are gathering for the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in Beijing this week, and their focus is to bolster the rule of law.

Xi has also put legal reforms at the top of his agenda as he seeks to institutionalize his anti-graft campaign, which has now come to a critical moment.

Some issues need to be tackled urgently. For example, can we set up systematic rules to replace the campaign-like anti-corruption efforts?

Over the past 30 years, China has never given up the concept of the rule of law. Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping emphasized the rule of law in many of his speeches.

Indeed, China has changed the situation where there was often no law to stick to and has issued a number of laws.

After the market economy was implemented, a set of associated rules were also released.

Despite all these progresses, the dilemma is that the laws have not been implemented well. The authority of the rule of law has to be consolidated.

It is a fresh move that the current plenary session sets establishing the rule of law at the top of its agenda. Recalling the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee last year, we can see the gradual improvement.

Over the past year, the spirit of reforms has remained high. This is good as China does have a lot of problems, some of which are core issues that concern the country's further development. Only reforms can tackles these problems and unite people's hearts.

The 60-point decision document outlined in the third plenary session has set the roadmap and timeline of China's reforms. This is also a parameter to testify to the governance ability of the CPC Central Committee.

Now the fourth plenary session has arrived. As the meeting takes the rule of law as its central theme, it shows the CPC is striving for a complete legal system. If the rule of law can be truly established, it will fundamentally strengthen the country's governance system.

This is certainly not an easy task. China has neither a tradition nor a history of the rule of law. If China can bring the rule of law onto the right track, it will greatly boost the country's development.

Wang Qishan, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, once set the goal of a situation where Party members "don't want to be corrupt, can't be corrupt and dare not commit corruption."

Now most officials dare not commit corruption thanks to the anti-corruption wave over the past two years. But it remains to be seen how a system can be set up to make officials not want to be corrupt or unable to be corrupt.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen based on an interview with Huang Weiping, director of the Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute, Shenzhen University.

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