Plenum ready to vigorously boost rule of law

By Sun Xiaobo Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-21 18:48:02

The fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee being held this week will push forward an all-round and comprehensive development of the rule of law.

Although the rule of law has been defined as a basic strategy of ruling China for 17 years, this is the first time that it has been made the central theme of a CPC plenary session.

A document to be published at the closing of the session is expected to set out paths for major issues key to the rule of law, which include building up the authority of laws in the work of governments, improving the public's legal consciousness, combating corruption with laws, and continuing the reform of the judicial system.

As the rule of law has been regarded as a basic approach for the Party in governance, it's essential to make sure that Party committees in addition to governments at all levels comply with the law during their work.

The rule of law has not been well carried out in practice despite its long existence, and now its authority should be further consolidated among officials.

The rule of law will be defined as a red line for officials, and anyone who overrides it will be punished. The session will set clear guidance in this respect.

While the rule of law is usually targeted at the government level, it is important to involve the general public in this process and discuss the improvement of the social awareness of law.

The public used to care more about getting the results they want when problems occur, regardless of rules. And ordinary people do not have much sense of their role in the rule of law. This cannot continue.

When other communities of the society such as governments are working toward the rule of law, people are also required to follow legal procedures when seeking a solution to any problem. This constitutes a basis for the efforts to promote the rule of law.

Anti-corruption has long been a focal point since China is developing a massive campaign on corruption. It is naturally high on the agenda.

It is time to emphasize the role of laws in anti-corruption work to make officials dare not to commit corruption and bring the campaign into a higher level where institutions should be put in place to make crackdown on corruption a long-term drive.

In this regard, the fourth plenum will set out the principles to guide the effort, and meetings by the CPC Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection will later work out specific measures accordingly.

Some observers say that the fourth plenum may give the disciplinary inspection organs more power.

Actually since the 18th CPC National Congress, big steps have been taken to strengthen the power of these organs to enhance their independence from Party committees at the same level, while making them subordinate to the higher-level disciplinary inspection authorities.

This session will send a clearer signal to acknowledge that the work of these organs fits in the current trend, but will not likely give more power to them.

Moreover, the ongoing judicial reform is considered a critical aspect of advancing the rule of law.

In fact, the third plenum has already worked out specific and major measures to push forward the reform. These include having local courts administered by higher judicial organs instead of local governments, and varied pilot programs that are being carried out in several regions like Shanghai.

It's more likely that the new session will work out a general principle and continue current steps.

A document that sets forth the basic elements of the rule of law, such as goals, principles, paths, systems and ways to push ahead the rule of law should be highly anticipated when this meeting of significance is closed.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Sun Xiaobo based on an interview with Yang Xiaojun, a law professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

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