Rule of law crucial to stability, prosperity

Updated: 2012-12-04 22:11


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BEIJING - Thirty years after China adopted the current version of its Constitution, the country is dedicated to promoting law-based governance in an all-around way.

Notable achievements have been made in building China into a socialist country based on the rule of law, guided by the general principles enshrined in the Constitution and various laws.

China says that its socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics had been established by 2010 and that solving problems through legal means has become the consensus of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the people.

By the end of August 2011, the Chinese legislature had enacted 240 effective laws, including the current Constitution, 706 administrative regulations and over 8,600 local regulations.

Nonetheless, violations of laws and the lax enforcement of laws have occurred occasionally.

Powerful officials abuse their authority and have trodden on laws that have been followed by the majority of citizens. Officials are obsessed with rule by man, which was practiced in China for thousands of years and runs contrary to the rule of law.

In recent years, the downfall of multiple high-ranking officials implicated in corruption scandals has sparked widespread public concern over China's progress concerning the rule of law. The Bo Xilai case has led the public to question whether individual officials can be restrained by the law when they become too powerful.

Safeguarding the dignity of the Constitution and ensuring its implementation serves as a premise to promote the rule of law.

Aware of the significance of reining in malpractice that undermines the dignity of the Constitution and laws, the Communist Party of China has vowed to speed up the construction of a country that operates under the rule of law.

"As the Constitution and laws are adopted by the Party and the people under its leadership, the Party must act within the scope prescribed by the Constitution and laws," stated a report submitted to the 18th CPC National Congress by the 17th CPC Central Committee.

"No organization or individual has the privilege of overstepping the Constitution and laws, and no one in a position of power is allowed in any way to take one's own word as the law, place one's own authority above the law or abuse the law," the report stated.

The rule of law, if implemented properly, will be instrumental in helping the country cope with prominent risks, such as corruption, said Xu Xianming, a legal expert on the rule of law and president of Shandong University.

Under the rule of law, government officials will be deprived of their privileges, which are a root cause of corruption, according to Xu.

To uphold the dignity of the Constitution and promote the rule of law, Party and government officials should lead by example in abiding by the Constitution.

While there's still room for improvement in the implementation of the Constitution, the past three decades have demonstrated the pivotal role it has played in ensuring China's stability and guaranteeing social development.

The Constitution, which was adopted at the fifth session of the Fifth National People's Congress in 1982, is more rights-oriented than previous versions.

In the 138-article Constitution, 18 articles refer to the fundamental rights of citizens.

Since it was adopted, the current Constitution has provided an extensive legal framework for economic policies that have been institutionalized over the past 30 years.

It has also helped China stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The role of the Constitution, which has developed nearly in parallel with China's reform and opening up drive, is critical in helping China to preserve its basic policies.

To accommodate the broad changes that have taken place in China's social and economic spheres, the Constitution was amended four times in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004, respectively.

Notable amendments include those that emphasize the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the protection of citizens' private property.

The rule of law can ensure that China's development is less vulnerable to uncertainties and upheavals such as the Cultural Revolution.

The rule of law, which requires administrators to obey the law and handle state affairs through legal means, will be conducive to maintaining China's stability and prosperity as the country works to implement it as a basic strategy and strives to build a law-based government.