Experts applaud Party's emphasis on the rule of law
Updated: 2014-11-15 08:18
By Li Yang in Suzhou, Jiangsu(China Daily)
China's top human rights researchers said on Friday that the road map to the rule of law in the country - drawn up last month by the Fourth Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee - will protect Chinese citizens' legal rights and interests if the CPC implements the plan properly.
The one-day seminar, with the theme "China's rule of law and human rights", was organized by the China Society for Human Rights Studies at Renmin University of China's branch campus in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. More than 30 researchers in human rights and legal studies from around China attended the round-table dialogue.
They discussed four topics: the rule of law and human rights protection; the judiciary's guarantee of human rights; human rights and state governance; and the construction of human rights discourse with Chinese characteristics.
The Fourth Plenum is the first time that the CPC specially discussed the implementation of the rule of law in a plenum of its senior members and set a clear timetable and assignments for the Party, the National People's Congress, society, the government, the judicial departments and the army.
The task list covers all main fields of a modern State machine operation: legislation, judiciary, administration, governance, as well as disciplinary inspection within the Party.
"The five fields will be key to promoting the rule of law and human rights protection in China in the future," Luo Haocai, chairman of the human rights society, said in his keynote speech.
The Party stressed protecting and upholding the authority of the Constitution, indicating that the rule of law does not apply only to ordinary people but to authorities as well. Dec 4 was established as National Constitution Day, and civil servants now must take an oath to the Constitution before assuming their posts.
These were encouraging signs for the seminar attendees in a special year - 2014 is the 60th anniversary of China's first Constitution and the establishment of the National People's Congress, the top legislature. It is also the 10th anniversary of human rights protections being incorporated into the Constitution.
"China's understanding and protection of human rights experienced a historical process from a lower level to a higher level under the leadership of the CPC," said Li Junru, vice-chairman of the human rights society. "The CPC must continue to lead the work of building the rule of law in China because its interests are in line with those of the people, and it always does its work according to China's practical national conditions. The improvement of China's human rights is also achieved under the leadership of the CPC."
Gu Chunde, professor of human rights studies at Renmin University of China, said: "The leadership of the CPC is a key characteristic of China's rule of law. China's human rights can only be guaranteed by the rule of law with Chinese characteristics, which is different from the Western style."
Chang Jian, director of the Nankai University Human Rights Study Center in Tianjin, agreed, saying: "In today's context, the key to avoid mistreatment of the people is to restrict and supervise the exercises of powers of all administrative authorities.
"Social norms, moralities and ethics are the first defense line of human rights. The government and the Party must live by laws and their rules. Supervision from the NPC, the media and public opinion forms another protection mechanism. The judicial authorities offer the last resort for citizens to protect their rights from being ruined by the misuse of power."
The people must have easier ways to address officials' misbehavior, and judicial authorities should act independently, free from the meddling of local governments, he added, and all illegal means of collecting evidence must be banned.
The researchers feel confident that the Party's decision to emphasize the rule of law will usher in a new chapter of Chinese human rights. They believe that after subsistence and development needs are fulfilled, the Chinese people will pursue peace, fairness and justice, and all of the Party's efforts to implement the rule of law will serve the people's needs.
(China Daily 11/15/2014 page4)
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