The Constitution is the fundamental law of the state.
The existing Constitution was adopted for implementation by the 5th Session of the 5th National People’s Congress on December 4, 1982. Amendments were made to the Constitution respectively at the 1st Session of the 7th National People’s Congress on April 12, 1988, the 1st Session of the 8th National People’s Congress on March 29, 1993 and the 2nd Session of the 9th National People’s Congress on March 15, 1999.
I. Major stipulations in the Constitution in regard to China’s political system
1. Major political principles in China
(1) The Communist Party of China is the country’s sole political party in power.
The People’s Republic of China was founded by the Communist Party of China which is the leader of the Chinese people.
(2) The socialist system
The socialist system led by the working class and based on the alliance of the workers and farmers is the fundamental system of the People’s Republic of China
(3) All rights belong to the people
All the power in the country belongs to the people who exercise their power through the National People’s Congress and local people’s congresses at all levels.
The people manage the state, economy, culture and other social affairs through a multitude of means and forms.
(4) The fundamental task and goals of the state
To concentrate on the socialist modernization drive along the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics; to adhere to the socialist road, persist in the reform and opening up program, improve the socialist system in all aspects, develop the market economy, expand democracy, and improve the rule of law; to be self-reliance and work hard to gradually realize the modernization of the industry, agriculture, national defense, science and technology so as to build China into a strong and democratic socialist country with a high degree of cultural development.
(5) Democratic centralism
The organizational principle for the state organs is democratic centralism.
(6) The armed forces of the people
The armed forces of the People’s Republic of China belong to the people.
The tasks of the armed forces are to consolidate national defense, resist invasion, defend the country, safeguard the people in their peaceful work and life, take part in the country’s economic construction and strive to serves the people.
(7) To govern the country through the rule of law
All individuals, political parties and social organizations must abide by the Constitution in all their actions and shall not be privileged to be above the Constitution or the law.
All acts in violation of the Constitution and law must be investigated.
The rule of law is practiced to build China into a socialist country with the rule of law.
(8) The system of ethnic regional autonomy
All ethnic groups are equal.
All prejudice and oppression against any ethnic group is forbidden. All behaviors harmful to ethnic unity and aimed at ethnic separation are forbidden.
2. The position and rights of the citizen in the political life of the country
(1) All citizens are equal before the law.
(2) The right to vote and stand for election
All citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status or length of residence, except persons deprived of political rights according to law.
(3) The freedom of speech and thought
All citizens enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, or assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration
(4) The freedom of religious belief
Citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief.
No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion.
(5) Inviolable freedom of the person
No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people’s procuratorate or by decision of a people’s court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ.
Unlawful detention or deprivation or restriction of citizens’ freedom of the person by other means is prohibited, and unlawful search of the person of citizens is prohibited.
The personal dignity of citizens is inviolable, so are their residences.
(6) Freedom of correspondence
The freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens are protected by law.
No organization or individual may, on any ground, infringe upon citizens’ freedom and privacy of correspondence, except in cases where, to meet the needs of state security or of criminal investigation, public security or procuratorial organs are permitted to censor correspondence in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.
(7) The right to criticize and make suggestions
Citizens have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any state organ or functionary. They have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any state organ or functionary for violation of the law or dereliction of duty.
(8) The right to compensation
Citizens who have suffered losses as a result of infringement of their civic rights by any state organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with law.
(9) The right to work
Citizens have the right as well as duty to work.
The state should, through various channels, create conditions for employment, enhance occupational safety and health, improve working conditions and, on the basis of expanded production, increase remuneration for work and welfare benefits.
(10) The right to welfare
Citizens have the right to material assistance from the state and society when they are old, ill or disabled.
The state and society ensure the livelihood of disabled members of the armed forces, provide pensions to the families of martyrs and give preferential treatment to the families of military personnel.
The state and society help make arrangements for the work, livelihood and education of the blind, deaf-mutes and other handicapped citizens.
(11) The right to receive education
Citizens have the right and duty to receive education.
(12) The freedom to engage in academic studies and literary creation
Citizens have the freedom to engage in scientific research, literary and artistic creation and other cultural pursuits.
(13) The equality of men and women
Women enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social and family life.
(14) Both husband and wife have the duty to practice family planning.
(15) Citizens have the obligation to pay taxes in accordance with the law.
(16) Citizens have the obligation to perform military service and join the militia in accordance with the law.
II. The interpretation and revision of the Constitution and the system of supervision of its implementation
1. The right of interpretation of the Constitution
The right to interpret the Constitution rests with the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
2. The amendment of the Constitution
The National People’s Congress holds the right to make amendments to the Constitution.
The revision of the Constitution shall be proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or more than one-fifth of the delegates to the National People’s Congress and it must be approved by a two-thirds majority of a session of the National People’s Congress.
3. The system of supervision
The National People’s Congress has the duty to supervise the enforcement of the Constitution.
The National People’s Congress has the right to change or withdraw interpretations to the Constitution by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.