Rule of law seen as key to China’s modernization

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 22, 2014
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When elite members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) gather this week for a key annual policy-setting meeting, their presence alone will be enough to make history.

The fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee — slated for October 20-23 — is billed as a milestone in China's political reforms and progress, as it will be devoted to the central theme of "rule of law" for the first time in the Party's history.

The meeting will deliberate on a draft decision of the CPC Central Committee on "major issues concerning comprehensively advancing rule of law," sources close to the meeting said.

The decision is widely expected to set the tone for the CPC to promote rule of law in China in an all-around manner under new circumstances.

Seldom has any other political concept been assigned the same gravity.

Rule of law is, as many analysts have noted, the cornerstone of the modernization of China's state governance and national rejuvenation.

But the phrase is not new in the CPC's official discourse, rather one that has been championed for decades. China wrote rule of law into its Constitution in the 1990s. The 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1997 decided to make "the rule of law" a basic strategy and "building a socialist country under the rule of law" an important goal for socialist modernization.

The phrase "exercises the rule of law, building a socialist country governed according to law" was added to the Constitution in 1999.

In 2012, the new leadership of the CPC Central Committee envisioned a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, when "rule of law should be fully implemented as a basic strategy, a law-based government should be basically functional, judicial credibility should be steadily enhanced, and human rights should be fully respected and protected."

Last month, members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee echoed that vision some 700 days after Xi Jinping took the helm of the CPC in 2012 at the Party's 18th national congress.

Rule of law, they agreed, is "a must" if the country wants to build a prosperous society, rejuvenate the nation, comprehensively deepen reform, and improve socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Party's governance capability.

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