March ahead with rule of law

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Ready, steady, go! [By Zhai Haijun/]

Editor's note: The following are some experts' opinions on the Fourth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee that ended on Oct 23:

Chinese version of judicial review system

The system to ensure and supervise the implementation of the Constitution should be improved, according to the Communist Party of China's latest announcement on "comprehensively advancing the rule of law".

The proposed system could be perceived as a Chinese version of the judicial review system, which has been adopted by many Western countries, including the United States and Germany. In other words, the implementation of the system has to be different in different countries.

Unlike the US and Germany, where the judicial authority and constitutional court exercise the power of constitutional review, China adheres to the leadership of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

For China's judicial review system, institutional reform is expected to take place after the Fourth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee, which concluded on Oct 23. The previous system, which often failed to clarify what constituted unconstitutionality, led to a number of controversial cases in which officials abusing administrative powers violated citizens' constitutional rights.

Hence, a distinct organization is likely to be established to help the NPC with judicial review. Of course, such an organization has to function under the NPC.

Moreover, amendment to, and legislation, abolition and interpretation of laws will now get equal importance. Earlier, China's top legislature tended to focus on amendment to and abolition of laws, and paid less attention to interpretation. This will change, because interpretation of, as opposed to amendment to, existing laws could actually help solve some tricky cases.

Besides, to separate the bad laws from the good, the NPC is likely to set up a sound judicial review system.

Yao Guojian, a researcher in Constitution studies at China University of Political Science and Law

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