March ahead with rule of law

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, October 27, 2014
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Follow own path to establish rule of law

A country's constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state is to be governed. The Communist Party of China is the ruling party in China. The Party constitution is the fundamental law that all Party members have to follow; it can also be regarded as a guideline for the Party's leading role.

The Party constitution makes it clear that the Party should abide by the country's Constitution and laws, while the latter legalizes the Party's leading role in all aspects of the nation. The State organs as well as the State's decision-making process should all be under the leadership of the Party, according to the Constitution, and the rule of law is no exception to that. It is, therefore, important that people understand China's rule of law by linking the country's Constitution and Party constitution.

China may need to learn from Western countries' experiences to promote the rule of law. But since the rule of law is a means of social governance to achieve social justice, China has to take a down-to-earth approach and follow its own path to establish the rule of law.

Qiang Shigong, a professor of law at Peking University

A guideline to safeguard sovereignty

The communiqué issued by the Fourth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee says China should strengthen foreign-related legislation and use legal means to safeguard its sovereignty and security, and development interests. This requires undertaking concrete tasks to improve the country's legal system.

China is both a beneficiary and protector of the extant international order, even though it is opposed to certain aspects of the order. And given that it is opening up further to the outside world, China needs to maintain close links with the international community. But increased exchanges and deepening cooperation with the rest of the world will surely give rise to more problems and disputes. How to handle these problems and disputes remains a big issue for China, and this is where the rule of law can play a vital role, for it can help resolve them in a relatively reasonable way.

To take care of its security problems, especially those that threaten national (or military) security, China should strengthen communication with other countries, especially the United States, to make its stance clear and, if possible, reach an understanding, but without compromising its interests. To resolve issues related to sovereignty, especially political independence and territorial integrity, China must turn to history and international laws. But since these are complicated and sensitive issues, and could seriously influence national sentiments if not handled properly, China should exercise calm and patience in its efforts to resolve them.

More importantly, China should make the rest of the world know that it will use peaceful methods, including legal means, to resolve disputes, including those over development and security issues, with other countries. This will prevent misunderstandings with other countries and help the cause of world peace and prosperity. Also, China should offer a sound basis and guarantee for settlement of such issues through legal means.

Jin Yongming, a research fellow at the Institute of Law, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

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