Amendments in line with new situation inject vitality to Constitution

By Gong Wei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 6, 2018
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Great Hall of the People [Photo/]

According to the historical materialism theory, law, as an important component of the superstructure, must develop alongside economic growth. The development of China's Constitution also follows this rule. Since the first Constitution was adopted in 1954, the fundamental law has been continuously improved through practical explorations, while encountering twists and turns.

The current iteration of the Constitution was adopted in 1982. As China developed through reform and opening up, and progressed in its socialist modernization, this Constitution has been amended four times by the National People's Congress (NPC), in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004. The NPC passed 31 articles of amendments in those four instances: two in 1988, nine in 1993, six in 1999, and 14 in 2004.


The following changes were made in the previous amendments.

1. The preamble was changed three times to include the following contents: Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the primary stage of socialism, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the development of a socialist market economy, promoting the coordinated progress of material, politics and culture, and to build China into a socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, and culturally advanced.

2. The preamble was also added with the contents of the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and a broad patriotic united front embracing all working people, builders of socialism, and all patriots who support socialism and the reunification of the motherland.  

3. The revised Article 5 stipulates that the People's Republic of China practices ruling the country in accordance with the law, and will build a socialist country of law.

4. The revised Article 6 stipulates the basic economic system and distribution system in the primary stage of socialism.

5. Article 8, revised twice, stipulates that rural collective economic organizations practice a double-tier management system that combines unified and separate operations on the basis of the household contract system.

6. The revised Article 11 clarifies the position of the non-public sectors in China's economy and the state's principles and policies on the non-public sectors.

7. The revised Article 14 provides that the state establishes a sound social security system compatible with the level of economic development.

8. The revised Article 15 provides that the state has put into practice a socialist market economy.

9. The revised Article 33 provides that the state respects and preserves human rights.

10. The revised Article 81 provides that the President of the People's Republic of China engages in activities involving state affairs.

In addition, the amendments provide that the right to the use of land may be transferred according to law and citizens' lawful private property is inviolable. Contents concerning expropriating or requisition of citizens' private properties and compensation, terms of office of the local people's congresses, state of emergency, and the national anthem were also amended. 

The previous amendments absorbed the successful experiences accumulated during the practice of reform and opening up and the process of socialist modernization under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), included the outcomes of the development path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and exerted profound influences on China's politics, economy, and social development. Amending China's Constitution allows it to keep pace with the times during the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics, therefore strongly promoting and guaranteeing the development of the cause of the Party and the country, and vigorously advancing the development of the socialist rule of law.

One distinctive feature of China's Constitution is that it must develop as socialism with Chinese characteristics does. It's a necessary requirement and basic rule for constitutional development. 

On Feb. 25, 2018, the CPC Central Committee made public its proposal on amendments to China's Constitution for the fifth time. 

The proposal, now submitted to the on-going NPC session for deliberation and approval, was made in accordance with the new situation and practice of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

Only by continuously and timely acknowledging the major achievements and precious experiences gained by the Party and the people and respond to contemporary developments, can we make full use of the role of the Constitution to standardize, guide, stimulate and guarantee good governance.

This post was translated by Huang Shan. Its original unabridged version was published in Chinese.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

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