爱思英语编者按：Accelerating the Establishment of Socialist Rule of Law in China
Accelerating the Establishment of Socialist Rule of Law in China
Remaining committed to the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics
In comprehensively advancing the rule of law in China, it is imperative that we take the right path. A wrong path will take us to the very opposite of what we are trying to accomplish and, if that happens, no requirement or measure we introduce will mean anything. There is a core theme that runs through the resolution we have adopted at this plenary session, and that is the necessity of keeping to and expanding the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese Characteristics. This path constitutes an overall guideline. That is to say, China has made dozens of achievements in its efforts to establish the rule of law, some large and some small. But ultimately these achievements boil down to one thing, and that is the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese Characteristics.
Engels once said, “A new program is after all a banner planted in public, and the outside world judges the party by it.” In any initiative we introduce, the public will stand behind the CPC as long as its banner is clear and its members step into action. The worst mistake a governing party can commit is to show indecisiveness on matters of extreme importance, standing by as the public debate rages on and division grows. Consequently, those with ulterior motives will fan the flames of discontent, lead the public astray, and stir up trouble. In the end a mishap is bound to occur! So, there is no room for ambiguity in the question of our path. We must send a clear and correct signal to the public.
The decision to lay out plans for comprehensively advancing the rule of law at this plenary session reflects the CPC’s will to enhance its capacity for national governance. This is not something that we have been pressured into doing. On the fundamental issue of keeping to and expanding the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese Characteristics, we need to demonstrate both confidence and resolve. This is a major proposition, and there are many things that will need to be explored and considered in depth. But the fundamental elements of this path must be permanently upheld.
First, we must uphold the leadership of the CPC.
Leadership by the CPC is the underlying feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the most fundamental guarantee for socialist rule of law. In upholding the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese Characteristics, the most important thing is that we uphold the leadership of the CPC. The CPC was the first to propose the rule of law in China; and the first to propose enshrining it as a fundamental principle by which the Party leads the people in governing the country. In addition, the CPC has been leading the people in advancing the rule of law in practice. Therefore, our efforts to comprehensively advance the rule of law in China must be conducive to strengthening and improving the leadership of the CPC, to bolstering its position as the governing party, and to accomplishing its mission in governing the country. In absolutely no way does this amount to weakening the leadership of the CPC.
Leadership by the CPC is a fundamental requirement of the socialist rule of law, and an integral part of our efforts to comprehensively advance the rule of law in China. We need to build CPC leadership into all aspects and processes of law-based governance, ensuring that an organic balance can be maintained between the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law. Only when the rule of law is enforced strictly under the leadership of the CPC will the people fully realize their role as masters of the country, and only then will the introduction of the rule of law into national and social affairs take place smoothly.
Leadership by the CPC is not an empty slogan, but something that must be manifested in practice through the CPC’s endeavors to lead legislation, ensure law enforcement, support the administration of justice, and lead the way in abiding by the law. On the one hand, we need to preserve CPC’s core role in exercising overall leadership and coordinating various efforts; bring all aspects of law-based governance under CPC’s overall planning; and ensure that CPC’s propositions are integrated into all aspects and processes of the rule of law. On the other hand, we need to improve CPC’s leadership over law-based governance in China, continually raising its capacity to lead in this regard. Not only must the CPC commit to governing in accordance with the law, confining its activities to the boundaries stipulated by the Constitution and law; but it must also fully exert the role of Party organizations, members, and officials as a leading political core and pioneer for enforcing the rule of law.
Second, we must uphold the principal position of the people.
China’s socialist system ensures that the people assume the principal position as masters of the country. It also ensures that the people are the primary actors in comprehensively advancing the rule of law. This is a superiority of our system, and the fundamental distinction between socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and capitalist rule of law.
To uphold the people’s principal position in the country, we must commit to the principle that the rule of law is for the people, dependent on the people, beneficial to the people, and there to protect the people. We must ensure that the people, under the leadership of the CPC, are able to administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural, and social affairs through various channels and in various ways as provided by law. Moreover, we must integrate the requirements of representing the people’s interests, reflecting their wishes, protecting their rights, and furthering their wellbeing into the whole process of our law-based governance, ensuring that the will of the people is embodied not just in laws themselves but also in their enforcement.
Just as the rights and interests of the people are protected by the law, the authority of the law must be maintained by the people. We need to motivate the public to actively involve themselves in the practice of the rule of law; enable the people as a whole to become loyal advocates, conscientious observers, and resolute defenders of socialist rule of law; and ensure that all people share a common aspiration to respect the law, trust the law, observe the law, apply the law, and defend the law.
Third, we must uphold the principle that all are equal before the law.
Equality is a basic attribute of socialist law and a fundamental requirement of socialist rule of law. The principle that all are equal before the law must be reflected in all aspects of legislation, law enforcement, judicial practice, and law abidance. All organizations and individuals must respect the authority of the Constitution and law; confine their activities to the boundaries prescribed by the Constitution and law; and exercise powers, enjoy rights, perform duties, and fulfill obligations in accordance with the Constitution and law. No organization or individual shall be permitted to enjoy special privileges that place them above the Constitution and law. Whoever violates the Constitution and law must face punishment. Under no circumstances can any individual, under any pretext or in any way, be allowed to arbitrarily override the law, place their power above the authority of the law, or bend the law for their own personal gain.
Leading officials at all levels have an important responsibility to assume in advancing the rule of law. At present, there are still Party members and officials who think that the country is under the rule of individuals, who think that they are the ones in charge, and who think that conducting affairs in accordance with the law is overly complicated and unnecessarily restricting. Convinced that they have the final say in everything, they are totally oblivious to the existence of the law, and are bent on overriding it with their authority at every turn. Not until this state of affairs is addressed will we stand a chance of genuinely realizing the rule of law. It is therefore imperative that we gain a hold of the “critical minority” constituted by leading officials. First of all, we need to make sure that they have the right mindset. We must enable officials at all levels to understand that upholding the authority of the Constitution and law means upholding the authority of the common will of the CPC and the people; that safeguarding the inviolability of the Constitution and law means safeguarding the inviolability of the common will of the CPC and the people; and that guaranteeing the enforcement of the Constitution and law means guaranteeing the realization of the common will of the CPC and the people.
It is essential that we are earnest in our efforts to promote and enforce the rule of law. Leading officials at all levels must have reverence for the law, lead the way in conducting affairs in accordance with the law, and set a good example in observing the law. They must strive to become more adept at using law-based thinking and approaches to deepen the reform, promote development, resolve conflicts, and maintain stability. In the short term, it might not appear harmful to simply shout out slogans, put on appearances, and feign support as opposed to taking real action. But the moment problems grow beyond our ability to deal with them, the consequences of our inaction will be catastrophic. Therefore, no matter who they are or who is involved, officials who break the law must be held legally accountable for their actions. Under no circumstances can we tolerate the existence of a “neutral gear” in our law enforcement and judicial practice. We need to identify progress in law-based governance as an important criterion in the performance appraisals of leading bodies and officials at all levels. At the same time, we need to make compliance with the law and conducting affairs in accordance with the law an important area of consideration in the performance assessment of individual officials.
Fourth, we must persist in a joint commitment to rule of law and rule of virtue.
Laws are moral values that have been carved into stone, while moral values are laws that we follow in our hearts. Both laws and moral values possess the power to regulate social behavior and preserve social order. Therefore, in running our country and society, we need to lay emphasis on both the rule of law and the rule of virtue, not only highlighting the normative function of law, but also valuing the educational function of virtue, so that law and virtue promote each other and rule of law and rule of virtue reinforce each other.
To effectively exert the normative function of the law, we must ensure that the rule of law gives expression to moral values and that the law better promotes the cultivation of morality. Moral values constitute the foundation of the law. This means that only laws that conform to moral values and have deep moral foundations will be consciously observed by the majority of the people. The law, on the other hand, serves to safeguard moral values. This means that good civic morality can be fostered through the compulsory regulation of people’s behavior and the punishment of those who break the law. We need to pay more attention to turning basic moral values and conventions into laws and regulations, ensuring that our laws and regulations are more representative of moral values and humanistic spirit. At the same time, we need to draw upon the mandatory force of the law to reinforce morals and ensure the basic moral standards, so as to enhance the overall moral fabric of our society.
To effectively exert the educational function of virtue, we must draw on virtue as a means of nurturing the rule of law and strengthen the role of morality as a pillar of rule of law culture. No matter how many laws we make, or how good those laws are, people will only genuinely abide by them once they have become ingrained in their subconscious. As the saying goes, “A person without shame knows no limits.” Without the nutrition that virtue provides, rule of law culture will have nothing to sustain it, and we will lack a solid social foundation on which to enforce our laws. As we advance the rule of law in China, it is imperative that we vigorously promote our core socialist values; carry forward traditional Chinese virtues; and cultivate social morality, professional ethics, family values, and the moral integrity of individuals. By raising the moral integrity of our people as a whole, we will create a favorable humanistic environment to underpin the rule of law in China.
Fifth, we must proceed from China’s specific situation.
The way a country approaches the rule of law and the kind of rule of law system it builds is determined by that country’s national conditions. In the Book of Lord Shang it is written: “In governing a country, a wise ruler establishes laws through observing popular customs, thus bringing order. He understands the fundamentals of the land he rules, thus implementing appropriate policies. Where the customs of the times are ignored and the fundamentals of the land neglected, the people will descend into disorder even when laws are made. And he may be kept busy but will achieve little.” The effort to comprehensively advance the rule of law must, therefore, be carried out on the basis of China’s realities and in line with our push to modernize the country’s governance system and governance capacity. In this effort, we can neither afford to disregard our country’s national conditions and race ahead of ourselves, nor can we afford to simply stick to old ways and guard old conventions.
To proceed on the basis of our country’s realities, we need to give emphasis to what is especially Chinese, practical, and contemporary. We need to identify and apply successful practices that the CPC has developed during its efforts to lead the people in implementing the rule of law. With a view to addressing major theoretical and practical issues in the development of socialist rule of law, we must work constantly to develop and enrich a socialist rule of law theory that conforms to China’s realities, displays Chinese characteristics, and reflects the objective laws of social development, so as to underpin the rule of law in China with sound theoretical guidance and support. Long ago, our ancestors began to ponder the question of how human behavior could best be reined in. China’s first systematically compiled laws appeared as early as the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods (770-221 BC). In the years from the Han Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty (202 BC-AD 907), China succeeded in establishing what was essentially a fully-developed set of written laws. The legal system of ancient China embodied a huge wealth of knowledge and wisdom, allowing it to occupy a unique place among the major legal systems of the world. We need to take note of the successes and failures of China’s ancient legal traditions, identify, extract, and promote the very finest elements of China’s traditional legal culture, and selectively integrate these elements into our present initiatives.
Proceeding on the basis of our country’s realities does not mean that we can develop the rule of law in isolation from the rest of the world. The rule of law is one of the most important accomplishments of human civilization. Its core essence and purpose have penetrating implications for the national and social governance of all countries in the world. We must, therefore, learn from the fine achievements of other countries in the development of the rule of law. However, learning from others does not amount to simply copying them. Putting our own needs first, we must carefully discern between the good and the bad and adopt the practices of others within reason. Under no circumstances can we engage in “all-out Westernization,” “complete transplant” of the systems of others, or copy from other countries indiscriminately.
Ensuring completion of each of the tasks proposed at the plenary session
At this plenary session, we have made overall plans for comprehensively advancing the rule of law in China. In total more than 180 important measures have been introduced, covering all aspects of the rule of law. Now, with a strong sense of urgency and a fine work ethic, the entire CPC must ensure sound completion of each of the tasks put forward at the session.
First, in keeping with our overall objective in comprehensively advancing the rule of law, we need to accelerate the establishment of a socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics.
The overall objective of our drive to advance the rule of law is to establish a socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics and establish China as a socialist country under the rule of law. This objective is a constant theme that runs throughout the resolution we have adopted at this plenary session. It not only defines the nature and orientation of our push to comprehensively advance the rule of law, but also highlights the key priorities and the focus in this initiative. This objective can therefore be regarded as an overall guideline of China’s efforts to advance the rule of law.
All initiatives to advance the rule of law must be planned and carried out in the interests of furthering our overall objective. The rule of law system that we are building constitutes a core component of our national governance system. With a view to implementing the measures adopted at this plenary session, we must step up our efforts to establish a complete system of laws, a highly effective system for realizing the rule of law, a stringent system to oversee the practice of the rule of law, a robust system to guarantee the rule of law, and a well-defined system of rules and regulations within the CPC.
The Song Dynasty statesman Wang Anshi once wrote, “When the law of the land is good, there will be order in the land; when the laws of the state are good, there will be order in the state.” Following this spirit, we need to ensure that legislation precedes reform; maintain a systematic approach to the establishment, revision, abolition, and interpretation of laws; work faster to improve laws, administrative regulations, and local regulations; and further refine a framework of social norms that comprises resident codes of conduct, industry rules and regulations, and charters of organizations. This will enable us to lay down the basic foundation for advancing the rule of law. We must accelerate the building of systems and mechanisms involving the implementation of the Constitution, law enforcement, judicial practice, and law abidance; maintain a commitment to law-based government administration and judicial impartiality; and ensure that the Constitution and law are enforced fully and effectively. At the same time, we need to enhance various forms of oversight, including CPC’s internal oversight, oversight by people’s congresses, democratic oversight, administrative oversight, judicial oversight, oversight through auditing, public oversight, and media oversight; strive to establish an effective framework of measures to constrain and oversee the exercise of power; and increase the synergy and effectiveness of oversight.
We also need to improve systems and mechanisms for the formation of internal Party regulations. Laying greater emphasis on coordinating Party regulations with national laws, we need to establish a framework of Party regulations and provisions that takes its basis in the Constitution of the CPC and consists of various Party regulations, so as to enhance our capacity to enforce the internal regulations of the Party. The Constitution of the CPC and other Party regulations ask more of Party members than ordinary laws do. Party members are not only required to strictly abide by China’s laws and regulations, but are also required to strictly observe the Constitution and regulations of the CPC, expecting more of themselves than ordinary people
Second, in keeping with our overall plan for comprehensively advancing the rule of law, we need to simultaneously promote the law-based governance of the country, the law-based exercise of state power, and the law-based administration of government; and adopt an integrated approach to establishing a law-based country, government, and society.
The comprehensive advancement of the rule of law in China represents a systematic undertaking of monumental proportions. In carrying out this undertaking, therefore, we must take various factors into consideration, maintain a solid grasp of our priorities, and formulate integrated plans. We must focus our energy on moving initiatives forward in a coordinated fashion, and devote our efforts to achieving the integrated development of a law-based country, government, and society.
It has been said that the greatest challenge for a country lies not in making laws, but in putting those laws into effect. The rule of law is enshrined in China’s Constitution as the fundamental principle of the country’s national governance. However, whether or not the rule of law can be realized in practice depends crucially on whether the CPC can maintain its commitment to law-based governance and whether government authorities at all levels can administer in accordance with the law. It is therefore necessary that we become more aware of governing in accordance with the law; remain committed to working in line with law-based ideas, systems, and procedures; improve the way the CPC leads and exercises power; and advance law-based governance on the basis of clearly defined systems, standards, and procedures. The enforcement of law represents the primary means by which administrative agencies carry out governmental functions and administer economic and social affairs. Governments at all levels are required to carry out their functions in full and in accordance with the law, performing the functions that have been prescribed by law while refraining from acting where the law has not authorized them to act. They must improve mechanisms for law-based decision making; refine law enforcement procedures; strictly define responsibilities in law enforcement; and strive to ensure that law enforcement is carried out in a strict, standardized, impartial, and civil manner.
The law-based country, government, and society each have their own areas of focus, which allows them to exert a mutually reinforcing effect on one another. The comprehensive advancement of rule of law requires the involvement of all sectors of society. It requires that we foster a stronger overall awareness of the rule of law, spread the spirit of socialist rule of law throughout our society, and build a culture of socialist rule of law. Through efforts to firmly establish the authority of the law throughout our society, we must ensure that the people realize that the law is not only a powerful tool for the protection of their rights, but also a behavioral standard that must be observed. We need to foster a sound social atmosphere in which members of society conduct their business according to the law, turn to the law when they require assistance, and rely on the law to solve their problems. This way, people will consciously choose not to break the law, and consciously uphold the authority of the rule of law.
Third, with an accurate grasp of our priorities in comprehensively advancing the rule of law, we must ensure that legislation is introduced through well-conceived procedures, that law is enforced strictly, that justice is administered impartially, and that the law is observed by all.
In comprehensively advancing the rule of law in China, it is essential that we build on our existing efforts, highlight priority tasks, and forward our initiatives in a steady and well-calculated fashion. To ensure that legislation is introduced through well-conceived procedures, we must improve the legislative system, advance the formulation of legislation by effective and democratic means, and focus on improving the quality of legislation. We need to improve the allocation of legislative functions and powers; give full play to the central role of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee in legislation; enhance mechanisms for drafting, evaluating, coordinating, and deliberating legislation; improve procedures for voting on bills; make our legislation more responsive, systematic, targeted, and effective; and make laws and regulations more enforceable and operable. We need to clearly define the boundaries of legislative power, and employ systems, mechanisms, and procedures to prevent the enactment of laws that protect departmental interests or encourage local protectionism. At the same time, we need to step up legislation in priority areas; promptly reflect in our law-making activities the needs that must be met to further the causes of the CPC and country and the concerns and expectations of the public; and waste no time in formulating and amending laws pertaining to comprehensively deepening the reform, promoting economic growth, improving social governance, ensuring the public wellbeing, and safeguarding national security.
To ensure that law is enforced strictly, we need to focus our efforts on dealing with prominent issues in the enforcement of laws such as failure to enforce the law in a standardized, strict, transparent, and civil manner as well as nonfeasance and malfeasance in law enforcement activities. In line with our goal of establishing a law-based government, we need to establish internal mechanisms in administrative agencies for legal compliance review of major decisions; introduce a government legal counsel system; codify governmental institutions, functions, powers, procedures, and responsibilities into law; and promote the procedure- and law-based exercise of power by governments at all levels. We need to comprehensively promote transparent government; strengthen constraints on administrative powers and oversight over their exercise; and put in place a system of law-based government administration that balances powers with responsibilities and that is both authoritative and effective. At the same time, we need to impose strict requirements on credentials in law enforcement, make improvements to law enforcement procedures, and establish a set of benchmark standards for administrative discretion, thereby ensuring the impartial and effective enforcement of the law.
To ensure that justice is administered impartially, we need to focus our efforts on improving the allocation of judicial functions and powers and establish a more developed system for the exercise of judicial power in which the division of powers is both complementary and mutually constraining. Party organizations and leading officials at all levels are required to show unequivocal support for the lawful and independent functioning of judicial bodies, and are under no circumstances permitted to intervene in the administration of justice. Confucius once said, “People will obey you if you promote righteous men and suppress evil men. And they will disobey you if you do the contrary.” Judicial personnel must be strong principled and brave enough to assume responsibility. They must have the courage to lawfully cast out interference originating both inside and outside judicial bodies, and stand their ground in defense of judicial impartiality. To achieve this, we must remain committed to furthering judicial impartiality and credibility through greater openness; establish a judiciary system that is open, dynamic, transparent, and accessible to the public; put an end to backroom dealings; and resolutely fight judicial corruption.
To ensure that the law is observed by all, we must raise awareness of the rule of law among the general public. We must view efforts to promote universal understanding and observance of the law as long-term, foundation initiatives for implementing the rule of law, and take highly effective measures to strengthen publicity and educational initiatives concerning our legal system. We must remain committed to teaching the rule of law to children from a young age; integrate the rule of law into our national education syllabus; incorporate education on the rule of law into our initiatives for cultural and ethical progress; and constantly enhance the awareness of rules among young people, starting out with simple requirements before moving on progressively to more difficult ones. At the same time, we need to keep adequate credit records regarding citizens and organizations’ compliance with the law; refine mechanisms to reward people for good faith when they abide by the law and punish them for bad faith when they break it; and create a social atmosphere in which people feel that it is honorable to abide by the law and disgraceful to break it, so that all people show respect for the law and act consciously to observe it.
Fourth, we need to channel our efforts into building a strong contingent of personnel for enforcing the rule of law.
In comprehensively advancing the rule of law, it is of critical importance that we establish a highly skilled contingent of specialist personnel that boasts strong moral integrity and high professional competence. In China, specialist personnel for the enforcement of rule of law are made up mainly of personnel from people’s congresses and the government who are involved in formulation of laws and regulations; personnel from administrative agencies who are involved in law enforcement; and personnel from judicial bodies who are involved in the administration of justice. As we proceed to comprehensively advance the rule of law, the building of these contingents should be given priority.
Legislative, law enforcement, and judicial personnel have both similarities and differences. Each has an extremely important role to play. Legislation is a sacred task that aims to lay down the rules of our country and society. Those involved in legislative work must have a strong sense of political integrity. They must possess the ability to respect objective laws, promote democracy, coordinate more effectively with others, and build consensus. Law enforcement is a crucial process of bringing laws off the page and into the real world. Law enforcement personnel must be loyal to the law and must safeguard the law. With the courage to take responsibility, they must strive to enforce the law strictly. The judiciary is the last line of defense against violations of social equity and justice. Those working in the judiciary must believe in the law and uphold the rule of law. They must keep the scales in balance, hold the gavel firmly in their own hands, and exercise the law justly and impartially. In line with the requirement that our legislative, law enforcement, and judicial personnel are politically solid, professionally competent, highly accountable, and strongly disciplined in their conduct, we must urge our legislative, law enforcement, and judicial personnel to firmly embrace socialist rule of law and strictly observe professional ethics, ensuring that they are loyal to the CPC, the country, the people, and the law.
Lawyers constitute an important force in instituting the rule of law. We must devote major efforts to enhancing the political integrity of lawyers, and identify upholding the leadership of the CPC and upholding socialist rule of law as essential requirements for entry into the legal profession.
Fifth, we must resolutely advance reform in the domain of law-based governance, tearing down institutional obstacles that are preventing us from comprehensively advancing the rule of law.
The fundamental solution to problems in the domain of law-based governance is reform. There is no way we will be able to solve major problems if we insist on operating completely within the framework of old systems and mechanisms, if we greet new circumstances and issues with old practices, or if we simply make piecemeal changes here and there. When the resolution of this plenary session was being drafted, I said that it would be better to have no resolution at all than have one with no teeth. I said that the resolution would have to face problems directly and focus on them. It would have to address issues of major concern to officials and the public in the area of law-based governance, and respond to the various concerns of society.
At this plenary session we have studied and laid out plans for comprehensively advancing the rule of law in China. While its scope may not be as far ranging as that of the Third Plenary Session last year, this session will nevertheless have a wide-ranging impact on our reform, development, and stability, on our domestic affairs, foreign affairs, and national defense, and on our governance of the Party, the state, and the armed forces. In this sense, its implications and scope are by no means small. At this plenary session we have introduced more than 180 major reform measures. Many of these reforms will be hard to grapple with, as they involve changes to the distribution of interests and power. But every reform that has been written into the resolution represents something that we have set our sights on, and that must be seen through. We must therefore have the courage to bring change to ourselves, solving one problem at a time and putting reforms into effect one after another.
Reform in the realm of law-based governance primarily involves organs of state power and power-welding departments, such as public security organs, prosecuting bodies, courts, and other judicial bodies. The considerable public attention our reforms have attracted, coupled with the high difficulty of their implementation, means that we need to show even greater broad-mindedness in bringing change to ourselves. If we limit ourselves to our own little world, dwelling on the powers and interests of our departments, and even haggling over this and that, the result will surely be fumbling progress with little or nothing essential to achieve. After all, what kind of reform does not challenge existing roles, powers, and interests? We must have the courage to challenge what needs to be challenged, and all involved must bear the bigger picture in mind. It is imperative that departments and interested parties foster a stronger awareness of the bigger picture, consciously think and act in line with the bigger picture, free themselves from a closed departmental mentality, and support each other in their initiatives. The criteria for gauging the effectiveness of reform must be the amount of actual problems we solve and level of public satisfaction we receive from solving those problems. Regardless of what kind of obstruction or interference we come up against, we must resolutely press ahead with any reform measure that is conducive to raising the CPC’s capacity to govern, to bolstering its position as governing party, to safeguarding the authority of the Constitution and law, to safeguarding the rights and interests of the people, to upholding equity and justice, and to preserving national security and stability. Under no circumstances can we avoid the important and dwell on the trivial, shirk our responsibilities, or drag our feet indecisively.
A feature of reform in the domain of law-based governance is the fact that many issues involve legal provisions. It is true that reform must have basis in law. But we cannot lack the courage to step beyond the limits just because such action is not provided for in our existing laws. If that were the case, reform would be unable to continue. Hence the old saying, “If it is good for the people, there is no need to follow the practices of antiquity; if it serves the matter at hand, there is no need to observe the conventions of old.” Therefore, where reform is required in the future, we will be able to make the necessary amendments to our existing laws before proceeding. The Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening the Reform will be required to carefully study and oversee matters pertaining to reform.
Dear colleagues, the comprehensive advancement of the rule of law is a systematic undertaking and a profound and far-reaching revolution in the governance of our country. It is imperative that we strengthen the CPC’s leadership over initiatives pertaining to the rule of law. On the one hand, Party committees at all levels must improve the systems and mechanisms by which the CPC exercises guidance over law-based governance, and assume leadership responsibilities in the implementation of rule of law in your respective regions and departments. Once you have clearly identified the priorities, you must quickly formulate detailed guidelines and plans for putting the guiding principles of this plenary session into effect. On the other hand, we must place the focus of our efforts to comprehensively advance the rule of law at the community level. We need to make full use of the primary role of community-level Party committees in advancing the rule of law; enhance the competence of community-level organizations and personnel in carrying out the rule of law; guide community-level Party members and officials in strengthening their awareness of the rule of law and raising their ability to act in accordance with the law; and work hard to put the various tasks and measures proposed by the plenary session into effect at the community level.
(This is part of a speech delivered at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee on October 23, 2014.)