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Xi's Thought Key to Law-based Governance

Source:China Daily Published:2021-08-16 15:02

Upholding Party's leadership, socialism with Chinese characteristics stressed

Formed in the course of law-based governance being promoted by the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxist theories to fit Chinese society, serving as the fundamental guideline for law-based governance in the country, experts said.

In the new era, adhering to socialism with Chinese characteristics not only relies on law-based governance, but also the need to uphold Party leadership in advancing the rule of law, they said.

In November, a conference on work related to overall law-based governance was held in Beijing. It marked the establishment of the Thought and its status as the guiding ideology for law-based governance in China.

President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave a speech at the conference, setting forth 11 requirements for the fulfillment of work related to law-based governance in the country.

Upholding the Party's leadership was listed as the top requisite. Other requirements include taking a people-centered approach, staying on the path of the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, adhering to Constitution-based governance and fostering a high-quality team of professionals with both the integrity and ability to conduct legal affairs.

Li Lin, a senior research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, regarded the Thought as a milestone in the development of a socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.

And Party leadership is the most essential feature of such development, he said.

"Upholding the Party leadership on overall law-based governance as the top requirement is at the root of the Thought. It is of fundamental and decisive importance and plays a key role in advancing the rule of law," Li said.

According to China's Constitution, the leadership of the CPC is the most essential feature in the effort to adhere to socialism with Chinese characteristics. This means the key to governing the country and safeguarding the authority of the Constitution is to uphold the leadership of the Party.

Li said heeding the Party's leadership is also the biggest difference between China's rule of law and that of Western capitalist countries.

"The CPC is making an effort to lead the advancement of overall law-based governance and build a socialist country based on the rule of law to bring happiness to the Chinese people and rejuvenate the nation," Li said.

"In other words, the Constitution shows the need for consistency of the Party's leadership and the socialist rule of law," he said. "It's also the difference between the rule of law in China and that in Western nations."

Further, the Constitution also clarifies the ruling position of the CPC, highlighting the Party's leadership in its preamble.

"China is governed by the CPC with the participation of other political parties. It's not like in Western countries with separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches, with different parties taking turns," Li said. "This is a remarkable difference between the rule of law in China and that in Western capitalist countries."

In recent years, law-based governance has become a hot topic in various CPC meetings and work arrangements-evidence that the Party has been focusing on advancing the rule of law and that law-based governance cannot be accomplished without its leadership.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the CPC Central Committee has promoted overall law-based governance, which was incorporated into the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy for the country's development.

The other three parts of the strategy are completing the establishment of a society that is moderately prosperous in all respects, expanding in-depth reform and enforcing strict Party self-governance.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2014 adopted a decision to advance the rule of law.

After the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, the CPC Central Committee established its Commission for Overall Law-Based Governance and made major decisions on improving this methodology in all fields.

Yang Weidong, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said advancing the rule of law in all aspects is not an easy thing to do, "so the CPC has to continuously improve its capability in law-based governance".

Besides conducting more research on the rule of law, the Party's committees at each level should also increase their ability to handle legal affairs while taking measures to promote local socioeconomic development, according to Yang.

Since the beginning of this year, for example, Party committees and governments at the city and county levels in Gansu province have been ordered to put legal construction into their annual work plan, meaning officials need to report what they are doing to advance the rule of law by the end of the year.

Further, a guideline issued by Hunan province in July regarding the development of a law-based society required officials in the Party and in government departments to increase legal training, learn to apply their legal knowledge and implement law-related affairs into their annual work reports.

"Those responsible for Party committees will be held accountable if they don't take the initiative to advance the rule of law or behave improperly while doing relevant work," Yang said.

"Further, every Party member and organization must abide by the Constitution and the law instead of abusing power or bending the law for selfish reasons," he said.

In the face of challenges and risks from home and abroad, Party members, especially those serving at a high level, have to be much stricter with themselves and take a leading role in learning, applying their knowledge and implementing laws to improve their capability in law-based governance, he said.

Further research required

In Lin Hongwu's view, to achieve the goal of law-based governance, it's a must to comprehensively study Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law.

Lin is the deputy head of a research center on the Thought attached to the China Law Society. The center was founded in Beijing on June 26.

According to Lin, one of the center's major tasks this year is to widely expand law-based research and publish some reading materials that can help the public understand the Thought more easily. It also plans to organize law experts to interpret the Thought and use multiple platforms to introduce its research findings, he said.

Additionally, it will hold an international forum on the rule of law to provide stronger legal support for the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative and to better serve law-based efforts related to foreign affairs, he added.

The center has attracted about 100 law professionals, 35 of whom work full-time.

"We'll make full use of the experts to improve our research on legal theories, and we hope they can help educate more talent in advancing the rule of law," he said.

Focusing on the Thought, the center will also compile a series of books over the next five years, he added.

Editor:Zhao Hanqing