Party is not above Con­sti­tu­tion CPC is au­tho­rized to lead the na­tion and strengthen the rule of law, hence there is no con­tra­dic­tion be­tween them

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

The res­o­lu­tion passed by the Fourth Plenum of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China last week makes it clear that the aim of strength­en­ing the rule of lawis to es­tab­lish so­cial­ist rule of lawwith Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics in the coun­try, de­velop a sound sys­tem of laws and reg­u­la­tions, build an ef­fi­cient lawen­force­ment sys­tem, and set up a force­ful mon­i­tor­ing and su­per­vi­sion mech­a­nism.

While map­ping out such an ex­plicit goal, the res­o­lu­tion stressed the prin­ci­ple of ad­her­ing to the lead­er­ship of the CPC. This has been mis­in­ter­preted by someWestern me­dia out­lets as the fail­ure to re­solve the prob­lem of whether the Party or the Con­sti­tu­tion is supreme. Such mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion stems from their lack of knowl­edge about China’s real con­di­tions.

To re­al­ize the gen­eral tar­get of es­tab­lish­ing so­cial­ist rule of law with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics, the coun­try must stick to the Party’s lead­er­ship and chart its course in es­tab­lish­ing a so­ci­ety char­ac­ter­ized by good gov­er­nance.

The plenum has not only mapped out the paths to achiev­ing the goal of es­tab­lish­ing so­cial­ist rule of law, but also made clear the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Party’s lead­er­ship and the rule of law.

Pri­mar­ily, rule of lawmeans gov­er­nance ac­cord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion. To re­spect the Con­sti­tu­tion and im­ple­ment it in let­ter and sprit is to lay the foun­da­tion of the so­cial­ist rule of lawwith Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The res­o­lu­tion re­it­er­ates that good laws are a pre­con­di­tion for good gov­er­nance. To en­sure this, all laws, reg­u­la­tions and ad­min­is­tra­tive doc­u­ments have to un­dergo con­sti­tu­tional re­view. In fact, the res­o­lu­tion clearly states that all ad­min­is­tra­tive doc­u­ments will be put un­der scru­tiny and those con­tra­dict­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion will be re­voked or cor­rected.

By mis­in­ter­pret­ing the plenum’s res­o­lu­tion as plac­ing the Party above the Con­sti­tu­tion, Western me­dia out­lets have only ex­posed their ig­no­rance of so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The pref­ace to the Con­sti­tu­tion ac­knowl­edges the CPC as the coun­try’s gov­ern­ing party and as­serts that multi-party co­op­er­a­tion will be de­vel­oped and po­lit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tion will be held un­der the lead­er­ship of the CPC. This means it is the Con­sti­tu­tion that be­stows on the CPC the power to lead the coun­try, which makes the CPC’s lead­er­ship in China a legally bind­ing re­al­ity.

As the gov­ern­ing party and the leader of China’s so­cial­ist revo­lu­tion, the Party has been work­ing to im­prove its gov­er­nance for the ben­e­fit of the coun­try and the peo­ple. Given China’s his­tory and ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, “top to bot­tom” ef­forts are needed to strengthen the rule of law, which is not pos­si­ble with­out the ad­vanced and en­light­ened lead­er­ship of the Party.

As top leader Xi Jin­ping said, to forge iron, the ham­mer must be harder than the iron. To ful­fill its re­spon­si­bil­ity of strength­en­ing the rule of law, the CPC must first strengthen it­self, es­pe­cially its struc­ture and in­ner-party sys­tem.

The plenum res­o­lu­tion says the Party will im­prove its in­ter­nal reg­u­la­tory sys­tem as part of the ef­forts to es­tab­lish so­cial­ist rule of lawwith Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics, which, in turn, will boost the Party’s ca­pa­bil­ity of gov­er­nance.

The CPC’s lead­er­ship and its ef­forts to strengthen the rule of law do not mean it is above the law. It means the CPC is the most com­pe­tent and best suited body to achieve the task of es­tab­lish­ing so­cial­ist rule of lawwith Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. Western ob­servers must know that no or­ga­ni­za­tion or in­di­vid­ual, in­clud­ing the CPC and its mem­bers, violating the Con­sti­tu­tion will go un­pun­ished.

In terms of leg­is­la­tion, the Party’s lead­er­ship is aimed at im­prov­ing the decision-mak­ing process to en­sure that ev­ery newlawis in ac­cor­dance with the spirit of the Con­sti­tu­tion and peo­ple’s will.

The Party’s lead­er­ship in strength­en­ing the rule of lawwill also help de­velop a law-abid­ing gov­ern­ment and en­sure that it func­tions trans­par­ently. More­over, the Party’s lead­er­ship will be crit­i­cal in build­ing an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial and pros­e­cu­to­rial sys­tem, and pre­vent­ing gov­ern­ment lead­ers from in­ter­ven­ing in le­gal cases. The au­thor is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the South­west Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law, Chongqing.

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