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
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.