Us­ing rule of law to man­age armed forces

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

At a meet­ing on Tues­day, the Po­lit­i­cal Bureau of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of deep­en­ing mil­i­tary re­form. And top leader Xi Jin­ping re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of mil­i­tary leg­is­la­tion, and in­ter­pre­ta­tion or an­nul­ment of laws and reg­u­la­tions.

In May, Xi signed a de­cree, lay­ing out rules for the for­mu­la­tion of mil­i­tary laws and reg­u­la­tions, as well as the pro­ce­dure for draft­ing stan­dard doc­u­ments. The de­cree will help reg­u­late rule­mak­ing for the mil­i­tary and stan­dard­ize the for­mu­la­tion of mil­i­tary laws and reg­u­la­tions.

The re­form of mil­i­tary law-mak­ing is ex­pected to strengthen mil­i­tary laws by mak­ing clear the leg­isla­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of all par­ties con­cerned. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est reg­u­la­tion, the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, for ex­am­ple, has the right to for­mu­late mil­i­tary laws and reg­u­la­tions, while the mil­i­tary units can only draw up reg­u­la­tions. In terms of ef­fect, it makes clear the reg­u­la­tions pro­mul­gated by the CMC over­ride those passed by the units.

Be­sides, all mil­i­tary laws, nor­ma­tive doc­u­ments and reg­u­la­tions are now sub­ject to the new reg­u­la­tion on mil­i­tary leg­is­la­tion. Pre­vi­ously, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of nor­ma­tive doc­u­ments was ex­empt from su­per­vi­sion at the cen­tral level, which could lead to in­ef­fi­cient, even coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, leg­isla­tive work.

On leg­is­la­tion, the lat­est reg­u­la­tion stresses the ab­so­lute lead­er­ship of the Com­mu­nist Party of China over the mil­i­tary. In par­tic­u­lar, the draft­ing, sub­mis­sion, mod­i­fi­ca­tion and is­suance pro­cesses all are sub­ject to scru­tiny by Party com­mit­tees at all lev­els. Which is in line with the Leg­is­la­tion Law, which was re­vised in 2015 to broaden public par­tic­ipa- tion in leg­is­la­tion and stream­line leg­isla­tive con­sul­ta­tion, es­pe­cially to meet the need for fur­ther civil­ian-mil­i­tary in­te­gra­tion.

Os­ten­si­bly, mil­i­tary laws and reg­u­la­tions ap­ply only to the mil­i­tary. But their im­ple­men­ta­tion can also af­fect or­di­nary ci­ti­zens, whose co­or­di­na­tion in is­sues such as mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion, na­tional de­fense ed­u­ca­tion, pro­tec­tion of mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties and ar­range­ments for re­tired ser­vice­men mat­ters a great deal. In other words, those for­mu­lat­ing mil­i­tary laws and reg­u­la­tions also have to take into ac­count the ac­tiv­i­ties of ci­ti­zens, or­ga­ni­za­tions and en­ter­prises.

... con­nec­tion be­tween the mil­i­tary and civil­ians needs to be strength­ened to ful­fill the due pur­poses.

Man­ag­ing de­fense af­fairs in ac­cor­dance with the rule of law de­pends on stronger na­tional de­fense laws as well as their im­ple­men­ta­tion, and a func­tion­ing ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nism. Since na­tional de­fense is not about just mil­i­tary buildup but also to serve the peo­ple, the con­nec­tion be­tween the mil­i­tary and civil­ians needs to be strength­ened to ful­fill the due pur­poses.

The au­thor is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at North­west Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Science and Law.

Yang Yongkang

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