The goal of turning China into a modern socialist country in all respects based on the rule of law, which was put forward during the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, represents a major innovation in the country's philosophy of law-based governance, legal experts said.
In-depth discussions on the topic were held at the China University of Political Science and Law, which also had the aim of studying the speech President Xi Jinping made while visiting the university six years ago.
In May 2017, during a talk with senior law professors and students at the university, Xi called for more efforts to promote the rule of law and train individuals for the cause.
Fully implementing the rule of law is essential, and an important measure in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.
Xi called on law schools to enhance research of basic issues of law and associated matters, and to provide theoretical support for the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.
In training law professionals, Xi highlighted the need to train students in virtue in addition to legal knowledge.
Hu Ming, Party secretary of the China University of Political Science and Law, said the university has achieved a series of original and signature results in the creation of legal discipline, an academic system, discourse and textbooks with Chinese characteristics, as well as training legal talent.
The university will continue to explore Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, strengthen research on legal education and legal theories in the new era, explore the creation of China's legal education system and turn the university into a world-class institution focused on creating law-based governance in China, he said.
Xu Xianming, a vice-president of the China Law Society, said that providing training in virtue in addition to legal knowledge is fundamental to the formation of legal professionals, and is an approach that requires further research and practice.
The Chinese path to modernization shares similarities with the paths to modernization taken in other countries that are industrialized and market-based, and where democracy, the rule of law, urbanization and informatization apply, he said.
Jiang Bixin, also a vice-president of the China Law Society, said that the legal community in China needs to address "structural and supply-side contradictions" in the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.
It needs to improve the legal system, balance the relationship between law and justice, improve the system for the implementation of the Constitution, help navigate the relationship between reform and the rule of law, and strike a balance between confidence in China's system and the absorption of foreign ideas, he said.
Chen Guoqing, deputy general prosecutor of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said that creating a modern socialist country in all respects must be based on the rule of law, as a demonstration that law-based governance is a basic requirement and guarantee of the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Wang Zhenjiang, vice-minister of the Ministry of Justice, said the notion of turning China into a modern socialist country in all respects based on the rule of law enriches Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law.
The rule of law is the prerequisite of a modernized country, which means that a modern country must be a country based on the rule of law and that a country must achieve the rule of law in order to become a modern country, he said.
Niu Qingshan, chairman of the Beijing Federation of Social Science Circles, said that there are three stages of development for the modernization of China's rule of law: the development of traditional Chinese law, learning from Western law, and surpassing Western law and achievements.
"Learning from China's legal tradition is the foundation for achieving the modernization of the rule of law, and without it, there will not be a breakthrough, let alone the ability to surpass Western legal achievements," he said.