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China stresses authority of Constitution, pledges judicial reform

2014-10-29 08:53 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee published the full text of last weeks' decision on the rule of law on Tuesday, along with an explanation by President Xi Jinping.

The decision, adopted at the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Thursday, stressed the supreme authority of the Constitution, and promised wide ranging changes to the judicial system.

The CPC leadership is the fundamental guarantee of the rule of law, and the Constitution is the fundamental law. Government officials must now pledge their allegiance to the Constitution before taking office.

Xi said the Party must comprehensively promote rule of law to build a well-off society, to deepen reform and to achieve the Chinese dream of a rejuvenated nation.

The decision was drafted by a group headed by Xi and his two deputies Zhang Dejiang, top legislator, and Wang Qishan, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC.


According to the decision, all officials elected or appointed by people's congresses or their standing committees, at all levels, must now take a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

This is a deliberate underlining of the authority of the Constitution, the "basic law" governing the country, according CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi. Dec. 4 has been designated Constitution Day.

The country will set up a list of government powers and ban administrative authorities from any extralegal activity. Law-abiding government will be promoted with functions, authority, procedures and responsibilities clearly laid out and mandated in law, and strictly practiced in line with law, said Xi.

Problems in administration and law enforcement such as failure to enforce the law or bending the law for personal gain will be strictly dealt with, Xi said.

A government power list will squeeze out the room for rent-seeking and no government authority will be allowed to exercise extralegal power. No decision may undermine the rights and interests of citizens, corporations or other organizations, the decision says. Additional obligations for citizens or others may not be created without legal authorization.

A system to put major government decisions through checks and reviews will be established and authorities will have legal advisors to ensure their decisions and administrative work are in line with the law.

The vitality of law lies in its implementation, and the authority of law is established during its implementation, Xi said.

The passage of national anti-graft legislation should be accelerated and the system to punish and prevent corruption improved, with the goal of setting up an effective anti-graft mechanism so "government officials dare not, cannot and do not want to be corrupt".

In another development on Tuesday, Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, has confessed to taking bribes. Military prosecutors have finished their investigation and started the procedure to file the case. Xu was previously expelled from the Party, discharged from military service and stripped of his rank of general.

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