Backgrounder: China's comprehensive moves in advancing rule of law

2017-08-10 13:40:33 GMT2017-08-10 21:40:33(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The 12th National People's Congress (NPC)and its standing committee have formulated 20 laws and passed 39 decisions to revise 100 laws as of the end of June, data from the NPC showed.

These are part of the achievements China has made to comprehensively advance the rule of law.

In October 2014, the Communist Party of China (CPC) vowed to accelerate the building of a socialist country with rule of law at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, laying a solid foundation for the country's lasting stability and peace.

Since then, China has entered a "fast track" in building a country with rule of law, with new laws stipulated or revised to improve the legal system with Chinese characteristics.

NEW LAWS

In 2014, the central leadership decided to compile the General Provisions of the Civil Law -- a crucial first step in developing the civil code.

The law, a key move in building China into a moderately prosperous society by 2020, aims to regulate civil activities and modernize state governance. General Provisions were adopted at the fifth annual session of the 12th NPC early this year and will be enacted on Oct. 1.

In November 2016, the NPC Standing Committee issued the Interpretation of the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in response to disagreements on the provisions of the Basic Law in Hong Kong, which had affected the implementation of the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle.

The interpretation underscores the authority of the Basic Law and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law was revised in 2015, adding a new chapter on dealing with smoggy days and stipulating the establishment of a monitoring and early warning system for heavily polluted days.

The system of reeducation through labor was abolished in 2013, showing improvements and progress in judicial protection of human rights.

JUDICIAL JUSTICE

As wrongful convictions are a disgrace to justice, China's judicial authorities have pledged to learn from past lessons and prevent such cases.

During the term of the 18th CPC Central Committee, judicial organs have redressed 34 major wrong or mishandled cases, highlighting the case of Nie Shubin.

Nie was executed in 1995 for raping and murdering a woman on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang City in north China. The second circuit court under the Supreme People's Court revoked his previous verdict last year, ruling that the conviction had been based on insufficient evidence and unclear facts.

To improve judicial justice and credibility, measures for letting judges assume lifelong responsibility for cases they handle and holding them accountable for any miscarriage of justice were outlined at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

These measures require officials to shoulder more responsibility, preventing them from making wrong judgements.

STRICT PARTY GOVERNANCE

In the past five years, the CPC Central Committee has formulated or revised nearly 80 Party regulations, accounting for more than 40 percent of existing regulations.

The key to strict Party governance relies on a "key few" officials, referring to leading officials at the central, provincial and local levels.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC has probed officials, from low-level "flies" to high-ranking "tigers," since the current leadership took office in late 2012 and announced a high-profile anti-graft crackdown.

Among the tigers felled in the campaign were Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee; Bo Xilai, former Party chief of Chongqing Municipality; Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, both former top generals and vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission; and Ling Jihua and Su Rong, former vice chairmen of China's top political advisory body.

The handling of these cases demonstrates that all people are equal before Party regulations, and the enforcement of such rules allows no privilege or exception.

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