New paper: China’s Constitutionalism Debate

In the 4th Plenum Decision, the Party leadership repeatedly paeans the Constitution, even to the point that 4 December – the date of the current Constitution’s ratification in 1982 – has been named “National Constitution Day”. Two years ago, however, a speech by Xi Jinping commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Constitution led to a months-long nationwide debate on what the role of the Constitution in China’s society should be. As time went by, it became rather vociferous, and ended in the Social media crackdown of September last year. In this new paper, I’ve analysed the constitutionalism debate in terms of its content, but also as a political event that has important implications for our understanding of legal reform in China. It can be downloaded free of charge from SSRN.

Explanation concerning the “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Governing the Country According to the law Forward”

Xi Jinping

On behalf of the Politburo, I will explain the drafting process of the “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Governing the Country According to the law Forward” to the Plenum.

I, Concerning the background and process of drafting the plenary Decision

After the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, the Centre set to deliberating and considering the topic for the 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress. The 18th Party Congress put forward the struggle objective of comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society, the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress produced a top-level design for comprehensively deepening reform, and to realize this struggle objective and implement this top-level design, it was necessary to provide reliable guarantees through the rule of law.

The 18th Party Congress put forward that the rule of law is a basic method to govern the country, that it is necessary to accelerate the construction of a Socialist rule of law country and comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward; by 202, the basic plan for ruling the country according to the law is to be basically implemented and a rule of law government is to be basically established, judicial credibility is to increase incessantly, and human rights are to gain real respect and protection. The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress further put forward that to construct a rule of law China, we must persist in moving ruling the country according to the law, governing according to the law and administering according to the law forward together, and persist in the integrated construction of a rule of law country, a rule of law government and a rule of law society. Comprehensively implementing these deployments and requirements affects the acceleration of constructing a Socialist rule of law country, it affects the implementation of the top-level design to comprehensively deepen reform, and it affects the long-term development of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The law is a strong weapon for ruling the country, the rule of law is an important pillar for the State governance system and governance capacity. Comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward is a fundamental requirement for resolving a series of major questions that we face in the development of the undertakings of the Party and the state, for liberating and strengthening social vitality, stimulating social justice, safeguarding social harmony and stability, and guaranteeing the long-term peace and order of the Party and the country. If we aim to promote the sustained and healthy development of our country’s economy and society, and incessantly open up even broader development prospects for the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must comprehensively move the construction of a Socialist rule of law country forward, and provide institutionalized plans to resolve these problems through rule of law.

Since reform and opening up, our Party has consistently given high regard to the rule of law. In December 1978, Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that: “We should concentrate our strengths to formulate a criminal law, a civil law, a procedural law and all other kinds of necessary laws, such as a factory law, a people’s commune law, a forestry law, a grassland law, an environmental protection law, a labour law, a foreign investment law, etc., these are to be discussed and passes through a certain democratic procedure, furthermore, we must strengthen the prosecutorial bodies and the judicial bodies, ensure that there are laws to rely upon, the law must be relied upon, law enforcement must be strict and law-breakers must be punished.” The 15th Party Congress put forward we must rule the country according to the law and build a Socialist rule of law country, it stressed that ruling the country according to the law is a basic strategy for our Party’s leading the people and governing the country, it is an objective requirement to develop a Socialist market economy, it is an important symbol of social and civilizational progress, and an important guarantee for the long-term peace and order of the country. The 16th Party Congress put forward we must develop Socialist democratic politics, and the most fundamental matter is that we must organically integrate persisting in the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and ruling the country according to the law. The 17th Party Congress pointed out that ruling the country according to the law is a fundamental requirement of Socialist democratic politics, stressing that we must comprehensively implement the basic strategy of ruling the country according to the law and accelerate the construction of a Socialist rule of law country. The 18th Party Congress stressed that we must pay even more attention to giving rein to the important rule of rule of law in governing the country and managing society.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Centre has paid high regard to ruling the country according to the law, it stressed that, to implement the basic strategy of ruling the country according to the law and accelerate the construction of a Socialist rule of law country, we must comprehensively move forward with scientific legislation judicial fairness, and the entire people abiding by the law, it stressed that we must persist in the leadership of the Party, and pay even more attention to improving the Party’s leadership methods and governance methods; to rule the country according to the law, we must first and foremost rule the country according to the Constitution; the crux of governing according to the law is governing according to the Constitution; under new circumstances, for our Party to implement well its major duties of governing and rejuvenating the country, it must rely on the Part Constitution to strictly govern the Party, and rely on the Constitution to rule the country; the Party leads the people in formulating the Constitution and the law, the Party leads the people in implementing the Constitution and the law, the Party itself must act within the scope of the Constitution and the law, and truly ensure that the Party leads legislation, guarantees law enforcement, and sets the example for abiding by the law.

Now, the comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society has entered a decisive stage, and reform has entered a period of assault and an area of deep water. The tasks of reform, development and stability that our Party faces are heavy without precedent, the contradictions, risks and challenges it faces are unprecedented in number, the position of ruling the country according to the law in the overall picture of the work of the Party and the state has become more prominent and its role has become ever heavier. Completely moving ruling the country according to the law forward is a major strategic issue that affects our Party governing and rejuvenating the country, affects the people’s welfare, peace and health, and affects the long-term peace and order of the Party and the country, it is an important area in which toe perfect and develop the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and move the modernization of the State governing system and governing capacity forward. If we aim to realize the series of strategic deployments made at the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, comprehensively construct a moderately prosperous society and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, comprehensively deepen reform, perfect and develop the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must make a general deployment for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, adopt realistic steps, and march ahead with a solid pace.

In view of these considerations, in January of this year, the Politburo decided that the focus of the 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress would be the deliberation of major questions in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward and producing a Decision. To this end, a document drafting group was established with myself as the head, Comrade Zhang Dejiang and Comrade Wang Qishan as vice-heads, in which responsible comrades from relevant departments and two provincial leading comrades participated, which conducted the work of drafting a document under the leadership of the Politburo Standing Committee.

On 27 January, the Party Centre issued the “Notice concerning Soliciting Opinions on Deliberating Questions of Comprehensively Moving Ruling the Country According to the Law Forward at the 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress.” On 12 February, the document-drafting group held its first plenary session, officially starting the work of drafting the document. From 18 February to 25 February, the document-drafting group composed eight investigation and research groups that left for fourteen provincial provinces, regions and municipalities for investigation and research.

In terms of feedback and opinions from all sides and the actual investigation and research situation on the ground, everyone unanimously believed that the 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress should deliberate the question of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward and produce a Decision, this is of major and profound significance, it conforms to the development needs of the undertakings of the Party and the country, and the expectations of the people of all ethnicities in the entire Party and the entire country. Everyone universally hopes that, through this Decision, the guiding opinions and general requirements for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward are made clear, that it profoundly expounds the relationship between Party leadership and ruling the country according to the law, and other such major theoretical and practical questions in rule of law construction, that it provides powerful measures aimed at prominent issues in rule of law work to which the masses strongly react, and provides a top-level design for a Socialist rule of law country.

In the eight months since the establishment of the document-drafting group, there has been deep investigation and research, broad solicitation of opinion, topical argumentation and repeated discussion and revision. For instance, the Standing Committee convened three meetings and the Politburo convened two meetings to separately deliberate the Plenum Decision. In early August, the opinion solicitation draft of the Decision was issued to a certain circle within the Party to solicit opinions, which included soliciting the opinions of old comrades within the Party, we also especially heard the opinions from all democratic party’s centres, responsible persons within the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and non-party personalities.

In terms of feedback, everyone unanimously believed that the Plenum Decision is directly aimed at the prominent problems in the are of our country’s rule of law construction, it is based on the reality of our country’s Socialist rule of law construction, and clearly puts forward the guiding opinions, general objectives and basic principles to comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, it proposes a number of new viewpoints and new measures concerning ruling the country according to the law, which answer a series of major theoretical questions concerning the relationship between the leadership of the Party and ruling the country according to the law, it provided a comprehensive deployment concerning scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, judicial fairness, all of the people abiding by the law, constructing rule of law teams, and strengthening and improving party leadership over ruling the country according to the law, and it responded to the calls of the popular masses and the concerns of society in a focused manner. All sides unanimously believe that the Plenum Decision clearly puts forward the major judgments of persisting in marching a Socialist rule of law development path with Chinese characteristics and building a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, and clarifies the essence, orientation, path and methods of constructing a Socialist rule of law country, and will powerfully move the construction of a Socialist rule of law country forward.

In the process of soliciting opinions, all sides put forward many good opinions and suggestions. Centre charged the document-drafting group with earnestly combing through and researching these opinions and suggestions. The document-drafting group made important revisions to the Plenum Decision.

II, Concerning the general framework and main content of the Plenum Decision

The Politburo believes that comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward relates to all areas of reform, development and stability, governing the Party, the country and the military, as well as internal affairs, foreign relations and national defence, we must base ourselves on the overall picture and plan matters comprehensively for the long term. The Plenum Decision should provide a response to major theoretical and practical questions of rule of law construction with clear banners flying, it should fully affirm the successes in and experiences from our country’s Socialist rule of law construction, and put forward new viewpoints and new measures with a rich spirit of innovation, to actual and real problems; it should grasp the crux of rule of law construction, and reflect the needs of the overall picture of the development of the undertakings of the Party and the country; it should operate from an advantageous height and provide a good top-level design, and be down-to-earth, and ensure feasibility and practicality; it should both stress successes in the near future, and seek effects in the long term.

The Plenum Decision drafting process brought considerations in five areas into prominence. The first is implementing the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, implementing the Party Centre’s work deployment since the 18th Party Congress, and reflecting the logical relations between the “three comprehensives” of comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepening reform and comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. The second is concentrating on the general composition of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, reflecting the need of raising rule of law levels in order to move reform and development forward in all areas, and that it is not a matter of rule of law for the sake of rule of law. The third is reflecting the present basic structure of rule of law work, and producing work deployments in the area of legislation, law enforcement, the judiciary and abiding by the law. The fourth is persisting in the direction of reform, and the problem-based orientation, adapting to the demands of moving the State governance structure forward and modernizing governing capacity, directly facing prominent problems in the area of rule of law construction, responding to the expectations of the popular masses, and striving to produce reform measures that have an important significance for ruling the country according to the law. The fifth is basing ourselves on our country’s national circumstances, starting from reality, persisting in marching the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, moving forward with the times, reflecting the spirit of the times, and not copying or imitating other countries’ models.

The Plenum Decision is divided into three large segments. The Introduction and the first part constitute the first segment, which can be considered as a general introduction. Part one puts forward that we must persist in the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics with clear banners flying, construct a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, and build a Socialist rule of law country, it elucidates the major significance, guiding opinions, overall objectives and fundamental principles for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, it elucidates the scientific content of the Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, it elucidates the relationship between Party leadership and ruling the country according to the law, and other such major questions.

The second segment consists of parts two through five, it stats from the present basic rule of law structure, and provides elaborations and deployments concerning scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, judicial fairness and letting the entire population abide by the law. Part two discusses perfecting a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics with the Constitution at the core and strengthening the implementation of the Constitution, it elaborates four topics, completing structures for constitutional implementation and supervision, perfecting legislative systems, deeply moving scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, and strengthening legislation in focus areas, it provides basic requirements and concrete measures for constitutional implementation and supervision, and reflects the relationship between ruling the country according to the law and the general structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through deploying legislation in focus areas. Part three discusses deeply moving administration according to the law forward and accelerating the construction of a rule of law government, it elaborates six topics, comprehensively implementing administrative and government functions according to the law, completing mechanisms for policymaking according to the law, deepening structural reform in administrative law enforcement, persisting in strict, standardized, fair and civilized law enforcement, strengthening constraints of and supervision over administrative powers and comprehensively moving government affairs openness. Part four discusses guaranteeing a fair judiciary and raising judicial credibility, it elaborates six topics, perfecting institutions to ensure that judicial powers and prosecutorial powers are exercised independently, fairly and according to the law, optimizing the allocation of judicial duties, moving straitening the judiciary forward, guaranteeing that the popular masses participate in the judiciary, strengthening judicial protection for human rights, and strengthening judicial activities. Part five discusses strengthening the rule of law consciousness among the entire population and moving the construction of a rule of law society forward, it elaborates four topics, promoting the establishment of a rule of law consciousness in the entire society, moving forward with governance according to the law at many levels and in many areas, building perfect legal services systems, and completing mechanisms to defend rights according to the law and resolve disputes.

Part six and part seven, as well as the conclusion, constitute the third segment. Part six discusses strengthening the construction of rule of law work teams, and elaborates on three topics, building high-quality specialist rule of law teams, strengthening the construction of legal services teams, and innovating rule of law talent fostering. Part seven discusses strengthening and improving Party leadership over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and elaborates on seven topics, persisting in governing according to the law, strengthening the construction of intra-Party regulation systems, raising the rule of law thinking and ability to conduct affairs according to the law of Party members and cadres, moving forward the legalization of grass roots governance, deeply moving a rule of law military and a strictly governed military forward, safeguarding the “one country, two systems” practice and moving forward the unification of the motherland according to the law, and strengthening foreign-related legal work. Finally, it calls on the entire Party and the entire country to struggle to build a rule of law China.

III, Some questions that require explanation

First, the relationship between the leadership of the Party and ruling the country according to the law. The relationship between the Party and the rule of law is a core question in the construction of rule of law. The most crucial aspects in whether or not this great matter of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward can be done well are whether or not the orientation is correct and whether or not there are strong political guarantees, concretely, this means that we must persist in the leadership of the Party, persist in the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and implement the theories of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics. The leadership of the Party is the most essential characteristic of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is the most fundamental guarantee of Socialist rule of law. The Socialist system with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental structural basis for the system of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, and is the fundamental structural guarantee for Socialist rule of law. The theory of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics is the theoretical guidance and academic pillar for the Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, and is a guide for actions in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. These three aspects essentially are the core points of the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, which determine and ensure the structural characteristics and progressive orientation of the Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics.

The Plenum Decision clearly puts forward that persisting in Party leadership is a fundamental requirement of Socialist rule of law, it is where the foundations and the life-line of the Party and the State lie, the interests and happiness of the people of all ethnicities in the entire country are tied to it, and it is a proper element of moving ruling the country according to the law forward. Party leadership and Socialist rule of law are identical, Socialist rule of law must persist in Party leadership, Party leadership must rely on Socialist rule of law. The Plenum Decision concentrates on strengthening and improving Party leadership over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward by proposing “three in one” and “four good ats”, and has made a systematic deployment.

The organic unity of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and governing the country according to the law are a basic experience of our country’s Socialist rule of law construction. Our country’s Constitution reflects the achievements of the Party leading the people in conducting the revolution, construction and reform in the form of a fundamental law, and it establishes the leading position of the people shaped through history and the choice of the people. On this point, we must speak with justice on our side, and speak with flying banners and beating drums. We must make clear to the cadres and masses what the essential characteristics of Socialist rule of law are, ensure our message is clear, and ensure a correct understanding of truth.

Second, the general objectives of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. The Plenum Decision points out that the general objectives of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward are constructing a system of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and constructing a Socialist rule of law country, furthermore, it elaborates these general objectives as follows: under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, persist in the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, implement the theory of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, form a perfect system of legal norms, a highly efficient system to implement the rule of law, a strict rule of law supervision system, and powerful rule of law guarantee systems, shape perfect intra-Party regulatory systems, persist in moving ruling the country according to the law, governing according to the law and administration according to the law forward together, persist in the united construction of a rule of law country, a rule of law government and an rule of law society, realize scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, a fair judiciary and obedience to the law among the entire population, and stimulate the modernization of the State governance system and governing capacity.

Putting forward these general objectives determines the essence and orientation for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and creates prominent focus work points and general handholds for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. This is a clear declaration at home and abroad that we will unflinchingly march the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics. The path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics is the concentrated embodiment of the achievements and experiences of Socialist rule of law construction, and the only correct path to construct a Socialist rule of law country. On the question of which rule of law path to march, we must set a clear and correct signal to the entire society, clearly indicate the correct direction of moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and unite the understandings and actions of the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country. Second, it makes the general handhold for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward clear. Comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward touches upon many aspects, but in real work, there must be one general handhold t grasp the overall picture and lead all sides, this general handhold is constructing a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics. All areas of work concerning ruling the country according to the law must revolve around this general handhold in their planning and execution. Third, constructing a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics and building a Socialist rule of law country are inevitable requirements for realizing the modernization of the State governing system and governing capacity, and are inevitable requirements for comprehensively deepening reform, they benefit moving forward the modernization of the State governing system and governing capacity along rule of law rails, they benefit moving forward all work concerning ruling the country according to the law within the general framework of comprehensively deepening reform, and they benefit the incessant deepening of reform along rule of law rails.

Third, completing constitutional implementation and supervision systems. The Constitution is the fundamental law of the country, to see whether the authority of the rule of law can be established, we must first and foremost see whether the Constitution has authority. We must make propagating and establishing the authority of the Constitution in a major task in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, grasp it tightly and grasp it well, and spend real efforts on constitutional implementation and supervision.

The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress pointed out that we must further complete constitutional implementation and supervision mechanisms and procedures, and raise the requirements to implement the Constitution to a new level. This Plenum Decision further puts forward that we must perfect the constitutional supervision system of the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, and complete procedures and mechanisms for constitutional interpretation; strengthen the construction of the filing and review system and its capacity, cancel and correct normative documents that violate the Constitution and violate the law; 4 December is designated as National Constitution Day; broadly launch education about the Constitution in all of society, and carry forward the spirit of the Constitution.

The Plenum Decision puts forward that we must establish a constitutional oath system. This is a sort of system that the vast majority of countries with a written constitution worldwide have. In 142 countries with a written constitution, there are 97 countries whose public personnel must swear an oath to support or pledge loyalty to the Constitution. The subjects, content and procedures of constitutional oaths are quite similar in various countries, they are generally sworn in before or when a public official takes office. The Plenum Decision provides that all State personnel elected or appointed by People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees must openly swear the constitutional oath when they take office. Doing things in this manner benefits demonstrating the authority of the Constitution, strengthening the constitutional consciousness of public officials, and encouraging public officials to be loyal to and support the Constitution, it also benefits the strengthening of a constitutional consciousness and the establishment of the Constitution’s authority in the whole society.

Fourth, perfecting the legislative system. Since the establishment of the new China and especially since reform and opening up, through a long time of effort, China has formed a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, and it has generally been realized that there are laws to rely upon in all aspects of the country’s life and social life, this is a terrific and major success. At the same time, we must also recognize that the development of practice is boundless, and that legislative work is boundless, perfecting the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics remains a heavy task.

We face a series of prominent problems in the area of legislation, for instance, the quality of legislation needs to be further raised, some laws and regulations insufficiently completely reflect objective laws and the will of the people, they are insufficiently effective in solving real problems, and are not strongly focused or practicable; legislative efficiency needs to be further raised as well. In addition, the phenomena of departmental biases fights for power and shirking of responsibility are relatively prominent, some legislation in fact has become a sort of game of interests, if it isn’t the case that matters are delayed for long times without decisions being made, then it is the case that formulated laws and regulations are not very useful, some localities use regulations to carry out local protectionism, creating obstacles for the shaping of a uniform, open, competitive and orderly market order in the entire country, and harming the unity of the country’s rule of law.

Moving scientific and democratic legislation forward is a fundamental channel to raise legislative quality. The core of scientific legislation lies in respecting and reflecting objective laws, the core of democratic legislation lies in working for the sake of the people and relying on the people. We must perfect scientific legislation and democratic legislation mechanisms, innovate methods for the public to participate in legislation, and broadly hear opinions and suggestions from all sides. The Plenum Decision put forward that we must clarify the boundaries of legislative powers, and effectively prevent through structures, mechanisms and work procedures that departmental interests and local protectionism are legalized First, complete structures and mechanisms for People’s Congresses with legislative powers to lead legislative work, and give rein to the leading role of People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees in legislative work; establish structures for the drafting of important laws that are comprehensive, affect the overall picture or are fundamental, which are organized by special committees of the National People’s Congress and the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Legal Work Committee, with participation from relevant departments; strengthen the proportion of specialist Standing Committee members who have experience with legal practice; establish and complete structures for legislative expert advisory in special committees and work committees. Second, strengthen and improve the construction of the government legislative system, perfect procedures for the formulation of administrative regulations and rules, perfect government legislation mechanisms with mass participation; the drafting of important administrative management laws and regulations is to be organized by government legal affairs bodies; for important legislative matters where interdepartmental disputes are relatively large, the policymaking body will bring in a third party to evaluate the matter, it cannot be that the matter is delayed for long without a decision. Third, clarify the limits and scope for local legislation, it is prohibited that localities formulate and issue documents having a legislative quality.

It must be made clear that, in our country, the law puts demands to the entire body of citizens, Intra-Party regulations put demands towards the whole body of Party members, furthermore, many localities’ demands are even stricter than those of the law. Our Party is the vanguard, demands put on Party members should be even higher. To comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, we must strive to create a structure in which State laws and regulations, and intra-Party laws and regulations are mutually complementary, stimulate each other and guarantee each other.

Fifth, accelerate the creation of a rule of law government. The life of the law lies in its implementation, the authority of the law also lies in its implementation. “In the affairs of all under heaven, the difficulty is not to make law, the difficulty is to make implementing the law mandatory. If there are laws and they are not implemented, if they are merely pun on a high shelf, or their implementation is not powerful, and they are merely documents on the surface, however many laws we formulate, none of this will be to any avail. The focus point of moving ruling the country according to the law forward should be to ensure the strict implementation of the law, and to ensure that “legislation must be implemented where it is violated; where orders are issued, they must only be followed and not reversed”.

Governance is the principal part of law enforcement, the common people abhor prominent problems such as that laws are not relied upon, law enforcement is not strict, violations of the law are not punished or even that power is used to suppress the law, power and money are exchanged, and the law is bent for friends and relatives. The Plenum Decision pointed out a series of important measures. The first is moving forward the legalization of bodies, functions, powers, procedures and responsibilities, it provides that administrative bodies may not establish powers outside of the law, they may not decide to reduce the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations without a basis in law, or add to their burdens; a governmental power list system is implemented, persist in eliminating the use of power to or rent setting and rent seeking. Second, establish legality review mechanisms inside administrative bodies for major policy decisions, vigorously carry out the administrative government legal advice system, ensure that legal advisors play a positive role in formulating major administrative policies and moving administration according to the law forward; establish life-long responsibility investigation systems and responsibility tracing mechanisms for major policy decisions. Third, move comprehensive law enforcement forward, rationalize the urban management law enforcement system, perfect law enforcement procedures, establish recording systems for the entire process of law enforcement, strictly implement systems for the legal review of major law enforcement decisions, completely implement administrative law enforcement responsibility systems. Fourth strengthen constrains on internal government power, implement a separation between affairs and the use of power, set up powers in separate positions and endow power at different levels in departments and positions where power is concentrated such as in financial resource allocation and use, State-owned asset supervision, government investment, government procurement, public resource transfers, public project construction, etc., strengthen control over internal workflows, prevent the abuse of power; perfect internal government hierarchical supervision and special supervision; guarantee that auditing and supervision powers are exercised independently and according to the law. Fifth, comprehensively move government affairs openness forward, move policymaking openness, enforcement openness, management openness, service openness and results openness forward, focus on moving forward government information openness in areas such as finance and budgeting, public resource allocation, major construction project approval and implementation, public undertaking construction, etc. These measures must be strongly focused, and run in tandem with the spirit of the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party congress, they are extremely crucial to the construction of a rule of law government.

Sixth, raising judicial credibility. The judiciary is the final line of defence to safeguard social justice and fairness. In the past, I have used a quote from the English philosopher, Bacon, who said: “One foul sentence doth more hurt than many foul examples. For these do but corrupt the stream, the other corrupteth the fountain.” This contains a profound truth. If the judicial line of defence lacks credibility, social justice will be universally called into question, social harmony and stability will be difficult to guarantee. Because of this, the Plenum Decision points out that fairness is the lifeline of the rule of law; judicial fairness has an important guiding role for social justice, judicial unfairness has a fatally destructive impact on social justice.

At present, the main problems existing in the judiciary, judicial unfairness and a low level of credibility in the judiciary, are extremely prominent, some judicial personnel have improper work styles, do not handle cases cleanly, they deal in money cases, guanxi cases and personal feelings cases, they “eat the plaintiff and eat the defendant”, etc. The deep-seated reasons for judicial unfairness lie in the fact that the judicial system is imperfect, the allocation of judicial powers and the mechanisms to use power are not scientific, and the system to judicially protect human rights are not complete.

The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress put forward a series of reform measures to deal with the prominent problems existing in the judicial area, reform of the judicial system and its operational mechanisms is being moved forward in an orderly manner. This Plenum Decision provides even deeper deployments to guarantee judicial fairness on the basis of the Decision of the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress. For example, in order to ensure that judicial powers and prosecutorial powers are exercised independently, fairly and according to the law, the Plenum Decision stimulates the establishment of systems to record and report interference in judicial activities by leading cadres and meddling in handling concrete cases, and to pursue responsibility; complete structures for administrative bodies to appear in court and hear suits according to the law, support courts’ reception of administrative cases, respect and implement courts’ valid judgments; establish and complete mechanisms to protect judicial personnel carrying out their statutory responsibilities, etc., In order to optimize the allocation of judicial powers, the Plenum Decision puts forward the promotion and implementation of structural reform trials for the separation of judicial powers and implementation powers; unify penalty enforcement systems; explore implementing a separation between the judicial affairs management powers of courts and procuratorates, their judicial powers and prosecutorial powers; change the case filing review system into a case filing registration system, etc. In order to ensure that the popular masses participate in the judiciary, the Plenum Decision puts forward to perfect the people’s assessor system, and broadening the scope of participation; move trial openness, prosecutorial openness, police openness and prison openness forward; establish structures to upload valid legal documents online and for open inquiry, etc. The Plenum Decision also provides important reform measures to strengthen the judicial protection of human rights and to strengthen supervision over judicial activities.

Seventh, the Supreme People’s Court will establish circuit tribunals. In recent years, following the increase of social contradictions, the number of cases accepted by courts nationwide has incessantly increased, and it is especially the case that a large amount of cases have flooded into the Supreme People’s Court, leading to an increase in its trial and petitioning pressure, the difficulty to stop cases and reject petitions has increased, which is not beneficial to the Supreme People’s Court’s role in supervising and guiding the work of courts nationwide, it is not beneficial to safeguarding social stability, and it is not beneficial to make it convenient for parties to sue.

The Plenum Decision puts forward that the Supreme People’s Court will establish circuit tribunals, to hear major administrative, civil and commercial cases taking place across administrative borders. This will benefit the centre of gravity of judicial organs moving down, resolving disputes where they occur and making it convenient for parties to sue, it benefits that the Supreme People’s Court itself concentrates its strengths to formulate judicial policies and judicial interpretation, and hearing cases that have a major guiding significance to unpitying the application of the law.

Eighth, Exploring the establishment of People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates operating across administrative boundaries. Following the deep development of the Socialist market economy and the emergence of administrative litigation, the number of cases across administrative boundaries and even across national borders has increased, and the amount of values concerned have greatly risen, which led to the fact that relevant departments and leaders in the location of the court paid increasing attention to the handling of cases, and even used their powers and relationships to interfere with the handling of cases, which created the phenomenon of a “home field” in litigation, this is not beneficial to the equal protection of the lawful rights and interests of non-local parties, ensuring that courts conduct independent trials, supervising governments’ administering according to the law and safeguarding the fair implementation of the law.

The Plenum Decision puts forward that we must explore the establishment of People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates operating across administrative boundaries. This benefits eliminating interference in judicial work and prosecutorial work, ensuring that courts and procuratorates exercise judicial powers and prosecutorial powers independently, fairly and according to the law, and it benefits the creation of a litigation structure in which common cases are heard in courts within administrative locations, and special cases are heard in courts operating across regional boundaries.

Ninth, exploring the establishment of a system in which prosecutorial bodies can initiate public interest cases. At this moment, supervision by prosecutorial bodies of unlawful administrative acts mainly consists of investigating and prosecuting cases in which administrative bodies’ personnel is suspected of corruption or bribery, malfeasance, abuse of power and other such professional crimes, this scope is quite narrow. The real situation is that the proportion of unlawful administrative acts that constitute a crime is relatively low, it more often happens that things re done badly or not at all. If we ignore this kind of unlawful acts, and allow them to develop, it will on the one hand not be possible to fundamentally reverse administrative chaos in a number of localities and departments, and on the other hand, it might lead to a series of symptomatic problems turning into crime. The Plenum Decision puts forward that where prosecutorial bodies in the conduct of their duties discover that administrative bodies exercise their powers in an unlawful manner or don’t exercise their powers, they should urge them to rectify this. The objective of this provision is to ensure that when prosecutorial bodies discover during the handling of cases that administrative bodies and their work personnel carried out unlawful acts, they timely put forward suggestions and supervise rectification. This reform measure may start from establishing mechanisms to supervise and lodge complaints, and perfect prosecutorial suggestion work mechanisms.

In real life, there have been a number of cases where administrative bodies exercised their power unlawfully or did not exercise it at all, resulting in harm to the national or public interest, or the risk thereof, such as State-owned asset protection, State-owned land use right transfer, ecological environment and resource protection, etc., there was no direct relationships of interests between citizens, legal persons and other social organizations, and so they did not or could raise a public interest lawsuit, resulting in a lack of effective judicial supervision over unlawful administrative acts, this is not beneficial to moving administration according to the law and strict administration forward, and strengthening the protection of citizens’ interests. When prosecutorial bodies can raise public interest lawsuits, this will benefit the optimization of the allocation of judicial powers, perfecting the administrative litigation system, and moving the construction of a rule of law government forward.

Tenth, move forward with the construction of a litigation system with trials at the core. Fully giving rein to the role of trials and especially judicial hearings is an important segment in guaranteeing case-handling quality and judicial fairness. Our country’s criminal litigation law provides that public security, prosecutorial and judicial bodies all have their own role in criminal litigation, they work in coordination and mutually constrain each other, this conforms to China’s national circumstances, and is a litigation system that has Chinese characteristics, it must be persisted in. At the same time, in judicial practice, it happens that case-handling personnel pays insufficient regard to courtroom trials, it often occurs that some key evidence has not been collected or has not been collected according to the law, or that cases coming into courtrooms do not meet the statutory requirement that “the facts of the case are clear and the evidence is true and substantial”, resulting in an impossibility to smoothly conduct a trial.

The Plenum Decision puts forward structural reforms in litigation with trials at the centre, the objective is to stimulate case-handling personnel to establish the idea that case-handling must ensure the test of law, ensure that the investigation and examination of evidence for facts in cases can stand the test of law, and ensure that court hearings can play a decisive role in clarifying facts, authenticating evidence, protecting the rights of parties and judicial fairness. These reforms benefit spurring case-handling personnel to strengthen their sense of responsibility, fairly realize that case judgments are substantively just through fair judicial procedures, and effectively prevent the occurrence of unjust, falsified and mistaken cases.

Comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward is a systemic project, and is a broad and profound revolution in the area of national governance. The formulation of this plenum Decision has an extremely important significance. Everyone must deeply comprehend the spirit of the Centre, start from the overall picture of the undertakings of the Party and the country, comprehensively understand and correctly deal with the major reform measures put forward in the Plenum Decision, profoundly comprehend the major real significance and far-reaching historical significance of relevant reforms, consciously support reform and endorse reform. In discussion, I hope everyone stimulates each other, and learns from group discussion, that everyone puts forward constructive opinions and suggestions for revision, ways of thinking and plans to further perfect the Plenum decision, and deepens their understanding, for the benefit of transmission and implementation after the Plenum. Let us work together and hold this meeting well.

 

 

关于《中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定》的说明
习近平
受中央政治局委托,我就《中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定》起草情况向全会作说明。
一、关于全会决定起草背景和过程
党的十八届三中全会后,中央即着手研究和考虑党的十八届四中全会的议题。党的十八大提出了全面建成小康社会的奋斗目标,党的十八届三中全会对全面深化改革作出了顶层设计,实现这个奋斗目标,落实这个顶层设计,需要从法治上提供可靠保障。
党的十八大提出,法治是治国理政的基本方式,要加快建设社会主义法治国家,全面推进依法治国;到2020年,依法治国基本方略全面落实,法治政府基本建成,司法公信力不断提高,人权得到切实尊重和保障。党的十八届三中全会进一步提出,建设法治中国,必须坚持依法治国、依法执政、依法行政共同推进,坚持法治国家、法治政府、法治社会一体建设。全面贯彻落实这些部署和要求,关系加快建设社会主义法治国家,关系落实全面深化改革顶层设计,关系中国特色社会主义事业长远发展。
法律是治国之重器,法治是国家治理体系和治理能力的重要依托。全面推进依法治国,是解决党和国家事业发展面临的一系列重大问题,解放和增强社会活力、促进社会公平正义、维护社会和谐稳定、确保党和国家长治久安的根本要求。要推动我国经济社会持续健康发展,不断开拓中国特色社会主义事业更加广阔的发展前景,就必须全面推进社会主义法治国家建设,从法治上为解决这些问题提供制度化方案。
改革开放以来,我们党一贯高度重视法治。1978年12月,邓小平同志就指出:“应该集中力量制定刑法、民法、诉讼法和其他各种必要的法律,例如工厂法、人民公社法、森林法、草原法、环境保护法、劳动法、外国人投资法等等,经过一定的民主程序讨论通过,并且加强检察机关和司法机关,做到有法可依,有法必依,执法必严,违法必究。”党的十五大提出依法治国、建设社会主义法治国家,强调依法治国是党领导人民治理国家的基本方略,是发展社会主义市场经济的客观需要,是社会文明进步的重要标志,是国家长治久安的重要保障。党的十六大提出,发展社会主义民主政治,最根本的是要把坚持党的领导、人民当家作主和依法治国有机统一起来。党的十七大提出,依法治国是社会主义民主政治的基本要求,强调要全面落实依法治国基本方略,加快建设社会主义法治国家。党的十八大强调,要更加注重发挥法治在国家治理和社会管理中的重要作用。
党的十八大以来,党中央高度重视依法治国,强调落实依法治国基本方略,加快建设社会主义法治国家,必须全面推进科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法进程,强调坚持党的领导,更加注重改进党的领导方式和执政方式;依法治国,首先是依宪治国;依法执政,关键是依宪执政;新形势下,我们党要履行好执政兴国的重大职责,必须依据党章从严治党、依据宪法治国理政;党领导人民制定宪法和法律,党领导人民执行宪法和法律,党自身必须在宪法和法律范围内活动,真正做到党领导立法、保证执法、带头守法。
现在,全面建成小康社会进入决定性阶段,改革进入攻坚期和深水区。我们党面对的改革发展稳定任务之重前所未有、矛盾风险挑战之多前所未有,依法治国在党和国家工作全局中的地位更加突出、作用更加重大。全面推进依法治国是关系我们党执政兴国、关系人民幸福安康、关系党和国家长治久安的重大战略问题,是完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度、推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的重要方面。我们要实现党的十八大和十八届三中全会作出的一系列战略部署,全面建成小康社会、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,全面深化改革、完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度,就必须在全面推进依法治国上作出总体部署、采取切实措施、迈出坚实步伐。
基于这样的考虑,今年1月,中央政治局决定,党的十八届四中全会重点研究全面推进依法治国问题并作出决定。为此,成立由我任组长,张德江同志、王岐山同志任副组长,相关部门负责同志、两位省里的领导同志参加的文件起草组,在中央政治局常委会领导下进行文件起草工作。
1月27日,党中央发出《关于对党的十八届四中全会研究全面推进依法治国问题征求意见的通知》。2月12日,文件起草组召开第一次全体会议,文件起草工作正式启动。2月18日至25日,文件起草组组成8个调研组分赴14个省区市进行调研。
从各方面反馈的意见和实地调研情况看,大家一致认为,党的十八届四中全会研究全面推进依法治国问题并作出决定,意义重大而深远,符合党和国家事业发展需要和全党全国各族人民期盼。大家普遍希望通过这个决定明确全面推进依法治国的指导思想和总体要求,深刻阐明党的领导和依法治国的关系等法治建设的重大理论和实践问题,针对法治工作中群众反映强烈的突出问题提出强有力的措施,对社会主义法治国家建设作出顶层设计。
文件起草组在成立以来的8个多月时间里,深入调查研究,广泛征求意见,开展专题论证,反复讨论修改。其间,中央政治局常委会召开3次会议、中央政治局召开2次会议分别审议全会决定。8月初,决定征求意见稿下发党内一定范围征求意见,包括征求党内老同志意见,还专门听取了各民主党派中央、全国工商联负责人和无党派人士意见。
从反馈的情况看,各方面一致认为,全会决定直面我国法治建设领域的突出问题,立足我国社会主义法治建设实际,明确提出了全面推进依法治国的指导思想、总目标、基本原则,提出了关于依法治国的一系列新观点、新举措,回答了党的领导和依法治国的关系等一系列重大理论和实践问题,对科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法、法治队伍建设、加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导作出了全面部署,有针对性地回应了人民群众呼声和社会关切。各方面一致认为,全会决定鲜明提出坚持走中国特色社会主义法治道路、建设中国特色社会主义法治体系的重大论断,明确建设社会主义法治国家的性质、方向、道路、抓手,必将有力推进社会主义法治国家建设。
在征求意见的过程中,各方面提出了许多好的意见和建议。中央责成文件起草组认真梳理和研究这些意见和建议。文件起草组对全会决定作出重要修改。
二、关于全会决定的总体框架和主要内容
中央政治局认为,全面推进依法治国涉及改革发展稳定、治党治国治军、内政外交国防等各个领域,必须立足全局和长远来统筹谋划。全会决定应该旗帜鲜明就法治建设的重大理论和实践问题作出回答,既充分肯定我国社会主义法治建设的成就和经验,又针对现实问题提出富有改革创新精神的新观点新举措;既抓住法治建设的关键,又体现党和国家事业发展全局要求;既高屋建瓴、搞好顶层设计,又脚踏实地、做到切实管用;既讲近功,又求长效。
全会决定起草突出了5个方面的考虑。一是贯彻党的十八大和十八届三中全会精神,贯彻党的十八大以来党中央工作部署,体现全面建成小康社会、全面深化改革、全面推进依法治国这“三个全面”的逻辑联系。二是围绕中国特色社会主义事业总体布局,体现推进各领域改革发展对提高法治水平的要求,而不是就法治论法治。三是反映目前法治工作基本格局,从立法、执法、司法、守法4个方面作出工作部署。四是坚持改革方向、问题导向,适应推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化要求,直面法治建设领域突出问题,回应人民群众期待,力争提出对依法治国具有重要意义的改革举措。五是立足我国国情,从实际出发,坚持走中国特色社会主义法治道路,既与时俱进、体现时代精神,又不照抄照搬别国模式。
全会决定共分三大板块。导语和第一部分构成第一板块,属于总论。第一部分旗帜鲜明提出坚持走中国特色社会主义法治道路、建设中国特色社会主义法治体系、建设社会主义法治国家,阐述全面推进依法治国的重大意义、指导思想、总目标、基本原则,阐述中国特色社会主义法治体系的科学内涵,阐述党的领导和依法治国的关系等重大问题。
第二部分至第五部分构成第二板块,从目前法治工作基本格局出发,对科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法进行论述和部署。第二部分讲完善以宪法为核心的中国特色社会主义法律体系、加强宪法实施,从健全宪法实施和监督制度、完善立法体制、深入推进科学立法民主立法、加强重点领域立法4个方面展开,对宪法实施和监督提出基本要求和具体措施,通过部署重点领域立法体现依法治国同中国特色社会主义事业总体布局的关系。第三部分讲深入推进依法行政、加快建设法治政府,从依法全面履行政府职能、健全依法决策机制、深化行政执法体制改革、坚持严格规范公正文明执法、强化对行政权力的制约和监督、全面推进政务公开6个方面展开。第四部分讲保证公正司法、提高司法公信力,从完善确保依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权的制度、优化司法职权配置、推进严格司法、保障人民群众参与司法、加强人权司法保障、加强对司法活动的监督6个方面展开。第五部分讲增强全民法治观念、推进法治社会建设,从推动全社会树立法治意识、推进多层次多领域依法治理、建设完备的法律服务体系、健全依法维权和化解纠纷机制4个方面展开。
第六部分、第七部分和结束语构成第三板块。第六部分讲加强法治工作队伍建设,从建设高素质法治专门队伍、加强法律服务队伍建设、创新法治人才培养机制3个方面展开。第七部分讲加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导,从坚持依法执政、加强党内法规制度建设、提高党员干部法治思维和依法办事能力、推进基层治理法治化、深入推进依法治军从严治军、依法保障“一国两制”实践和推进祖国统一、加强涉外法律工作7个方面展开。最后,号召全党全国为建设法治中国而奋斗。
三、关于需要说明的几个问题
第一,党的领导和依法治国的关系。党和法治的关系是法治建设的核心问题。全面推进依法治国这件大事能不能办好,最关键的是方向是不是正确、政治保证是不是坚强有力,具体讲就是要坚持党的领导,坚持中国特色社会主义制度,贯彻中国特色社会主义法治理论。党的领导是中国特色社会主义最本质的特征,是社会主义法治最根本的保证。中国特色社会主义制度是中国特色社会主义法治体系的根本制度基础,是全面推进依法治国的根本制度保障。中国特色社会主义法治理论是中国特色社会主义法治体系的理论指导和学理支撑,是全面推进依法治国的行动指南。这3个方面实质上是中国特色社会主义法治道路的核心要义,规定和确保了中国特色社会主义法治体系的制度属性和前进方向。
全会决定明确提出,坚持党的领导,是社会主义法治的根本要求,是党和国家的根本所在、命脉所在,是全国各族人民的利益所系、幸福所系,是全面推进依法治国的题中应有之义;党的领导和社会主义法治是一致的,社会主义法治必须坚持党的领导,党的领导必须依靠社会主义法治。全会决定围绕加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导提出“三统一”、“四善于”,并作出了系统部署。
把坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一起来是我国社会主义法治建设的一条基本经验。我国宪法以根本法的形式反映了党带领人民进行革命、建设、改革取得的成果,确立了在历史和人民选择中形成的中国共产党的领导地位。对这一点,要理直气壮讲、大张旗鼓讲。要向干部群众讲清楚我国社会主义法治的本质特征,做到正本清源、以正视听。
第二,全面推进依法治国的总目标。全会决定提出,全面推进依法治国,总目标是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家,并对这个总目标作出了阐释:在中国共产党领导下,坚持中国特色社会主义制度,贯彻中国特色社会主义法治理论,形成完备的法律规范体系、高效的法治实施体系、严密的法治监督体系、有力的法治保障体系,形成完善的党内法规体系,坚持依法治国、依法执政、依法行政共同推进,坚持法治国家、法治政府、法治社会一体建设,实现科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法,促进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化。
提出这个总目标,既明确了全面推进依法治国的性质和方向,又突出了全面推进依法治国的工作重点和总抓手。一是向国内外鲜明宣示我们将坚定不移走中国特色社会主义法治道路。中国特色社会主义法治道路,是社会主义法治建设成就和经验的集中体现,是建设社会主义法治国家的唯一正确道路。在走什么样的法治道路问题上,必须向全社会释放正确而明确的信号,指明全面推进依法治国的正确方向,统一全党全国各族人民认识和行动。二是明确全面推进依法治国的总抓手。全面推进依法治国涉及很多方面,在实际工作中必须有一个总揽全局、牵引各方的总抓手,这个总抓手就是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系。依法治国各项工作都要围绕这个总抓手来谋划、来推进。三是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系、建设社会主义法治国家是实现国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的必然要求,也是全面深化改革的必然要求,有利于在法治轨道上推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,有利于在全面深化改革总体框架内全面推进依法治国各项工作,有利于在法治轨道上不断深化改革。
第三,健全宪法实施和监督制度。宪法是国家的根本法。法治权威能不能树立起来,首先要看宪法有没有权威。必须把宣传和树立宪法权威作为全面推进依法治国的重大事项抓紧抓好,切实在宪法实施和监督上下功夫。
党的十八届三中全会提出,要进一步健全宪法实施监督机制和程序,把实施宪法要求提高到一个新水平。这次全会决定进一步提出,完善全国人大及其常委会宪法监督制度,健全宪法解释程序机制;加强备案审查制度和能力建设,依法撤销和纠正违宪违法的规范性文件;将每年12月4日定为国家宪法日;在全社会普遍开展宪法教育,弘扬宪法精神。
全会决定提出建立宪法宣誓制度。这是世界上大多数有成文宪法的国家所采取的一种制度。在142个有成文宪法的国家中,规定相关国家公职人员必须宣誓拥护或效忠宪法的有97个。关于宪法宣誓的主体、内容、程序,各国做法不尽相同,一般都在有关人员开始履行职务之前或就职时举行宣誓。全会决定规定,凡经人大及其常委会选举或者决定任命的国家工作人员正式就职时公开向宪法宣誓。这样做,有利于彰显宪法权威,增强公职人员宪法观念,激励公职人员忠于和维护宪法,也有利于在全社会增强宪法意识、树立宪法权威。
第四,完善立法体制。新中国成立以来特别是改革开放以来,经过长期努力,我国形成了中国特色社会主义法律体系,国家生活和社会生活各方面总体上实现了有法可依,这是一个了不起的重大成就。同时,我们也要看到,实践发展永无止境,立法工作也永无止境,完善中国特色社会主义法律体系任务依然很重。
我们在立法领域面临着一些突出问题,比如,立法质量需要进一步提高,有的法律法规全面反映客观规律和人民意愿不够,解决实际问题有效性不足,针对性、可操作性不强;立法效率需要进一步提高。还有就是立法工作中部门化倾向、争权诿责现象较为突出,有的立法实际上成了一种利益博弈,不是久拖不决,就是制定的法律法规不大管用,一些地方利用法规实行地方保护主义,对全国形成统一开放、竞争有序的市场秩序造成障碍,损害国家法治统一。
推进科学立法、民主立法,是提高立法质量的根本途径。科学立法的核心在于尊重和体现客观规律,民主立法的核心在于为了人民、依靠人民。要完善科学立法、民主立法机制,创新公众参与立法方式,广泛听取各方面意见和建议。全会决定提出,明确立法权力边界,从体制机制和工作程序上有效防止部门利益和地方保护主义法律化。一是健全有立法权的人大主导立法工作的体制机制,发挥人大及其常委会在立法工作中的主导作用;建立由全国人大相关专门委员会、全国人大常委会法制工作委员会组织有关部门参与起草综合性、全局性、基础性等重要法律草案制度;增加有法治实践经验的专职常委比例;依法建立健全专门委员会、工作委员会立法专家顾问制度。二是加强和改进政府立法制度建设,完善行政法规、规章制定程序,完善公众参与政府立法机制;重要行政管理法律法规由政府法制机构组织起草;对部门间争议较大的重要立法事项,由决策机关引入第三方评估,不能久拖不决。三是明确地方立法权限和范围,禁止地方制发带有立法性质的文件。
需要明确的是,在我们国家,法律是对全体公民的要求,党内法规制度是对全体党员的要求,而且很多地方比法律的要求更严格。我们党是先锋队,对党员的要求应该更严。全面推进依法治国,必须努力形成国家法律法规和党内法规制度相辅相成、相互促进、相互保障的格局。
第五,加快建设法治政府。法律的生命力在于实施,法律的权威也在于实施。“天下之事,不难于立法,而难于法之必行。”如果有了法律而不实施、束之高阁,或者实施不力、做表面文章,那制定再多法律也无济于事。全面推进依法治国的重点应该是保证法律严格实施,做到“法立,有犯而必施;令出,唯行而不返”。
政府是执法主体,对执法领域存在的有法不依、执法不严、违法不究甚至以权压法、权钱交易、徇私枉法等突出问题,老百姓深恶痛绝,必须下大气力解决。全会决定提出,各级政府必须坚持在党的领导下、在法治轨道上开展工作,加快建设职能科学、权责法定、执法严明、公开公正、廉洁高效、守法诚信的法治政府。全会决定提出了一些重要措施。一是推进机构、职能、权限、程序、责任法定化,规定行政机关不得法外设定权力,没有法律法规依据不得作出减损公民、法人和其他组织合法权益或者增加其义务的决定;推行政府权力清单制度,坚决消除权力设租寻租空间。二是建立行政机关内部重大决策合法性审查机制,积极推行政府法律顾问制度,保证法律顾问在制定重大行政决策、推进依法行政中发挥积极作用;建立重大决策终身责任追究制度及责任倒查机制。三是推进综合执法,理顺城管执法体制,完善执法程序,建立执法全过程记录制度,严格执行重大执法决定法制审核制度,全面落实行政执法责任制。四是加强对政府内部权力的制约,对财政资金分配使用、国有资产监管、政府投资、政府采购、公共资源转让、公共工程建设等权力集中的部门和岗位实行分事行权、分岗设权、分级授权,定期轮岗,强化内部流程控制,防止权力滥用;完善政府内部层级监督和专门监督;保障依法独立行使审计监督权。五是全面推进政务公开,推进决策公开、执行公开、管理公开、服务公开、结果公开,重点推进财政预算、公共资源配置、重大建设项目批准和实施、社会公益事业建设等领域的政府信息公开。这些措施都有很强的针对性,也同党的十八届三中全会精神一脉相承,对法治政府建设十分紧要。
第六,提高司法公信力。司法是维护社会公平正义的最后一道防线。我曾经引用过英国哲学家培根的一段话,他说:“一次不公正的审判,其恶果甚至超过十次犯罪。因为犯罪虽是无视法律——好比污染了水流,而不公正的审判则毁坏法律——好比污染了水源。”这其中的道理是深刻的。如果司法这道防线缺乏公信力,社会公正就会受到普遍质疑,社会和谐稳定就难以保障。因此,全会决定指出,公正是法治的生命线;司法公正对社会公正具有重要引领作用,司法不公对社会公正具有致命破坏作用。
当前,司法领域存在的主要问题是,司法不公、司法公信力不高问题十分突出,一些司法人员作风不正、办案不廉,办金钱案、关系案、人情案,“吃了原告吃被告”,等等。司法不公的深层次原因在于司法体制不完善、司法职权配置和权力运行机制不科学、人权司法保障制度不健全。
党的十八届三中全会针对司法领域存在的突出问题提出了一系列改革举措,司法体制和运行机制改革正在有序推进。这次全会决定在党的十八届三中全会决定的基础上对保障司法公正作出了更深入的部署。比如,为确保依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权,全会决定规定,建立领导干部干预司法活动、插手具体案件处理的记录、通报和责任追究制度;健全行政机关依法出庭应诉、支持法院受理行政案件、尊重并执行法院生效裁判的制度;建立健全司法人员履行法定职责保护机制,等等。为优化司法职权配置,全会决定提出,推动实行审判权和执行权相分离的体制改革试点;统一刑罚执行体制;探索实行法院、检察院司法行政事务管理权和审判权、检察权相分离;变立案审查制为立案登记制,等等。为保障人民群众参与司法,全会决定提出,完善人民陪审员制度,扩大参审范围;推进审判公开、检务公开、警务公开、狱务公开;建立生效法律文书统一上网和公开查询制度,等等。全会决定还就加强人权司法保障和加强对司法活动的监督提出了重要改革措施。
第七,最高人民法院设立巡回法庭。近年来,随着社会矛盾增多,全国法院受理案件数量不断增加,尤其是大量案件涌入最高人民法院,导致审判接访压力增大,息诉罢访难度增加,不利于最高人民法院发挥监督指导全国法院工作职能,不利于维护社会稳定,不利于方便当事人诉讼。
全会决定提出,最高人民法院设立巡回法庭,审理跨行政区域重大行政和民商事案件。这样做,有利于审判机关重心下移、就地解决纠纷、方便当事人诉讼,有利于最高人民法院本部集中精力制定司法政策和司法解释、审理对统一法律适用有重大指导意义的案件。
第八,探索设立跨行政区划的人民法院和人民检察院。随着社会主义市场经济深入发展和行政诉讼出现,跨行政区划乃至跨境案件越来越多,涉案金额越来越大,导致法院所在地有关部门和领导越来越关注案件处理,甚至利用职权和关系插手案件处理,造成相关诉讼出现“主客场”现象,不利于平等保护外地当事人合法权益、保障法院独立审判、监督政府依法行政、维护法律公正实施。
全会决定提出,探索设立跨行政区划的人民法院和人民检察院。这有利于排除对审判工作和检察工作的干扰、保障法院和检察院依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权,有利于构建普通案件在行政区划法院审理、特殊案件在跨行政区划法院审理的诉讼格局。
第九,探索建立检察机关提起公益诉讼制度。现在,检察机关对行政违法行为的监督,主要是依法查办行政机关工作人员涉嫌贪污贿赂、渎职侵权等职务犯罪案件,范围相对比较窄。而实际情况是,行政违法行为构成刑事犯罪的毕竟是少数,更多的是乱作为、不作为。如果对这类违法行为置之不理、任其发展,一方面不可能根本扭转一些地方和部门的行政乱象,另一方面可能使一些苗头性问题演变为刑事犯罪。全会决定提出,检察机关在履行职责中发现行政机关违法行使职权或者不行使职权的行为,应该督促其纠正。作出这项规定,目的就是要使检察机关对在执法办案中发现的行政机关及其工作人员的违法行为及时提出建议并督促其纠正。这项改革可以从建立督促起诉制度、完善检察建议工作机制等入手。
在现实生活中,对一些行政机关违法行使职权或者不作为造成对国家和社会公共利益侵害或者有侵害危险的案件,如国有资产保护、国有土地使用权转让、生态环境和资源保护等,由于与公民、法人和其他社会组织没有直接利害关系,使其没有也无法提起公益诉讼,导致违法行政行为缺乏有效司法监督,不利于促进依法行政、严格执法,加强对公共利益的保护。由检察机关提起公益诉讼,有利于优化司法职权配置、完善行政诉讼制度,也有利于推进法治政府建设。
第十,推进以审判为中心的诉讼制度改革。充分发挥审判特别是庭审的作用,是确保案件处理质量和司法公正的重要环节。我国刑事诉讼法规定公检法三机关在刑事诉讼活动中各司其职、互相配合、互相制约,这是符合中国国情、具有中国特色的诉讼制度,必须坚持。同时,在司法实践中,存在办案人员对法庭审判重视不够,常常出现一些关键证据没有收集或者没有依法收集,进入庭审的案件没有达到“案件事实清楚、证据确实充分”的法定要求,使审判无法顺利进行。
全会决定提出推进以审判为中心的诉讼制度改革,目的是促使办案人员树立办案必须经得起法律检验的理念,确保侦查、审查起诉的案件事实证据经得起法律检验,保证庭审在查明事实、认定证据、保护诉权、公正裁判中发挥决定性作用。这项改革有利于促使办案人员增强责任意识,通过法庭审判的程序公正实现案件裁判的实体公正,有效防范冤假错案产生。
全面推进依法治国是一个系统工程,是国家治理领域一场广泛而深刻的革命。制定好这次全会决定具有十分重要的意义。大家要深刻领会中央精神,从党和国家事业发展全局出发,全面理解和正确对待全会决定提出的重大改革举措,深刻领会有关改革的重大现实意义和深远历史意义,自觉支持改革、拥护改革。在讨论中,希望大家相互启发、相互切磋,既提出建设性的修改意见和建议,进一步完善全会决定提出的思路和方案,又加深理解,以利于会后传达贯彻。让我们共同努力,把这次全会开好。

CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Governing the Country According to the law Forward

Translation complete, with the cooperation of Jeremy Daum

Passed on 23 October at the 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

In order to implement the strategic deployment made at the 18th Party Congress and accelerate the construction of a Socialist rule of law country, the 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee has considered some major questions in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and made the following Decision.

I, Persist in marching the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, build a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics.

Ruling the country according to the law is an essential requirement and important guarantee for persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and it is an inevitable requirement to realize the modernization of the national governing system and governing ability, it affects our Party’s governing and rejuvenating the country, it affects the people’s welfare, peace and health, and it affects the long-term peace and order of the Party and the country.

To comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, comprehensively deepen reform, perfect and develop the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics and raise the Party’s governing ability and governance levels, we must comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward.

Our country is in the primary stage of Socialism, the comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society has entered a decisive stage, reform has entered a phase of assault and a region of deep water, international circumstances are complex and mercurial, our Party is facing reform, development and stability tasks that are unprecedentedly heavy, and contradictions, risks and challenges in unprecedented numbers, the position of ruling the country according to the law has become more prominent in the overall picture of the work of the Party and the country, and its rule more important. In the face of new circumstances and new tasks, our Party must even better deal with both the domestic and international big pictures, even better safeguard and utilize this important period of strategic opportunity for our country’s development, even better comprehensively plan social forces, balance social interests, adjust social relationships and standardize social acts, to ensure that our country’s society is full of vitality as well as well-ordered during profound change, to realize economic development, political peace, cultural glory, social justice and ecological welfare, and to realize the strategic objective of our country’s peaceful development, we must give even better rein to the guiding and driving role of the rule of law.

Our Party gives high regard to the construction of rule of law. For a long period, and especially since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, our Party has profoundly summarized the successful experiences and profound lessons of our country’s Socialist rule of law construction, and has put forward that the rule of law must be strengthened, and it must be ensured that democracy is institutionalized and legalized to guarantee the people’s democracy, it made ruling the country according to the law into a basic strategy of the Party’s leading the people and governing the country, it made governing according to the law into a basic method for the Party to govern the country, it vigorously built Socialist rule of law and made historical achievements. At present, the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics has been formed, and the construction of a rule of law government is being moved forward steadily, the judicial system is incessantly being perfected, and the rule of law consciousness of the entire society is clearly strengthening.

At the same time, we must soberly be aware that, in comparison with the development needs of the undertakings of the Party and the State, in comparison with the expectations of the popular masses, and in comparison with moving ruling the country according to the law forward and modernizing our governing ability, rule of law construction still displays many problems where it is not adapted or unsuited, which is mainly manifested as: some laws and regulations have not been able to completely reflect objective laws and the will of the people, they are not strong in terms of focus or feasibility, there are tendencies of departmentalization in legislative work, turf battles and shifting of responsibility are relatively prominent; the phenomena that laws exist but are not followed, law enforcement is not strict and law-breakers aren’t punished are relatively grave, separation of powers and responsibilities in the law enforcement; multi-headed law enforcement and selective law enforcement still exist, law enforcement and the judiciary are quite prominently not standardized, not strict, not transparent and uncivilized, the masses’ strongly react against the problems of judicial unfairness and corruption; the consciousness of a number of members of society to abide by the law, trust in the law, respect the law, use the law, and safeguard their rights according to the law is not strong, some State personnel and especially leading cadres’ consciousness about handling affairs according to the law is not strong, and their abilities are insufficient, and it still occurs that laws are knowingly violated, one’s word replaces the law, the law is suppresses through power, and the law is bent for relatives and friends. These problems violate the principles of Socialist rule of law, harm the interests of the popular masses, impede the development of the undertakings of the Party and the country, and we must spend great efforts to resolve them.

To completely move ruling the country according to the law forward, we must implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought, and the scientific development view as guidance, deeply study the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, persist in the organic unity of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs, and ruling the country according to the law, unwaveringly march the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, firmly uphold the authority of the Constitution and the laws, protect the people’s rights and interests according to the law, protect social fairness and justice, protect national security and stability, and provide powerful rule of law guarantees to realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The general objectives to comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward are constructing a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics and constructing a Socialist rule of law country. That is to say, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, persisting in the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, implementing the theory of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, shaping a perfect system of legal norms, a highly effective system to implement the rule of law, a strict system for rule of law supervision, and a powerful system of rule of law guarantees, shaping a perfect system of intra-Party regulations, persisting in moving ruling the country according to the law, governing according to the law and administration according to the law forward together, persist in the united construction of a rule of law country, a rule of law government and a rule of law society, realizing scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, judicial fairness and respect for the law among the entire population, and move forward the modernization of the national governing system and our governing ability.

To realize these general objectives, we must persist in the following principles.

- Persisting in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The leadership of the Party is the most essential trait of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is the most fundamental guarantee for Socialist rule of law. Letting Party leadership penetrate into the entire process and all aspects of ruling the country to the law is a basic experience of the construction of our country’s Socialist rule of law. Our country’s Constitution has established the leading position of the Chinese Communist Party. Persisting in Party leadership is a basic need for Socialist rule of law, it is where the foundations and the life-line of the Party and the State lie, the interests and happiness of the people of all ethnicities in the entire country are tied to it, and it is a proper element of moving ruling the country according to the law forward. Party leadership and Socialist rule of law are identical, Socialist rule of law must persist in Party leadership, Party leadership must rely on Socialist rule of law. Only by ruling the country according to the law and rigorously enforcing the law under the leadership of the Party, will it be possible to fully realize that the people are masters of their own affairs, and will it be possible to move the legalization of the life of the country and the society forward in an orderly manner. Governance according to the law requires that the Party governs the country on the basis of the Constitution and the laws, and requires that the Party manages the Party and governs the Party according to intra-Party regulations. We must persist in the Party leading legislation, guaranteeing law enforcement, supporting the judiciary and taking the lead in respecting the law, unite the basic strategy of ruling the country according to the law with the basic method of governing according to the law, unite the Party’s general responsibility for the overall picture and coordinating all sides with People’s Congresses, governments, consultative conferences, trial bodies and prosecutorial bodies carrying out their duties and conducting their work according to the law and according to their charters, unite the Constitution formulated and implemented by the people under the leadership of the Party with the Party persisting in acting within the scope of the Constitution and the law, be good at making the Party’s standpoints become the national will through statutory procedures, be good at ensuring that the candidates recommended by Party organizations become leaders in State political bodies through statutory procedures, be good at implementing Party leadership over the country and society through State political bodies, and be good at utilizing democratic centralist principles to safeguard the authority of the Centre, and safeguard the unity of the entire Party and the entire country.

- Persisting in the dominant position of the people. The people are the subjects of and source of strength for ruling the country according to the law, the People’s Congress system is the fundamental political system that guarantees that the people are the masters of their own affairs. We must persist in the fact that rule of law construction is for the people, relies on the people, benefits the people and protects the people, make guaranteeing the people’s basic rights and interests into a starting point and stopover point, guarantee that the people enjoy broad rights and freedoms according to the law, bear the duties they should, safeguard social fairness and justice, and stimulate common prosperity. We must guarantee that the people, under the leadership of the Party, and according to the provisions of the law, manage the affairs of State through various channels and forms, manage economic and cultural undertakings, and manage social affairs. We must make the people understand that the law is a powerful tool to guarantee their own rights, and is a behavioural standard that must be respected, strengthen the consciousness in the entire society about learning the law, respecting the law, abiding by the law and using the law, and ensure that the people master, respect and use the law.

- Persisting in the fact that all are equal in the face of the law. Equality is a basic characteristic of Socialist law. Any organization or individual must respect the authority of the Constitution and the laws, and must act within the scope of the Constitution and the laws, they must all exercise their powers and rights, and carry out their duties and responsibilities according to the law, none may have privileges outside of the Constitution and the laws. We must safeguard the unity, dignity and authority of the State legal system, and realistically guarantee the effective implementation of the Constitution and the laws, we may absolutely not permit any person to let their word replace the law, use their power to suppress the law, or bend the law for friends or relatives under any excuse and in any way. We must make standardizing and restraining public power into a focus point, expand supervision strength, ensure that there must be responsibility where there is power, there must be supervision over the use of power, and that law-breaking must be punished, firmly correcting acts where laws are not followed, law enforcement is not strict, and law-breakers are not punished.

- Persisting in integrating ruling the country according to the law and ruling the country according to virtue. State and social governance require that both law and virtue play a role together. We must persist in grasping the rule of law on one hand, and the rule of virtue with the other hand, forcefully carry forward the Socialist core value system, carry forward China’s traditional virtue, foster social morals, professional ethics and household virtues, Pay attention to the normative role of law as well as the educational role of virtue, reflect moral concepts in the rule of law, strengthen the stimulating impact of law on morality construction, nourish the spirit of rule of law with virtue, strengthen the supporting role of virtue in legal culture , realize that law and virtue complement each other, and that the rule of law and the rule of virtue each make each other appear more brilliant.

- Persisting in starting from China’s reality. The path, theoretical system and structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics are fundamental lodestars for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. We must start from our country’s basic circumstances, adapt to the incessant deepening of reform and opening up, summarize and use the successful experience of the Party leading the people in carrying out rule of law, focus on major theoretical and practical questions in the construction of Socialist rule of law, move rule of law theory innovation forward, develop Socialist rule of law theory that is adapted to China’s realities, has Chinese characteristics, and reflects social development laws, to provide theoretical guidance and academic support for ruling the country according to the law. Draw from the quintessence of Chinese legal culture, learn from beneficial experiences in rule of law abroad, but we can absolutely not indiscriminately copy foreign rule of law concepts and models.

Comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward is a systemic project, it is a broad and profound revolution in the area of State governance, and requires long-term, arduous efforts. Comrades in the entire Party must even more consciously persist in ruling the country according to the law, and move ruling the country according to the law forward even more firmly, they must strive to realize the legalization of all work affairs of the State, and progress incessantly towards the construction of a rule of law China.

II, Perfect a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, with the Constitution at the centre, strengthen the implementation of the Constitution.

Laws are important tools to rule the country, benevolent laws are the precondition for good governance. To construct a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, we must persist in giving precedence to legislation, giving rein to the guiding and driving role of legislation, and grasp the crucial matter of raising legislative quality. We must scrupulously abide by the ideas of putting people first and legislating for the sake of the people, implement the Socialist core value system, ensure that every piece of legislation conforms to the spirit of the law, reflects the popular will and is endorsed by the people. We must let the principles of fairness, justice and transparency penetrate into the entire process of legislation, perfect legislative systems and mechanisms, persist in simultaneously carrying out legislation, revision, abolition and interpretation, strengthen the timeliness, systemic nature, focus and effectiveness of laws and regulations.

(1) Completing constitutional implementation and supervision systems. The Constitution is the concentrated reflection of the will of the Party and the people, and is the fundamental law formed through a process of scientific democracy. To persist in ruling the country according to the law, we must first and foremost persist in ruling the country according to the Constitution, to persist in governing according to the law, we must first and foremost persist in governing according to the Constitution. The people of all ethnicities in the entire country, all State bodies and armed forces, all political parties and all social organizations, all enterprises, undertakings and groups must consider the Constitution as the basic behavioural norm, and bear the duty of upholding the dignity of the Constitution and guaranteeing the implementation of the Constitution. All acts violating the Constitution must be punished and corrected.

Perfect the constitutional supervision system of the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, complete procedures and mechanisms for constitutional interpretation. Strengthen filing and review systems and capacity building, bring all normative documents into the scope of filing and review, cancel and correct normative documents that violate the Constitution or the law according to the law, it is prohibited that localities formulate and issue documents of a legislative nature.

4 December of every year is designated as National Constitution Day. Universally launch education about the Constitution in the entire society and carry forward the spirit of the Constitution. Establish a constitutional oath system, all State personnel elected or appointed by the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee are to openly swear a constitutional oath when taking office.

(2) Perfect legislative structures. Strengthen Party leadership over legislation work, perfect procedures for Party policymaking concerning major issues in legislative work. In all cases where legislation involves adjustment to major structures or major policies, it must be reported to the Party Centre for discussion and decision. The Party Centre puts suggestions for constitutional revision to the National People’s Congress, and constitutional revision is conducted according to the procedure determined in the Constitution. Major questions in the formulation and revision of laws are to be reported to the Party Centre by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Party Group.

Complete structures and mechanisms for People’s Congresses with legislative power to lead legislative work, give rein to the dominant role of People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees in legislative work. Establish a system to draft laws that are comprehensive in nature, affect the overall picture, are fundamental or important in other ways with organized by the relevant special committee of the National People’s Congress and the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Legal Affairs Work Committee, with the participation of relevant departments. Strengthen the proportion of full-time committee members with experience in rule of law practice. Establish and complete legislative expert consultant systems for special committees and work committees.

Strengthen and improve the construction of the governmental legislative system, perfect procedures for the formulation of administrative regulations and rules, perfect legislative mechanisms with mass participation in government legislation. The drafting of important administrative management laws and regulation is to be organized by government legal affairs bodies.

Clarify the boundaries of legislative powers, effectively prevent the legalization of departmental interests and local protectionisms through structures, mechanisms and work procedures. For major legislative matters where interdepartmental disputes are relatively large, the policy-making bodies are to bring in a third party to assess the matter, fully hear opinions from all sides, coordinate and decide on the matter, this cannot be delayed without a decision for a long time. Strengthen legal interpretation work, timely clarify the meaning of legal provisions and the legal basis for applying them. Clarify the limits and scope of local legislation, endow cities divided into districts with local legislative powers according to the law.

(3) Deeply move scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward. Strengthen People’s Congress organization and coordination over legislative work, complete legislative drafting, argumentation, coordination and consideration mechanisms, complete legislative opinion mechanisms for consultation by lower level People’s Congresses, establish a grass roots legislation contact point system, enhance the detail of legislation. Complete systems to solicit opinions from People’s Congresses for the drafting of laws, regulations and rules, increase the number of People’s Congress representatives sitting on People’s Congress Standing Committee meetings as non-voting delegates, and give even more rein to the role of People’s Congress representatives in drafting and revising the law. Perfect systems to collect and elucidate legislative projects. Complete channels and methods for all walks of society to orderly participate in legislation with legislative bodies in the lead. Explore entrusting third parties with drawing up laws and regulations drafts.

Complete mechanisms for legislative bodies to communicate with the social public, broaden legislative consultation, fully give rein to the roles of consultative conference members, democratic parties, industry and commerce associations, non-party persons, people’s organizations and social organizations in consultation, explore the establishment of mechanisms for relevant State bodies, social organizations and expert scholars to elucidate and consult on the restructuring of major interests involved in legislation. Broaden channels for citizens’ orderly participation in legislation, complete mechanisms for the open solicitation of opinions concerning draft laws, regulations and rules and feedback mechanisms concerning the extent to which the public’s ideas are adopted, broadly bring together a social consensus.

Perfect procedures for voting on legal drafts, it is permitted that important provisions are voted on individually.

(4) Strengthen legislation in focus areas. Guarantee citizens’ rights according to the law, accelerate the perfection of legal systems reflecting fair rights, fair opportunities and fair rules, protect citizens’ personal rights, property rights, basic political rights and rights in all other areas against infringement, guarantee that citizens’ economic, cultural, social and all other rights are implemented, realize the legalization of citizens’ rights protections. Strengthen the consciousness on respecting and protecting human rights in all of society, complete channels and methods to obtain relief for citizen’s rights.

The Socialist market economy essentially is a rule of law economy. To ensure that the market plays a decisive role in the allocation of resources and to give rein to the role of government even better, we must make protecting property rights, upholding contracts, unified markets, fair exchange, fair competition and effective supervision into basic orientations, and perfect the legal system for the Socialist market economy. Complete property rights protection systems with fairness at the core, strengthen protection of the property rights of economic organizations of all kinds of ownership systems and of natural persons, clean away provisions in laws and regulations that violate fairness. Innovate property rights protection systems that are adapted to the varied forms in which the public ownership system manifests itself, strengthen protection for State-owned and collective capital ownership rights, business rights and the property rights of all kinds of corporate legal persons. The State protects enterprises’ use of their legal person’s property rights to operate autonomously according to the law, and assume responsibility for profit and loss, enterprises are entitled to refuse demands from any organization and individual that have no legal basis. Strengthen legislation on corporate social responsibility. Perfect a property rights system and an intellectual property rights system that encourage innovation, and structures and mechanisms to stimulate the transformation of scientific and technological achievements. Strengthen the construction of a legal system for the market, compile a civil code, formulate and perfect laws and regulations on development planning, investment management, land management, energy and mineral resources, agriculture, finance and taxation, banking, etc., stimulate the free circulation, fair exchange and equal use of commercial products and factors, strengthen and improve macro-level coordination and market supervision according to the law, oppose monopolies, stimulate reasonable competition, safeguard a market order of fair competition. Strengthen rule of law guarantees for the Army and the people to blend together profoundly.

Institutionalization, standardization and proceduralization are fundamental guarantees for Socialist democratic politics. Put guaranteeing the people’s mastery of their own affairs central, persist in and perfect the People’s Congress system, persist in and perfect the system of multi-party collaboration and political consultation under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the system of regional ethnic autonomy, as well as the system of grass roots mass autonomy, move the legalization of Socialist democratic politics forward. Strengthen the construction of the Socialist consultative democracy system, move forward the broad multi-level and systematic development of consultative democracy, build consultative democracy systems with a rational ordering and integrated segments. Perfect and develop the grass roots democracy system, move forward with grass-roots democracy and sector self-discipline according to the law, implement self-management, self-service, self-education and self-supervision. Perfect the Organic Law for State Bodies, perfect election systems and work mechanisms. Accelerate State legislation against corruption, perfect systems to punish and prevent corruption, create effective mechanisms so no-one dares to be corrupt, can be corrupt and wants to be corrupt, persist in containing and preventing the phenomenon of corruption. Perfect criminal law systems to punish venality and bribes, broaden the scope of criminal bribery from assets to assets and other property-type interests.

Establish and complete a cultural legal system that persists in the progressive orientation of advanced Socialist culture, that respects the laws of cultural development, benefits the stimulation of cultural creative vitality and guarantees citizens’ basic cultural rights and interests. Formulate a public cultural service guarantee law, stimulate the standardization and equalization of public cultural services. Formulate a cultural industry stimulation law, give statutory status to cultural economic policies that have proven effective in practice, complete systems and norms to stimulate the organic integration of social effect and economic effect. Formulate a national medals and national honorary titles law, to commend outstanding personalities having made prominent contributions. Strengthen legislation in the are of the Internet, perfect laws and regulations for online information services, cybersecurity protection, online social management and other such areas, and standardize online behaviour according to the law.

Accelerate the construction of innovative legal systems to guarantee and improve people’s livelihoods and move social governance forward. Strengthen and standardize public services according to the law, perfect laws and regulations in the areas of education, employment, income distribution, social security, healthcare and hygiene, food security, poverty, charity, social support and for the protection of the lawful rights and interests of women, children, the elderly, the disabled, etc. Strengthen legislation on social organizations, standardize and guide the healthy development of all kinds of social organizations. Formulate a community correction law.

Implement the general national security view, accelerate the construction of rule of law concerning national security, closely grasp the publication of a batch of urgently necessary laws against terrorism, etc., move the legalization of public security forward, build legal systems and structures for national security.

Use strict legal structures to protect the ecological environment, accelerate the establishment of ecological civilization law structures to effectively restrain exploitative behaviour and stimulate green development, recycling development and low-carbon development, strengthen the legal liability of producers for environmental protection, substantially raise the costs of violating the law. Build and complete legal structures for property rights over natural assets, perfect legal structures in the area of State land exploitation and protection, formulate and perfect laws and regulations for ecological compensation, the prevention of soil, water and air pollution and the protection of the maritime ecological environment, to stimulate the construction of an ecological civilization.

Realize linkages between legislation and reform policymaking, ensure that major reforms have a legal basis and that legislation actively adapts to the need of reform, economic and social development. What has proven effective in practice must be timely upgraded into law. Where practical conditions are not yet mature, and advance trials are necessary, these must be authorized according to statutory procedure. Laws and regulations that are not adapted to the needs of reform must be timely revised and abolished.

III, Deeply move administration according to the law forward, accelerate the construction of a rule of law government

The life-force of the law lies in its implementation, the authority of the law also lies in its implementation. All levels’ governments must persist in conducting their work on the rails of the rule of law under the leadership of the Party, innovate law enforcement systems, perfect law enforcement procedures, move comprehensive law enforcement forward, straiten law enforcement responsibilities, establish structures for administration according to the law where duties and responsibilities are unified, which have authority and efficacy, accelerate the construction of a rule of law government with scientific functions, statutory powers and responsibilities, strict law enforcement, which is open and just, clean and effective, abides by the law and is honest.

(1) Comprehensively carry out administrative functions according to the law. Perfect legal structures for administrative organization and administrative procedure, move forward with the creation of statutes for bodies, functions, powers, procedures and responsibilities. Administrative bodies must persist in their obligation to carry out their statutory rules and not do what is not authorized by law, they must have the courage to be responsible, dare to shoulder burdens, firmly correct a lack of action or chaotic actions, firmly overcome laziness and indolence in government, and firmly punish neglect and dereliction of duties. Administrative bodies may not establish powers outside of the law, they may not decide to impinge on the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations without a basis in law and regulation, or to increase their duties. Carry out a governmental power list system, persist in eliminating the space for rent setting and rent seeking through power.

Move normativization and legalization of governmental duties and responsibilities at all levels, perfect legal systems for governmental duties and responsibilities at different levels of government, and especially for central and local governments, strengthen the central government’s macro-level management, formulate and establish duties and necessary law enforcement powers, strengthen the duties of provincial governments to comprehensively plan and move forward the equalization of basic regional public services, strengthen city and county governments’ implementation of duties.

(2) Complete mechanisms for policymaking according to the law. Determine that public participation, expert argumentation, risk assessment, legality review and collective discussion and decision-making are statutory procedures for major administrative policy decisions, guarantee that policymaking structures are scientific, procedures are proper, processes are open and responsibilities are clear. Establish legality review mechanisms within administrative bodies for major policy decisions, where no legality review is conducted or the review concludes [a decision] is unlawful, it may not be submitted for discussion.

Vigorously practice the government legal advisor system, establish legal advisor teams with government legal affairs body personnel in the lead, which attract expert and lawyer participation, to guarantee that legal advisors play a positive role in formulating major administrative policy decisions and moving administration according to the law forward.

Establish life-long responsibility investigation and responsibility tracing mechanisms for major policy decisions, where grave mistakes in policymaking or a long-term delay in the making of policies that should have been made timely result in major damage or deleterious influences, the legal liability of the administrative head, other leading personnel bearing responsibility and corresponding responsible personnel will be strictly investigated.

(3) Deepen reform of the administrative law enforcement system. Rationally allocate law enforcement forces on the basis of the duties and responsibilities of different levels of government, and according to the principles of reducing layers, integrating teams and raising efficiency.

Move comprehensive law enforcement forward, substantially reduce the categories of government law enforcement teams at both city and county levels, focus on carrying out comprehensive law enforcement food security, industrial and commercial quality inspection, public hygiene, production safety, culture and tourism, resources and the environment, agriculture, forestry and irrigation, traffic and transportation, urban and rural construction, fisheries and other such areas, areas meeting conditions may practice cross-departmental comprehensive law enforcement.

Perfect administrative law enforcement at both city and county government levels, strengthen unified leadership and coordination. Rationalize the system of coercive administrative enforcement. Rationalize the city management law enforcement system, strengthen comprehensive urban management law enforcement construction, and raise law enforcement and service levels.

Strictly implement the administrative law enforcement personnel credential display and qualification management system, law enforcement qualification may not be given to those who have not passed the law enforcement qualification exam, and they may not engage in law enforcement activities. Strictly implement separation between issuing and collecting fines, and a two-line management system for receipts and expenses, it is strictly prohibited to couple income through fees, fines and confiscation to departmental interests directly and indirectly.

Complete linkage mechanisms between administrative law enforcement and the criminal judiciary, perfect case transfer standards and procedures, establish structures to share information, report case details and transfer cases between administrative law enforcement bodies, public security bodies, prosecutorial bodies and trial bodies, firmly overcome the phenomena that cases are not transferred, it is difficult to transfer cases, and fines replace sentences, realize seamless linkages between administrative punishment and criminal punishment.

(4) Persist in strict standards for fair and civilized law enforcement. Punish all kinds of unlawful activities according to the law, expand law enforcement forces in focus areas relating to the direct interests of the masses. Perfect law enforcement procedures, establish recording systems for the entire process of law enforcement. Clarify concrete operational workflows, focus on standardizing administrative licensing, administrative punishment, administrative enforcement, administrative collection, administrative fees, administrative inspection and other such administrative law enforcement acts. Strictly implement the legal examination and verification system for major law enforcement decisions.

Establish and complete basic standard systems for administrative discretion, create detailed and quantified administrative discretion standards, standardize the scope, categories and extent for discretion. Strengthen informatization construction and information sharing in administrative law enforcement, raise the efficiency of law enforcement and standardization levels.

Comprehensively implement administrative law enforcement responsibility systems, strictly define law enforcement responsibilities and responsibility investigation mechanisms for different departments, their bodies and their law enforcement personnel, strengthen law enforcement supervision, firmly eliminate interference with law enforcement activities, prevent and overcome the phenomena of local and departmental protectionism, strictly punish corruption in law enforcement.

(5) Strengthen restraints and supervision of administrative powers. Strengthen the construction of structures for intra-Party supervision, People’s Congress supervision, democratic supervision, administrative supervision, judicial supervision, auditing supervision, social supervision and public opinion supervision, strive to shape scientific and effective constraints on the exercise of power and supervision systems, strengthen joint supervision forces and actual effects.

Strengthening constraints over internal government power is a focus point for strengthening constraints over administrative power. For departments and positions with a concentration of powers, such as financial allocation and use, State-owned asset supervision, government investment, government procurement, transfer of public resources, public project construction, etc., affairs are to be separated in the exercise of power, positions are to be separated in the establishment of power, and there must be a hierarchy for the authorization of power, there must be regular rotations, strengthen control over internal workflows, and prevent the abuse of power. Perfect departmental-level internal government supervision and internal supervision, improve supervision of higher-level bodies over lower-level bodies, establish regularized supervision systems. Perfect mechanisms to rectify mistakes and for accountability, complete accountability methods and procedures such as ordering a public apology, suspension from work for investigation, taking the blame and resigning, ordering resignation, dismissal, etc.

Perfect auditing structures, guarantee that auditing supervision powers are exercises independently and according to the law. Ensure there is complete auditing coverage of the situation of public capital, State-owned assets, State-owned resources and leading cadres carrying out their economic responsibilities. Strengthen leadership of higher-level auditing bodies over lower-level auditing bodies. Explore the uniform management of the human, financial and material resources of local auditing bodies below the provincial level. Move the construction of professionalized auditing forward.

(6) Completely move government affairs openness forward. Persist in the principle that openness is the rule and non-openness the exception, move forward open policymaking, open implementation, open management, open services and open results. All levels’ governments and their work departments must, on the basis of their list of powers, openly publish their government functions, legal basis, the subject of implementation, duties and powers, management workflows, supervision methods and other such matters. Focus on moving forward with government information openness in finances and budgetary affairs, public resource allocation, major construction programme approval and implementation, public interest undertaking construction and other such areas.

Normative documents affecting the rights and duties of citizens, legal persons and other organizations are to be published according to the requirements and procedures of government information openness. Carry out the rules for publishing administrative law enforcement. Move the informatization of government affairs openness forward, strengthen the construction of Internet government affairs information database service platforms and service platforms that are convenient for the people.

IV, Guarantee judicial fairness, raise judicial credibility

Fairness is the lifeline of the rule of law. Judicial fairness has an important leading role in social justice, and judicial unfairness has a fatally damaging effect on social justice. We must improve the judicial administration system and the operating mechanism of judicial power, standardize judicial conduct, strengthen supervision of judicial activities, and strive to make the people feel fairness and justice in every judicial case

(1) Perfect systems to ensure judicial authority and procuratorial authority are exercised fairly and independently, according to the law. All levels’ Party and government bodies and leading cadres must support the courts and procuratorates in exercising their functions and authorities independently and fairly according to the law. Establish a system for recording, reporting, and investigating the responsibility of instances wherein leading cadres interfere in judicial activities or get involved in the handling of certain cases. No Party or government body or leading cadre may let a judicial organ commit a breach of their statutory duty or impede judicial fairness; no judicial body may execute a demand to interfere in judicial activities from a Party or government body or leading cadre. Party or administrative disciplinary action will be imposed where there is interference in a judicial case. If it results in an unjust, false, and erroneous case, or other severe outcomes, criminal responsibility will be investigated according to the law.

Complete systems for administrative organs appearing in court to respond to lawsuits, for supporting courts in accepting administrative cases, for respecting and for enforcing effective court judgments. Improve legal provisions to punish obstruction of judicial organs’ performance of their duties according to the law, refusals to enforce effective judgments and decisions, for contempt of court authority and other illegal and criminal conduct.

Establish and complete protection mechanisms for judicial personnel performing their statutory duties. Judges and prosecutors must not be transferred, dismissed, demoted, removed or otherwise sanctioned without statutory grounds and without undergoing statutory procedures.

(2) Optimize the allocation of judicial duties. Complete systems and mechanisms to ensure that public security organs, procuratorates, judicial organs and judicial administrative organs all perform their own rules, and for mutual coordination and mutual checks between the investigation power, prosecution power, adjudication power and enforcement power

Perfect the judicial system, promote the implementation of structural reform trials for the separation of adjudication and enforcement powers. Improve systems for enforcement of punishments, unify criminal enforcement systems. Reform systems for judicial organs’ personnel and finance management, explore the implementation of separating courts’ and procuratorates’ judicial administrative management affairs and adjudication or procuratorate powers

The Supreme people’s court will establish circuit tribunals, to hearing major administrative and civil cases that cross administrative regions. Explore the establishment of People’s Courts and people’s procuratorates that cross administrative districts and handle cross-regional cases. Perfect administrative litigation sytems and mechanisms, reasonably adjust the jurisdiction system for administrative litigation cases, truly resolve prominent issues such as difficulty in filing, hearing and enforcing administrative litigation cases.

Reform systems for court acceptance of cases, change the case filing review system to a case filing registration system, and in cases that should be accepted by the People’s C’ourts, ensure parties’ procedural rights by requiring filing when there is a case, and requiring acceptance where there is a lawsuit. Increase the force of punishments for false and malicious litigation and acts of unreasonably vexatious litigation. In criminal proceedings, improve systems for leniency for admitting guilt and accepting punishment.

Perfect appeals systems, the focus in first-instance cases is to resolve factual determinations and application of law, the focus in the second instance is resolving disputes of fact and law and ensuring that the second instance is the last, in retrials, the focus is on the decision to correct mistakes according to the law and safeguarding the authority of judgments. Perfect implementation of oversight systems for compulsory measures that involve the people’s personal and property rights and interests. Where procuratorate organs discover, in the course of performing their duties, that administrative organs have unlawfully implemented their duties or have not performed their duties should supervise the matter and urge them to correct. Explore the establishment of systems for procuratorates raising public interest lawsuits.

Clarify the duties of all levels within judicial organs and complete internal supervision and inspection mechanisms. Internal personnel of judicial organs may not interfere with other personnel’s handling of cases in violation of regulation, establish recording and accountability systems for internal personnel’s retrieval of cases. Improve case handling responsibility systems for presiding judges, collegial panels, head procurators and lead investigators, to implement a system where those handling the cases bear responsibility.

Strengthen management of clues concerning crimes abusing public office, establish systems for accepting, categorizing, investigating and handling information and feedback, clarify standards and procedural connections for discipline inspection and criminal justice case handling, strictly investigate and handle cases of criminal abuse of public office.

(3) Move straitening the judiciary forward. Persist in basing things on facts and using the law as the criterion. Strengthen legal systems for fact-finding that conform to objective truth, ensure that results of a case conform to substantive justice, and case procedures conform to procedural justice. Strengthen and standardize judicial interpretation and case guidance, and unify standards for applicable law.

Promote structural reform in litigation with trials at the centre, and ensure the facts and evidence of cases under investigation, examination and prosecution can stand the test of law. Fully implement evidentiary judgment rules; collect, fix, preserve, investigate, and use evidence strictly according to the law; perfect systems for witnesses and experts appearing in court, ensure that courtroom hearings play a decisive role in ascertaining the facts, identifying the evidence, protecting the right of action, and adjudicating impartially.

Clarify the work duties, workflows and work standards of all types of judicial personnel, implement a system of lifetime responsibility for case quality and of accountability for miscarried cases accountability system, ensuring that case handling stands the test of law and time.

(4) Guarantee the popular masses’ participation in the judiciary. Persist in people’s justice for the people, rely on the people to move judicial fairness forward, and protect the people’s rights and interests through judicial fairness. Guarantee the public’s participation in judicial mediation, judicial hearings, petitioning involving litigation and other judicial activities. Improve the people’s assessor system, guarantee citizens’ right to participate in adjudication, expand the scope of participation in trial, perfect random selection methods, and increase the credibility of the people’s assessor system. Gradually implement that people’s assessors no longer hear questions of applicable law, and only participate in issues of fact determination.

Build an open, dynamic, transparent, and convenient sunshine judicial mechanism; move forward with open trials, open prosecutorial work, open police work, and open prison work; promptly publish law enforcement and judicial basis, procedures, processes, results, and effective legal documents according to the law; and put an end to secretive work. Strengthen the explanation and interpretation of legal documents, and create an online integrated open inquiry system for effective legal documents.

(5) Strengthen the judicial protection of human rights. Strengthen procedural protection of parties’ and other litigation participants’ right to know, right to make comments, right to defence and debate, right to make requests, and right to appeal in the course of litigation procedures. Complete legal systems to implement principles such as statutory punishments, no punishment in cases in doubt and exclusion of illegal evidence. Perfect judicial oversight of judicial measures and investigatory methods that limit personal freedom, strengthen prevention at the source against confessions extracted through torture and illegally acquired evidence, complete effective prevention measures against unjust, false and wrongfully decided cases, and mechanisms for prompt corrections.

Truly resolve difficulties in enforcement, draft a law on coercive enforcement, standardize judicial procedures for sealing, seizing, freezing and disposing of assets involved in cases. Accelerate the construction of a legal system for supervision, deterrence and punishment of persons not executing judgments. Ensure the prompt realization of the rights and interests of winning parties in lawsuits according to the law.

Implement final judgment and litigation finality systems, separate litigation and petitioning, guarantee that parties exercise their right to appeal according to the law. For appeals due to dissatisfaction with effective judgments or decisions by judicial organs, gradually implement a system of lawyer representation. Bring appellants unable to hire a lawyer within the scope of legal aid.

(6) Strengthen supervision over judicial activities. Perfect legal systems for prosecutorial organs to exercise supervisory powers, strengthen legal supervision over criminal procedure, civil procedure and administrative procedure. Perfect the people’s supervisor system, focus on the supervision of prosecutorial organs’ investigation of criminal offences occurring during law enforcement activities including case registry, arrests, detention or freezing of assets, filing complaints, etc. Judicial organs must timely respond to social concerns. Standardize media reporting over cases, prevent that public opinion influences judicial fairness.

Standardize the links and interactions between judicial personnel and the parties, lawyers, people with particular relationships and intermediary organizations according to the law. It is strictly prohibited for judicial personnel to secretly contact the concerned parties and their lawyers, leak or make secretive inquiries about case details, accept dinner invitations or receive assets from them, introduce agency or defence business to lawyers and other such acts violating laws and regulations, firmly punish acts of judicial brokerage, prevent the transportation of interests.

Judicial personnel who were dismissed from office for violating laws or discipline, and lawyers and notaries public whose licence has been revoked will be prohibited to work in the legal profession for life, where it constitutes a crime, criminal liability must be prosecuted according to the law.

Firmly break through all kinds of unwritten rules, it is absolutely not permitted to bestow favours outside the law, it is absolutely not permitted to deal in guanxi cases, favour cases and money cases. Firmly oppose and overcome privileged thinking, a yamen work style and an overbearing work style, firmly oppose and punish crude law enforcement and cruel law enforcement. Implement zero-tolerance against corruption on the judicial sphere, and firmly eliminate the black sheep.

V, Strengthen the entire population’s rule of law consciousness, move the construction of a rule of law society forward.

The authority of the law springs from its endorsement in the people’s hearts and from their sincere belief. The people’s rights and interests must rely on legal guarantees, the authority of the law must rely on the people upholding it. We must carry forward the spirit of Socialist rule of law, build a Socialist rule of law culture, strengthen the vigour and initiative of the entire society to vigorously enforce the rule of law, shape a social atmosphere in which abiding by the law is honourable and violating the law is disgraceful, make the whole body of the people become faithful upholders, conscious observers and firm protectors of Socialist rule of law.

(1) Promote that the entire society establishes a rule of law consciousness. Firmly make popularizing the law and abiding by the law among all of the people into a long-term, basic work for ruling the country according to the law, deeply conduct rule of law propaganda and education, guide the entire people to consciously abide by the law, look for the law when encountering events and rely on the law in solving problems. Persist in making leading cadres take the lead in studying the law and be models of abiding by the law, make this into the crux of establishing a legal consciousness, perfect systems for State personnel to study the law and use the law, bring the Constitution and the laws into the content of central Party Committee (Party group_ study groups, and classify them as mandatory courses in Party Schools, administrative academies, cadre academies and Socialism academies. Bring rule of law education into the compulsory education system, grasp the matter from an early age, and set up rule of law knowledge classes in primary and secondary schools.

Complete legal popularization, propaganda and education mechanisms, all levels’ Party Committees and governments must strengthen leadership over law popularization work, propaganda, culture and education departments, as well as people’s organizations, must play a functional rule in legal popularization and education. Implement law popularization responsibility system in State organs where “who enforces the law, popularizes the law”, establish systems for judges, prosecutors, administrative law enforcement personnel, lawyers, etc., to explain the law through cases, strengthen the construction of legal popularization tutor groups and legal popularization volunteer teams. Bring rule of law education into the content of spiritual civilization construction, launch mass-type rule of law culture activities, complete legal systems for public interest media, strengthen the use of new media and new technologies in popularizing the law, raise the effect of legal popularization.

Firmly establish the idea that where there is power, there is responsibility, and where there are rights, there are obligations. Strengthen the construction of social honesty, complete legal compliance credit records of citizens and organizations, perfect commendation mechanisms for abiding by the law and punitive mechanisms for violating the law and breaking promises, make respecting the law and abiding by the law into a common pursuit and conscious act of the whole body of the people.

Strengthen the construction of citizens’ morality, carry forward China’s excellent traditional culture, strengthen the moral content of rule of law, strengthen a sense of rule, propose a spirit of agreement, carry forward the fine custom of public order. Give rein to the rule of law in resolving prominent problems in the area of morality, guide the people to consciously carry out their statutory duties, social responsibilities and household responsibilities.

(2) Move forward with governance according to the law at multiple levels and in multiple areas. Persist in systematic governance, governance according to the law, comprehensive governance, and governance from the source, raise the rule of law levels of social governance. Deeply launch rule of law creation activities at multiple levels and in multiple forms, deepen governance of grass roots organizations, departments and sectors according to the law, support all kinds of social subjects’ self-restraint and self-management. Give rein to the positive rule of residents’ conventions, village rules, sector rules, organizations’ charters and other social norms in social governance.

Give rein to the positive functions of people’s organizations and social organization in the construction of a rule of law society. Establish and complete mechanisms and institutional channels for social organizations to participate in social affairs, safeguard the public interests, assist masses in need, help particular groups, and prevent law-breaking and crime. Support sector associations and commercial association-type social organizations in playing a rule in self-discipline and specialist services. Give rein to the role of social organizations in guiding the actions of their members, regulating and restraining them, and safeguarding their rights and interests. Strengthen the management of foreign non-governmental organizations [operating] in China, guide and supervise their deploying activities according to the law.

Raise high the magnificent banner of the grand unity of the nation, appropriately deal with social problems involving ethnicity, religion and other such factors, and stimulate harmony in ethnic and religious relationships.

(3) Build perfect legal service systems. Move forward with the construction of a public legal service system covering urban and rural residents, strengthen legal services in the area of the people’s livelihood. Perfect legal aid systems, broaden the scope of aid, complete judicial relief systems, guarantee that the popular masses obtain timely and effective legal assistance when they encounter problems or their rights are harmed.

Develop the legal services industry including lawyers, notaries public, etc., comprehensively plan legal service resources in town and country, and across regions, develop the foreign-oriented legal services sector. Complete unified judicial testimony management systems.

(4) Complete mechanisms to uphold rights and mediate disputes according to the law. Strengthen the authoritative position of the law in safeguarding the interests of the masses and dissolving social contradictions, guide and support the people in expressing their claims rationally, uphold their rights and interests according to the law, and resolve well the most direct and the most acute problems of interest that the masses are most concerned about.

Build structures and systems that play a major role in safeguarding the masses’ rights and interests, establish and complete warning mechanisms for social contradictions, mechanisms to express interests, mechanisms for consultation and communication, and mechanisms for relief and assistance, open up legal channels for the masses to coordinate their interests and guarantee their rights. Bring petitioning onto rule of law tracks, ensure that reasonable and lawful claims can be brought to a reasonable and lawful conclusion according to legal provisions and procedures.

Complete mechanisms to prevent and dissolve social contradictions and disputes, perfect pluralized dispute resolution mechanisms that organically link and mutually coordinate mediation, arbitration, administrative rulings, administrative redress, litigation, etc. Strengthen the construction of sectoral and specialized people’s mediation organizations, perfect joint work systems for people’s mediation, administrative mediation and judicial mediation. Perfect arbitration systems, raise the credibility of arbitration. Complete administrative adjudication systems, strengthen the function of administrative bodies to resolve civil disputes that are closely connected with their administrative management activities.

Deeply move comprehensive public order governance forward, complete and implement leadership responsibility systems. Perfect three-dimensional public order prevention and control systems, effectively prevent, dissolve, manage and control problems influencing social stability, protect the safety of people’s lives and property. Sternly attack violence and terror, organized crime, heresy and pornography, gambling and drugs, and other unlawful and criminal activities according to the law, it is absolutely not permitted to create a climate for them. Strengthen governance over focus problems such as harm to food products and drug safety, influences on safe production, harm to the ecological environment, destruction of cybersecurity, etc.

VI, Strengthen the construction of rule of law work teams

To comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, we must forcefully raise the ideological and political quality of rule of law work teams, their professional abilities and their levels of professional ethics, strive to build a line of Socialist rule of law work teams who are loyal to the Party, loyal to the country, loyal to the people and loyal to the law, and provide powerful organizational and talent guarantees to accelerate the construction of a Socialist rule of law country.

(1) Build high-quality specialist rule of law teams. Put ideological and political construction first, strengthen education on ideals and convictions, deeply launch education about the Socialist core value system and the concept of Socialist rule of law, persist in the supremacy of the Party’s undertaking, of the interests of the people and of the Constitution and the laws, strengthen the construction of legislation teams, administrative law enforcement teams and judicial teams. Grasp the crucial point of constructing leadership ranks at all levels’ legislative, law enforcement and judicial bodies, give prominence to political standards, appoint candidates who are good at using rule of law thinking and rule of law methods to promote work to leading positions. Open up circulation channels for cadres and talent between legislative, law enforcement and judicial departments, as well as cadres and talent from other departments who meet conditions.

Move forward with the regularization, specialization and professionalization of specialist rule of law teams, raise their professional quality and specialization levels. Perfect access systems for the legal profession, complete national uniform qualification and examination systems for the legal profession, establish uniform pre-appointment training systems for legal professionals. Establish systems to recruit legislative workers, judges and prosecutors from among lawyers and legal scholars and experts meeting conditions, open up channels for transferred military cadres meeting conditions to enter specialist rule of law teams, complete standardized and convenient mechanisms to recruit talents from among political-legal major graduates. Strengthen the construction of rule of law teams in border regions and ethnic regions. Accelerate the establishment of rule of law personnel management rules that conform to the characteristics of the profession, perfect professional protection systems, establish specialist job ranks and salary structures for judges, prosecutors and the people’s police.

Establish gradual selection systems for judges and prosecutors. Initially-appointed judges and prosecutors are recruited uniformly by higher People’s Courts and provincial-level People’s Procuratorates, and are appointed to grass-roots courts and procuratorates without exception. Judges and prosecutors for higher-level People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates are generally selected from among excellent judges and prosecutors from the People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates of one level lower.

(2) Strengthen the construction of legal service teams. Strengthen the ideological and political construction of lawyer teams, make endorsing the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and endorsing Socialist rule of law into a basic requirement for lawyers’ employment, strengthen the broad lawyers’ consciousness and resolution about marching the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics. Build lawyer teams with rational structures and mutual support between social lawyers, lawyers in public employment and corporate lawyers. Raise the professional quality of lawyer teams, perfect mechanisms for professional guarantees. Strengthen the management of lawyers’ chambers, give rein to the self-disciplinary role of the lawyers’ association, standardize lawyers’ professional conduct, supervise lawyers in strictly observing professional ethics and professional integrity, strengthen access and withdrawal management, strictly implement punitive systems for business violating laws and regulations. Strengthen Party building in the lawyer sector, broaden the Party’s work coverage, and realistically give rein to the political core role of Party organizations in lawyers’ chambers.

All levels’ Party and government bodies and public organizations have generally appointed publicly employed lawyers, and enterprises may appoint corporate lawyers, to participate in policymaking argumentation, provide legal opinions, stimulate conducting affairs according to the law, and prevent legal risks. Clarify the legal position of publicly employed lawyers and corporate lawyers, and their rights and obligations, rationalize management systems and mechanisms for publicly employed lawyers and corporate lawyers.

Develop notary public, grass roots legal service worker and people’s mediator teams. Promote the construction of legal service volunteer teams. Establish mechanisms to encourage legal service talents to circulate across regions, gradually solve the problems of high-level talent deficiency and insufficient legal service resources at the grass roots and in underdeveloped regions.

(3) Innovate rule of law fostering mechanisms. Persist in using Marxist legal thinking and the theory of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics to occupy the legal education and legal research battlefield in tertiary education and research bodies in all directions, strengthen basic legal theory research, shape perfect legal theory systems, disciplinary systems and course systems for Socialism with Chinese characteristics, organize the compilation and the comprehensive use of national uniform specialized core textbooks, and bring them in the mandatory scope of the judicial examination. Persist in cultivating the young through virtue, and letting morality be the forerunner, promote that the Socialist rule of law theory with Chinese characteristics enters textbooks, enters classrooms and enters minds, and foster rule of law talents and reserve forces who are well acquainted with and persist in the Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics. Establish foreign-oriented rule of law talent teams who thoroughly understand international legal rules and are good at dealing with foreign-oriented legal affairs.

Complete two-way interaction mechanisms between political-legal departments and personnel in legal institutes and legal research bodies, implement mutual appointment plans between tertiary education and rule of law work departments, focus on forging a line of high-level legal scholar and expert teams with firm political viewpoints, thick theoretical achievements, who are well acquainted with China’s national circumstances, and build teams of high-quality academic leaders, backbone teachers and full and part-time teachers.

VII, Strengthen and improve Party leadership over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward

The leadership of the Party is the most fundamental guarantee for comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward and accelerating the construction of a Socialist rule of law country. We must strengthen and improve Party leadership over rule of law work, and let Party leadership penetrate into the entire process of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward.

(1) Persist in governing according to the law. Governing according to the law is the key of ruling the country according to the law. All levels’ Party organizations and leading cadres must deeply understand that safeguarding the authority of the Constitution and the laws means safeguarding the authority of the common will of the Party and the people, that defending the dignity of the Constitution and the laws is defending the dignity of the common will of the Party and the people, and that ensuring the implementation of the Constitution and the laws is the realization of the common will of the Party and the people. All levels’ leading cadres must cherish the law with a heart of reverence, keep firmly in mind that the legal red line cannot be exceeded, and that the legal baseline may not be touched, they must take the lead in abiding by the law, take the lead in conducting affairs acceding to the law, they may not exercise their power in violation of the law, and make certainly not let their word replace the law, use their power to suppress the law, or bend the law for relatives and friends.

Complete systems and work mechanisms for ruling the country according to the law under the leadership of the Party, perfect work mechanisms and procedures to guarantee that the Party determines the principles, policies and deployments for ruling the country according to the law. Strengthen unified leadership, unified deployments and comprehensive planning over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. Perfect mechanisms for Party Committees to make policy decisions according to the law, give rein to the superiorities of both policies and laws, stimulate that Party policies and State laws are mutually connected and mutually supporting. Party Committees must regularly listen to political-legal bodies’ work reports, and be models of stimulating judicial fairness and upholding the authority of the law. Main responsible persons in Party and government must bear the duty of being the first responsible person for rule of law construction. All levels’ Party Committees must lead and support labour unions, the Communist Youth League, the Women’s Federation and other such people’s organizations and social organizations in playing a positive rule in ruling the country according to the law.

Party organizations and Party members and cadres in People’s Congresses, governments, consultative conferences, trial bodies and prosecutorial bodies must firmly implement the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies, and implement the policy decision and deployments of Party Committees. Party organizations in all levels’ People’s Congresses, governments, consultative conferences, trial bodies and prosecutorial bodies must lead and supervise their work unit’s role as a model of abiding by the Constitution and the laws, firmly investigating and prosecuting legal violations in law enforcement, unlawful use of power and other such acts.

Political-legal committees are the organizational form in which Party Committees lead political-legal work, this must be maintained for the long term. all levels’ Party Committees’ Political-Legal Committees must put the focus of their work on grasping political orientations, coordinating their functions in all areas, comprehensively planning political-legal work, building political-legal teams and supervising implementation according to the law, creating a fair judicial environment, taking the lead in conducting affairs according to the law, and guaranteeing that the Constitution and the laws are implemented correctly and uniformly. Political-legal bodies’ Party organizations must establish and complete systems to report major affairs to the Party Committee. Strengthen Party building in political-legal bodies, fully give rein to the political-legal guarantee role of Party organizations in rule of law construction, and the pioneering example role of Party members.

(2) Strengthen the construction of intra-Party regulatory structures. Intra-Party regulation is an important basis for managing and governing the Party, as well as a powerful guarantee for building a Socialist rule of law country. The Party Constitution is the most fundamental intra-Party regulation, the entire Party must strictly implement it. Perfect intra-Party regulation formulation systems and mechanisms, expand intra-Party regulation filing, inspection and interpretation strength, shape complementary and perfect intra-Party regulation structures and systems. Pay attention to linking and coordinating intra-Party regulations with State laws, raise the implementation strength of intra-Party regulations, use intra-Party regulations to sufficiently ensure that the Party must manage the Party, and the Party must be governed strictly, simulate Party members and cadres to take the lead in abiding by State laws and regulations.

Party discipline is an intra-Party convention. Party regulations and Party discipline are stricter than State laws, all levels’ Party organizations and the broad Party members and cadres must not only be models of abiding by State laws, they must also put strict demands on themselves according to the even higher standards of Party regulations and Party discipline, they must strengthen their ideals and convictions, put the purpose of the Party into practice, and firmly struggle with acts violating law and discipline. Acts violating Party regulations and Party discipline must be dealt with severely, symptomatic and tendentious problems must be grasped early, when they are small, in order to prevent that small mistakes ferment into big mistakes, and violation of discipline becomes violation of the law.

Oppose and overcome formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagant tendencies according to discipline and according to the law, create strict, long-term mechanisms. Perfect and strictly implement regulatory structures for leading cadres in terms of politics, work and remuneration, strive to deal with all sorts of acts of privilege. Deeply launch the construction of a clean Party work style and anti-corruption, strictly implement the dominant responsibilities of Party Committees in clean Party work style construction and supervisory responsibilities of discipline inspection committees, any corrupt act or corrupt element must be firmly punished according to discipline and according to the law, we must certainly not be soft-hearted

(3) Raise the rule of law thinking of Party members and cadres, and their ability to conduct affairs according to the law. Party members and cadres are important organizers, promoters and practitioners in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, they must consciously raise their ability to utilize rule of law thinking and methods to deepen reform, promote development, dissolve contradictions and safeguard stability, high-level cadres especially must set the example, so that the higher levels lead the lower levels. Make achievements of rule of law construction into an important content to measure the work achievements of all levels’ leadership ranks and leading cadres, bring it into the career achievement assessment indicator system. Make whether or not someone is able to abide by the law and conduct affairs according to the law into an important content to evaluate cadres, under identical conditions, give priority to appointing cadres with good accomplishments in using the rule of law, and have a strong ability to conduct affairs according to the law. Cadres who display grave privileged thinking, and whose sense of rule of law is vague must be criticized and educated, and those who do not correct themselves must be transferred out of leading positions.

(4) Move the legalization of grass roots governance forward. To comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, the basis lies at the grass roots, and the focus point of work lies with the grass roots. Give rein to the fighting fortress role of grass roots Party organizations in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, strengthen grass roots cadres’ sense of the rule of law and their consciousness about rule of law for the sake of the people, and raise their ability to conduct affairs according to the law. Strengthen the construction of grass roots rule of law bodies, strengthen grass roots rule of law teams, establish rule of law work mechanisms where the centre of gravity is moved downwards and forces are brought downwards, improve grass roots infrastructure and equipment conditions, promote rule of law cadres’ being active at the grass roots.

(5) Deeply move forward with ruling the Army according to the law, and ruling the Army strictly. The Party’s absolute leadership over the Army is a core and fundamental need for ruling the Army according to the law. Closely concentrate on the Party’s strong military objectives under new circumstances, focus on comprehensively strengthening the revolutionization, modernization, regularization and construction of the military, innovate theories and practices to govern the Army according to the law, build and perfect military rule of law systems with Chinese characteristics, raise the capacity to legalize national defence and military construction.

Persist in vigorously and securely moving national defence and military reform forward along rule of law rails, deepen reform of military leadership and command structures, force composition, policy structures and other such areas, accelerate the perfection and development of a Socialist military system with Chinese characteristics.

Complete military regulatory structures and systems that are adapted to the construction of a modern military and the demands of waging war, strictly standardize the powers and procedures to formulate military regulations and structures, bring all military normative documents into the scope of inspection, perfect inspection systems, strengthen the scientific nature, focus and applicability of military regulations and structures.

Persist in strictly governing the Army with iron discipline, expand the implementation strength of military regulations, clarify law enforcement responsibilities, perfect law enforcement systems, complete law enforcement supervision mechanisms, strictly investigate responsibilities, promote the satisfactory implementation of ruling the Army according to the law.

Complete military legal system work structures, establish and perfect legal work organs in leading organs. Reform military judicial systems and mechanisms, perfect uniformly led military judicial and prosecutorial systems, safeguard the interests of national defence, guarantee the lawful rights and interests of soldiers, prevent attacks, law-breaking and crime. Establish a military legal advisor system, install military legal advisors in all leadership bodies, perfect legal consulting guarantee systems for major policy decisions and military actions. Reform military discipline inspection and supervision systems.

Strengthen the rule of law consciousness and rule of law accomplishments of officers and other ranks, bring the study of legal knowledge into the military school education system, cadre theory study and military training system, classify it as a mandatory course for military academy students and military officers and other ranks. Perfect military legal talent training mechanisms. Strengthen research on military rule of law theory.

(6) Guarantee the practice of “one country, two systems” according to the law and move forward the unity of the motherland. Persist in the fact that the Constitution has the highest legal position and the highest legal effect, comprehensively and accurately implement “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kongers govern Hong Kong”, “Macanese govern Macau”, and the policies of high levels of autonomy, conduct affairs strictly according to the Constitution and the Basic Laws, perfect systems and mechanisms connected to the implementation of the Basic Laws, exercise central powers according to the law, guarantee a high level of autonomy according to the law, support the Special Administrative Regions’ Chief Executives and governments in governing according to the law, guarantee the development of economic and trade relationships between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, and of exchange and cooperation in all areas, prevent and oppose interference by foreign powers in Hong Kong and Macau affairs, guarantee that Hong Kong and Macau remain flourishing and stable in the long run.

Use rule of law methods to consolidate and deepen the peaceful development of relationships across the Taiwan Straits, perfect Taiwan-related laws and regulations, standardize and guarantee the relationship of the people across the Straits according to the law, move exchange and cooperation across the Straits forward. Use legal methods to defend the One China Principle and to oppose “Taiwanese Independence”, enhance and safeguard the common understanding of the One China framework, move the peaceful unification of the motherland forward.

Protect the rights and interests of Hong Kong and Macau compatriots, and Taiwan compatriots according to the law. Strengthen law enforcement and judicial cooperation between the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, jointly attack cross-border unlawful and criminal activities.

(7) Strengthen foreign-related legal work. Adapt to the incessant deepening of opening up to the outside world, perfect foreign-oriented legal and regulatory systems, stimulate the construction of new structures for an open economy. Vigorously participate in the formulation of international norms, promote the handling of foreign-related economic and social affairs according to the law, strengthen our country’s discourse power and influence in international legal affairs, use legal methods to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security and development interests. Strengthen foreign-related legal services, safeguard the proper interests of our country’s citizens and legal persons abroad, and foreign citizens and legal person in our country, safeguard the rights and interests of overseas compatriots according to the law. Deepen international cooperation in the judicial area, perfect our country’s judicial assistance systems, and expand the coverage of international judicial assistance. Strengthen international cooperation on anti-corruption, expand strength to pursue stolen goods and fugitives overseas, as well as for repatriation and extradition. Vigorously participate in international cooperation concerning law enforcement security, jointly attack forces of violent terror, ethnic separatist forces, religious extremist forces, drug smuggling and cross-border organized crime.

All levels’ Party Committees must completely and correctly implement the spirit of this Decision, complete responsibility implementation systems with uniform leadership and responsibility from various sides according to the division of work, with joint management, formulate implementation plans and guarantee the satisfactory implementation of all deployments.

The comrades of the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country must closely unite around the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, vigorously throw themselves into the magnificent practice of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, forge ahead and pioneer, do solid work, and struggle to build a rule of law China!

 

中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定

(2014年10月23日中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议通过)

为贯彻落实党的十八大作出的战略部署,加快建设社会主义法治国家,十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议研究了全面推进依法治国若干重大问题,作出如下决定。

一、坚持走中国特色社会主义法治道路,建设中国特色社会主义法治体系

依法治国,是坚持和发展中国特色社会主义的本质要求和重要保障,是实现国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的必然要求,事关我们党执政兴国,事关人民幸福安康,事关党和国家长治久安。

全面建成小康社会、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,全面深化改革、完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度,提高党的执政能力和执政水平,必须全面推进依法治国。

我国正处于社会主义初级阶段,全面建成小康社会进入决定性阶段,改革进入攻坚期和深水区,国际形势复杂多变,我们党面对的改革发展稳定任务之重前所未有、矛盾风险挑战之多前所未有,依法治国在党和国家工作全局中的地位更加突出、作用更加重大。面对新形势新任务,我们党要更好统筹国内国际两个大局,更好维护和运用我国发展的重要战略机遇期,更好统筹社会力量、平衡社会利益、调节社会关系、规范社会行为,使我国社会在深刻变革中既生机勃勃又井然有序,实现经济发展、政治清明、文化昌盛、社会公正、生态良好,实现我国和平发展的战略目标,必须更好发挥法治的引领和规范作用。

我们党高度重视法治建设。长期以来,特别是党的十一届三中全会以来,我们党深刻总结我国社会主义法治建设的成功经验和深刻教训,提出为了保障人民民主,必须加强法治,必须使民主制度化、法律化,把依法治国确定为党领导人民治理国家的基本方略,把依法执政确定为党治国理政的基本方式,积极建设社会主义法治,取得历史性成就。目前,中国特色社会主义法律体系已经形成,法治政府建设稳步推进,司法体制不断完善,全社会法治观念明显增强。

同时,必须清醒看到,同党和国家事业发展要求相比,同人民群众期待相比,同推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化目标相比,法治建设还存在许多不适应、不符合的问题,主要表现为:有的法律法规未能全面反映客观规律和人民意愿,针对性、可操作性不强,立法工作中部门化倾向、争权诿责现象较为突出;有法不依、执法不严、违法不究现象比较严重,执法体制权责脱节、多头执法、选择性执法现象仍然存在,执法司法不规范、不严格、不透明、不文明现象较为突出,群众对执法司法不公和腐败问题反映强烈;部分社会成员尊法信法守法用法、依法维权意识不强,一些国家工作人员特别是领导干部依法办事观念不强、能力不足,知法犯法、以言代法、以权压法、徇私枉法现象依然存在。这些问题,违背社会主义法治原则,损害人民群众利益,妨碍党和国家事业发展,必须下大气力加以解决。

全面推进依法治国,必须贯彻落实党的十八大和十八届三中全会精神,高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,以马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想、邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观为指导,深入贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神,坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一,坚定不移走中国特色社会主义法治道路,坚决维护宪法法律权威,依法维护人民权益、维护社会公平正义、维护国家安全稳定,为实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦提供有力法治保障。

全面推进依法治国,总目标是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家。这就是,在中国共产党领导下,坚持中国特色社会主义制度,贯彻中国特色社会主义法治理论,形成完备的法律规范体系、高效的法治实施体系、严密的法治监督体系、有力的法治保障体系,形成完善的党内法规体系,坚持依法治国、依法执政、依法行政共同推进,坚持法治国家、法治政府、法治社会一体建设,实现科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法,促进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化。

实现这个总目标,必须坚持以下原则。

——坚持中国共产党的领导。党的领导是中国特色社会主义最本质的特征,是社会主义法治最根本的保证。把党的领导贯彻到依法治国全过程和各方面,是我国社会主义法治建设的一条基本经验。我国宪法确立了中国共产党的领导地位。坚持党的领导,是社会主义法治的根本要求,是党和国家的根本所在、命脉所在,是全国各族人民的利益所系、幸福所系,是全面推进依法治国的题中应有之义。党的领导和社会主义法治是一致的,社会主义法治必须坚持党的领导,党的领导必须依靠社会主义法治。只有在党的领导下依法治国、厉行法治,人民当家作主才能充分实现,国家和社会生活法治化才能有序推进。依法执政,既要求党依据宪法法律治国理政,也要求党依据党内法规管党治党。必须坚持党领导立法、保证执法、支持司法、带头守法,把依法治国基本方略同依法执政基本方式统一起来,把党总揽全局、协调各方同人大、政府、政协、审判机关、检察机关依法依章程履行职能、开展工作统一起来,把党领导人民制定和实施宪法法律同党坚持在宪法法律范围内活动统一起来,善于使党的主张通过法定程序成为国家意志,善于使党组织推荐的人选通过法定程序成为国家政权机关的领导人员,善于通过国家政权机关实施党对国家和社会的领导,善于运用民主集中制原则维护中央权威、维护全党全国团结统一。

——坚持人民主体地位。人民是依法治国的主体和力量源泉,人民代表大会制度是保证人民当家作主的根本政治制度。必须坚持法治建设为了人民、依靠人民、造福人民、保护人民,以保障人民根本权益为出发点和落脚点,保证人民依法享有广泛的权利和自由、承担应尽的义务,维护社会公平正义,促进共同富裕。必须保证人民在党的领导下,依照法律规定,通过各种途径和形式管理国家事务,管理经济文化事业,管理社会事务。必须使人民认识到法律既是保障自身权利的有力武器,也是必须遵守的行为规范,增强全社会学法尊法守法用法意识,使法律为人民所掌握、所遵守、所运用。

——坚持法律面前人人平等。平等是社会主义法律的基本属性。任何组织和个人都必须尊重宪法法律权威,都必须在宪法法律范围内活动,都必须依照宪法法律行使权力或权利、履行职责或义务,都不得有超越宪法法律的特权。必须维护国家法制统一、尊严、权威,切实保证宪法法律有效实施,绝不允许任何人以任何借口任何形式以言代法、以权压法、徇私枉法。必须以规范和约束公权力为重点,加大监督力度,做到有权必有责、用权受监督、违法必追究,坚决纠正有法不依、执法不严、违法不究行为。

——坚持依法治国和以德治国相结合。国家和社会治理需要法律和道德共同发挥作用。必须坚持一手抓法治、一手抓德治,大力弘扬社会主义核心价值观,弘扬中华传统美德,培育社会公德、职业道德、家庭美德、个人品德,既重视发挥法律的规范作用,又重视发挥道德的教化作用,以法治体现道德理念、强化法律对道德建设的促进作用,以道德滋养法治精神、强化道德对法治文化的支撑作用,实现法律和道德相辅相成、法治和德治相得益彰。

——坚持从中国实际出发。中国特色社会主义道路、理论体系、制度是全面推进依法治国的根本遵循。必须从我国基本国情出发,同改革开放不断深化相适应,总结和运用党领导人民实行法治的成功经验,围绕社会主义法治建设重大理论和实践问题,推进法治理论创新,发展符合中国实际、具有中国特色、体现社会发展规律的社会主义法治理论,为依法治国提供理论指导和学理支撑。汲取中华法律文化精华,借鉴国外法治有益经验,但决不照搬外国法治理念和模式。

全面推进依法治国是一个系统工程,是国家治理领域一场广泛而深刻的革命,需要付出长期艰苦努力。全党同志必须更加自觉地坚持依法治国、更加扎实地推进依法治国,努力实现国家各项工作法治化,向着建设法治中国不断前进。

二、完善以宪法为核心的中国特色社会主义法律体系,加强宪法实施

法律是治国之重器,良法是善治之前提。建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,必须坚持立法先行,发挥立法的引领和推动作用,抓住提高立法质量这个关键。要恪守以民为本、立法为民理念,贯彻社会主义核心价值观,使每一项立法都符合宪法精神、反映人民意志、得到人民拥护。要把公正、公平、公开原则贯穿立法全过程,完善立法体制机制,坚持立改废释并举,增强法律法规的及时性、系统性、针对性、有效性。

(一)健全宪法实施和监督制度。宪法是党和人民意志的集中体现,是通过科学民主程序形成的根本法。坚持依法治国首先要坚持依宪治国,坚持依法执政首先要坚持依宪执政。全国各族人民、一切国家机关和武装力量、各政党和各社会团体、各企业事业组织,都必须以宪法为根本的活动准则,并且负有维护宪法尊严、保证宪法实施的职责。一切违反宪法的行为都必须予以追究和纠正。

完善全国人大及其常委会宪法监督制度,健全宪法解释程序机制。加强备案审查制度和能力建设,把所有规范性文件纳入备案审查范围,依法撤销和纠正违宪违法的规范性文件,禁止地方制发带有立法性质的文件。

将每年十二月四日定为国家宪法日。在全社会普遍开展宪法教育,弘扬宪法精神。建立宪法宣誓制度,凡经人大及其常委会选举或者决定任命的国家工作人员正式就职时公开向宪法宣誓。

(二)完善立法体制。加强党对立法工作的领导,完善党对立法工作中重大问题决策的程序。凡立法涉及重大体制和重大政策调整的,必须报党中央讨论决定。党中央向全国人大提出宪法修改建议,依照宪法规定的程序进行宪法修改。法律制定和修改的重大问题由全国人大常委会党组向党中央报告。

健全有立法权的人大主导立法工作的体制机制,发挥人大及其常委会在立法工作中的主导作用。建立由全国人大相关专门委员会、全国人大常委会法制工作委员会组织有关部门参与起草综合性、全局性、基础性等重要法律草案制度。增加有法治实践经验的专职常委比例。依法建立健全专门委员会、工作委员会立法专家顾问制度。

加强和改进政府立法制度建设,完善行政法规、规章制定程序,完善公众参与政府立法机制。重要行政管理法律法规由政府法制机构组织起草。

明确立法权力边界,从体制机制和工作程序上有效防止部门利益和地方保护主义法律化。对部门间争议较大的重要立法事项,由决策机关引入第三方评估,充分听取各方意见,协调决定,不能久拖不决。加强法律解释工作,及时明确法律规定含义和适用法律依据。明确地方立法权限和范围,依法赋予设区的市地方立法权。

(三)深入推进科学立法、民主立法。加强人大对立法工作的组织协调,健全立法起草、论证、协调、审议机制,健全向下级人大征询立法意见机制,建立基层立法联系点制度,推进立法精细化。健全法律法规规章起草征求人大代表意见制度,增加人大代表列席人大常委会会议人数,更多发挥人大代表参与起草和修改法律作用。完善立法项目征集和论证制度。健全立法机关主导、社会各方有序参与立法的途径和方式。探索委托第三方起草法律法规草案。

健全立法机关和社会公众沟通机制,开展立法协商,充分发挥政协委员、民主党派、工商联、无党派人士、人民团体、社会组织在立法协商中的作用,探索建立有关国家机关、社会团体、专家学者等对立法中涉及的重大利益调整论证咨询机制。拓宽公民有序参与立法途径,健全法律法规规章草案公开征求意见和公众意见采纳情况反馈机制,广泛凝聚社会共识。

完善法律草案表决程序,对重要条款可以单独表决。

(四)加强重点领域立法。依法保障公民权利,加快完善体现权利公平、机会公平、规则公平的法律制度,保障公民人身权、财产权、基本政治权利等各项权利不受侵犯,保障公民经济、文化、社会等各方面权利得到落实,实现公民权利保障法治化。增强全社会尊重和保障人权意识,健全公民权利救济渠道和方式。

社会主义市场经济本质上是法治经济。使市场在资源配置中起决定性作用和更好发挥政府作用,必须以保护产权、维护契约、统一市场、平等交换、公平竞争、有效监管为基本导向,完善社会主义市场经济法律制度。健全以公平为核心原则的产权保护制度,加强对各种所有制经济组织和自然人财产权的保护,清理有违公平的法律法规条款。创新适应公有制多种实现形式的产权保护制度,加强对国有、集体资产所有权、经营权和各类企业法人财产权的保护。国家保护企业以法人财产权依法自主经营、自负盈亏,企业有权拒绝任何组织和个人无法律依据的要求。加强企业社会责任立法。完善激励创新的产权制度、知识产权保护制度和促进科技成果转化的体制机制。加强市场法律制度建设,编纂民法典,制定和完善发展规划、投资管理、土地管理、能源和矿产资源、农业、财政税收、金融等方面法律法规,促进商品和要素自由流动、公平交易、平等使用。依法加强和改善宏观调控、市场监管,反对垄断,促进合理竞争,维护公平竞争的市场秩序。加强军民融合深度发展法治保障。

制度化、规范化、程序化是社会主义民主政治的根本保障。以保障人民当家作主为核心,坚持和完善人民代表大会制度,坚持和完善中国共产党领导的多党合作和政治协商制度、民族区域自治制度以及基层群众自治制度,推进社会主义民主政治法治化。加强社会主义协商民主制度建设,推进协商民主广泛多层制度化发展,构建程序合理、环节完整的协商民主体系。完善和发展基层民主制度,依法推进基层民主和行业自律,实行自我管理、自我服务、自我教育、自我监督。完善国家机构组织法,完善选举制度和工作机制。加快推进反腐败国家立法,完善惩治和预防腐败体系,形成不敢腐、不能腐、不想腐的有效机制,坚决遏制和预防腐败现象。完善惩治贪污贿赂犯罪法律制度,把贿赂犯罪对象由财物扩大为财物和其他财产性利益。

建立健全坚持社会主义先进文化前进方向、遵循文化发展规律、有利于激发文化创造活力、保障人民基本文化权益的文化法律制度。制定公共文化服务保障法,促进基本公共文化服务标准化、均等化。制定文化产业促进法,把行之有效的文化经济政策法定化,健全促进社会效益和经济效益有机统一的制度规范。制定国家勋章和国家荣誉称号法,表彰有突出贡献的杰出人士。加强互联网领域立法,完善网络信息服务、网络安全保护、网络社会管理等方面的法律法规,依法规范网络行为。

加快保障和改善民生、推进社会治理体制创新法律制度建设。依法加强和规范公共服务,完善教育、就业、收入分配、社会保障、医疗卫生、食品安全、扶贫、慈善、社会救助和妇女儿童、老年人、残疾人合法权益保护等方面的法律法规。加强社会组织立法,规范和引导各类社会组织健康发展。制定社区矫正法。

贯彻落实总体国家安全观,加快国家安全法治建设,抓紧出台反恐怖等一批急需法律,推进公共安全法治化,构建国家安全法律制度体系。

用严格的法律制度保护生态环境,加快建立有效约束开发行为和促进绿色发展、循环发展、低碳发展的生态文明法律制度,强化生产者环境保护的法律责任,大幅度提高违法成本。建立健全自然资源产权法律制度,完善国土空间开发保护方面的法律制度,制定完善生态补偿和土壤、水、大气污染防治及海洋生态环境保护等法律法规,促进生态文明建设。

实现立法和改革决策相衔接,做到重大改革于法有据、立法主动适应改革和经济社会发展需要。实践证明行之有效的,要及时上升为法律。实践条件还不成熟、需要先行先试的,要按照法定程序作出授权。对不适应改革要求的法律法规,要及时修改和废止。

三、深入推进依法行政,加快建设法治政府

法律的生命力在于实施,法律的权威也在于实施。各级政府必须坚持在党的领导下、在法治轨道上开展工作,创新执法体制,完善执法程序,推进综合执法,严格执法责任,建立权责统一、权威高效的依法行政体制,加快建设职能科学、权责法定、执法严明、公开公正、廉洁高效、守法诚信的法治政府。

(一)依法全面履行政府职能。完善行政组织和行政程序法律制度,推进机构、职能、权限、程序、责任法定化。行政机关要坚持法定职责必须为、法无授权不可为,勇于负责、敢于担当,坚决纠正不作为、乱作为,坚决克服懒政、怠政,坚决惩处失职、渎职。行政机关不得法外设定权力,没有法律法规依据不得作出减损公民、法人和其他组织合法权益或者增加其义务的决定。推行政府权力清单制度,坚决消除权力设租寻租空间。

推进各级政府事权规范化、法律化,完善不同层级政府特别是中央和地方政府事权法律制度,强化中央政府宏观管理、制度设定职责和必要的执法权,强化省级政府统筹推进区域内基本公共服务均等化职责,强化市县政府执行职责。

(二)健全依法决策机制。把公众参与、专家论证、风险评估、合法性审查、集体讨论决定确定为重大行政决策法定程序,确保决策制度科学、程序正当、过程公开、责任明确。建立行政机关内部重大决策合法性审查机制,未经合法性审查或经审查不合法的,不得提交讨论。

积极推行政府法律顾问制度,建立政府法制机构人员为主体、吸收专家和律师参加的法律顾问队伍,保证法律顾问在制定重大行政决策、推进依法行政中发挥积极作用。

建立重大决策终身责任追究制度及责任倒查机制,对决策严重失误或者依法应该及时作出决策但久拖不决造成重大损失、恶劣影响的,严格追究行政首长、负有责任的其他领导人员和相关责任人员的法律责任。

(三)深化行政执法体制改革。根据不同层级政府的事权和职能,按照减少层次、整合队伍、提高效率的原则,合理配置执法力量。

推进综合执法,大幅减少市县两级政府执法队伍种类,重点在食品药品安全、工商质检、公共卫生、安全生产、文化旅游、资源环境、农林水利、交通运输、城乡建设、海洋渔业等领域内推行综合执法,有条件的领域可以推行跨部门综合执法。

完善市县两级政府行政执法管理,加强统一领导和协调。理顺行政强制执行体制。理顺城管执法体制,加强城市管理综合执法机构建设,提高执法和服务水平。

严格实行行政执法人员持证上岗和资格管理制度,未经执法资格考试合格,不得授予执法资格,不得从事执法活动。严格执行罚缴分离和收支两条线管理制度,严禁收费罚没收入同部门利益直接或者变相挂钩。

健全行政执法和刑事司法衔接机制,完善案件移送标准和程序,建立行政执法机关、公安机关、检察机关、审判机关信息共享、案情通报、案件移送制度,坚决克服有案不移、有案难移、以罚代刑现象,实现行政处罚和刑事处罚无缝对接。

(四)坚持严格规范公正文明执法。依法惩处各类违法行为,加大关系群众切身利益的重点领域执法力度。完善执法程序,建立执法全过程记录制度。明确具体操作流程,重点规范行政许可、行政处罚、行政强制、行政征收、行政收费、行政检查等执法行为。严格执行重大执法决定法制审核制度。

建立健全行政裁量权基准制度,细化、量化行政裁量标准,规范裁量范围、种类、幅度。加强行政执法信息化建设和信息共享,提高执法效率和规范化水平。

全面落实行政执法责任制,严格确定不同部门及机构、岗位执法人员执法责任和责任追究机制,加强执法监督,坚决排除对执法活动的干预,防止和克服地方和部门保护主义,惩治执法腐败现象。

(五)强化对行政权力的制约和监督。加强党内监督、人大监督、民主监督、行政监督、司法监督、审计监督、社会监督、舆论监督制度建设,努力形成科学有效的权力运行制约和监督体系,增强监督合力和实效。

加强对政府内部权力的制约,是强化对行政权力制约的重点。对财政资金分配使用、国有资产监管、政府投资、政府采购、公共资源转让、公共工程建设等权力集中的部门和岗位实行分事行权、分岗设权、分级授权,定期轮岗,强化内部流程控制,防止权力滥用。完善政府内部层级监督和专门监督,改进上级机关对下级机关的监督,建立常态化监督制度。完善纠错问责机制,健全责令公开道歉、停职检查、引咎辞职、责令辞职、罢免等问责方式和程序。

完善审计制度,保障依法独立行使审计监督权。对公共资金、国有资产、国有资源和领导干部履行经济责任情况实行审计全覆盖。强化上级审计机关对下级审计机关的领导。探索省以下地方审计机关人财物统一管理。推进审计职业化建设。

(六)全面推进政务公开。坚持以公开为常态、不公开为例外原则,推进决策公开、执行公开、管理公开、服务公开、结果公开。各级政府及其工作部门依据权力清单,向社会全面公开政府职能、法律依据、实施主体、职责权限、管理流程、监督方式等事项。重点推进财政预算、公共资源配置、重大建设项目批准和实施、社会公益事业建设等领域的政府信息公开。

涉及公民、法人或其他组织权利和义务的规范性文件,按照政府信息公开要求和程序予以公布。推行行政执法公示制度。推进政务公开信息化,加强互联网政务信息数据服务平台和便民服务平台建设。

四、保证公正司法,提高司法公信力

公正是法治的生命线。司法公正对社会公正具有重要引领作用,司法不公对社会公正具有致命破坏作用。必须完善司法管理体制和司法权力运行机制,规范司法行为,加强对司法活动的监督,努力让人民群众在每一个司法案件中感受到公平正义。

(一)完善确保依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权的制度。各级党政机关和领导干部要支持法院、检察院依法独立公正行使职权。建立领导干部干预司法活动、插手具体案件处理的记录、通报和责任追究制度。任何党政机关和领导干部都不得让司法机关做违反法定职责、有碍司法公正的事情,任何司法机关都不得执行党政机关和领导干部违法干预司法活动的要求。对干预司法机关办案的,给予党纪政纪处分;造成冤假错案或者其他严重后果的,依法追究刑事责任。

健全行政机关依法出庭应诉、支持法院受理行政案件、尊重并执行法院生效裁判的制度。完善惩戒妨碍司法机关依法行使职权、拒不执行生效裁判和决定、藐视法庭权威等违法犯罪行为的法律规定。

建立健全司法人员履行法定职责保护机制。非因法定事由,非经法定程序,不得将法官、检察官调离、辞退或者作出免职、降级等处分。

(二)优化司法职权配置。健全公安机关、检察机关、审判机关、司法行政机关各司其职,侦查权、检察权、审判权、执行权相互配合、相互制约的体制机制。

完善司法体制,推动实行审判权和执行权相分离的体制改革试点。完善刑罚执行制度,统一刑罚执行体制。改革司法机关人财物管理体制,探索实行法院、检察院司法行政事务管理权和审判权、检察权相分离。

最高人民法院设立巡回法庭,审理跨行政区域重大行政和民商事案件。探索设立跨行政区划的人民法院和人民检察院,办理跨地区案件。完善行政诉讼体制机制,合理调整行政诉讼案件管辖制度,切实解决行政诉讼立案难、审理难、执行难等突出问题。

改革法院案件受理制度,变立案审查制为立案登记制,对人民法院依法应该受理的案件,做到有案必立、有诉必理,保障当事人诉权。加大对虚假诉讼、恶意诉讼、无理缠诉行为的惩治力度。完善刑事诉讼中认罪认罚从宽制度。

完善审级制度,一审重在解决事实认定和法律适用,二审重在解决事实法律争议、实现二审终审,再审重在解决依法纠错、维护裁判权威。完善对涉及公民人身、财产权益的行政强制措施实行司法监督制度。检察机关在履行职责中发现行政机关违法行使职权或者不行使职权的行为,应该督促其纠正。探索建立检察机关提起公益诉讼制度。

明确司法机关内部各层级权限,健全内部监督制约机制。司法机关内部人员不得违反规定干预其他人员正在办理的案件,建立司法机关内部人员过问案件的记录制度和责任追究制度。完善主审法官、合议庭、主任检察官、主办侦查员办案责任制,落实谁办案谁负责。

加强职务犯罪线索管理,健全受理、分流、查办、信息反馈制度,明确纪检监察和刑事司法办案标准和程序衔接,依法严格查办职务犯罪案件。

(三)推进严格司法。坚持以事实为根据、以法律为准绳,健全事实认定符合客观真相、办案结果符合实体公正、办案过程符合程序公正的法律制度。加强和规范司法解释和案例指导,统一法律适用标准。

推进以审判为中心的诉讼制度改革,确保侦查、审查起诉的案件事实证据经得起法律的检验。全面贯彻证据裁判规则,严格依法收集、固定、保存、审查、运用证据,完善证人、鉴定人出庭制度,保证庭审在查明事实、认定证据、保护诉权、公正裁判中发挥决定性作用。

明确各类司法人员工作职责、工作流程、工作标准,实行办案质量终身负责制和错案责任倒查问责制,确保案件处理经得起法律和历史检验。

(四)保障人民群众参与司法。坚持人民司法为人民,依靠人民推进公正司法,通过公正司法维护人民权益。在司法调解、司法听证、涉诉信访等司法活动中保障人民群众参与。完善人民陪审员制度,保障公民陪审权利,扩大参审范围,完善随机抽选方式,提高人民陪审制度公信度。逐步实行人民陪审员不再审理法律适用问题,只参与审理事实认定问题。

构建开放、动态、透明、便民的阳光司法机制,推进审判公开、检务公开、警务公开、狱务公开,依法及时公开执法司法依据、程序、流程、结果和生效法律文书,杜绝暗箱操作。加强法律文书释法说理,建立生效法律文书统一上网和公开查询制度。

(五)加强人权司法保障。强化诉讼过程中当事人和其他诉讼参与人的知情权、陈述权、辩护辩论权、申请权、申诉权的制度保障。健全落实罪刑法定、疑罪从无、非法证据排除等法律原则的法律制度。完善对限制人身自由司法措施和侦查手段的司法监督,加强对刑讯逼供和非法取证的源头预防,健全冤假错案有效防范、及时纠正机制。

切实解决执行难,制定强制执行法,规范查封、扣押、冻结、处理涉案财物的司法程序。加快建立失信被执行人信用监督、威慑和惩戒法律制度。依法保障胜诉当事人及时实现权益。

落实终审和诉讼终结制度,实行诉访分离,保障当事人依法行使申诉权利。对不服司法机关生效裁判、决定的申诉,逐步实行由律师代理制度。对聘不起律师的申诉人,纳入法律援助范围。

(六)加强对司法活动的监督。完善检察机关行使监督权的法律制度,加强对刑事诉讼、民事诉讼、行政诉讼的法律监督。完善人民监督员制度,重点监督检察机关查办职务犯罪的立案、羁押、扣押冻结财物、起诉等环节的执法活动。司法机关要及时回应社会关切。规范媒体对案件的报道,防止舆论影响司法公正。

依法规范司法人员与当事人、律师、特殊关系人、中介组织的接触、交往行为。严禁司法人员私下接触当事人及律师、泄露或者为其打探案情、接受吃请或者收受其财物、为律师介绍代理和辩护业务等违法违纪行为,坚决惩治司法掮客行为,防止利益输送。

对因违法违纪被开除公职的司法人员、吊销执业证书的律师和公证员,终身禁止从事法律职业,构成犯罪的要依法追究刑事责任。

坚决破除各种潜规则,绝不允许法外开恩,绝不允许办关系案、人情案、金钱案。坚决反对和克服特权思想、衙门作风、霸道作风,坚决反对和惩治粗暴执法、野蛮执法行为。对司法领域的腐败零容忍,坚决清除害群之马。

五、增强全民法治观念,推进法治社会建设

法律的权威源自人民的内心拥护和真诚信仰。人民权益要靠法律保障,法律权威要靠人民维护。必须弘扬社会主义法治精神,建设社会主义法治文化,增强全社会厉行法治的积极性和主动性,形成守法光荣、违法可耻的社会氛围,使全体人民都成为社会主义法治的忠实崇尚者、自觉遵守者、坚定捍卫者。

(一)推动全社会树立法治意识。坚持把全民普法和守法作为依法治国的长期基础性工作,深入开展法治宣传教育,引导全民自觉守法、遇事找法、解决问题靠法。坚持把领导干部带头学法、模范守法作为树立法治意识的关键,完善国家工作人员学法用法制度,把宪法法律列入党委(党组)中心组学习内容,列为党校、行政学院、干部学院、社会主义学院必修课。把法治教育纳入国民教育体系,从青少年抓起,在中小学设立法治知识课程。

健全普法宣传教育机制,各级党委和政府要加强对普法工作的领导,宣传、文化、教育部门和人民团体要在普法教育中发挥职能作用。实行国家机关“谁执法谁普法”的普法责任制,建立法官、检察官、行政执法人员、律师等以案释法制度,加强普法讲师团、普法志愿者队伍建设。把法治教育纳入精神文明创建内容,开展群众性法治文化活动,健全媒体公益普法制度,加强新媒体新技术在普法中的运用,提高普法实效。

牢固树立有权力就有责任、有权利就有义务观念。加强社会诚信建设,健全公民和组织守法信用记录,完善守法诚信褒奖机制和违法失信行为惩戒机制,使尊法守法成为全体人民共同追求和自觉行动。

加强公民道德建设,弘扬中华优秀传统文化,增强法治的道德底蕴,强化规则意识,倡导契约精神,弘扬公序良俗。发挥法治在解决道德领域突出问题中的作用,引导人们自觉履行法定义务、社会责任、家庭责任。

(二)推进多层次多领域依法治理。坚持系统治理、依法治理、综合治理、源头治理,提高社会治理法治化水平。深入开展多层次多形式法治创建活动,深化基层组织和部门、行业依法治理,支持各类社会主体自我约束、自我管理。发挥市民公约、乡规民约、行业规章、团体章程等社会规范在社会治理中的积极作用。

发挥人民团体和社会组织在法治社会建设中的积极作用。建立健全社会组织参与社会事务、维护公共利益、救助困难群众、帮教特殊人群、预防违法犯罪的机制和制度化渠道。支持行业协会商会类社会组织发挥行业自律和专业服务功能。发挥社会组织对其成员的行为导引、规则约束、权益维护作用。加强在华境外非政府组织管理,引导和监督其依法开展活动。

高举民族大团结旗帜,依法妥善处置涉及民族、宗教等因素的社会问题,促进民族关系、宗教关系和谐。

(三)建设完备的法律服务体系。推进覆盖城乡居民的公共法律服务体系建设,加强民生领域法律服务。完善法律援助制度,扩大援助范围,健全司法救助体系,保证人民群众在遇到法律问题或者权利受到侵害时获得及时有效法律帮助。

发展律师、公证等法律服务业,统筹城乡、区域法律服务资源,发展涉外法律服务业。健全统一司法鉴定管理体制。

(四)健全依法维权和化解纠纷机制。强化法律在维护群众权益、化解社会矛盾中的权威地位,引导和支持人们理性表达诉求、依法维护权益,解决好群众最关心最直接最现实的利益问题。

构建对维护群众利益具有重大作用的制度体系,建立健全社会矛盾预警机制、利益表达机制、协商沟通机制、救济救助机制,畅通群众利益协调、权益保障法律渠道。把信访纳入法治化轨道,保障合理合法诉求依照法律规定和程序就能得到合理合法的结果。

健全社会矛盾纠纷预防化解机制,完善调解、仲裁、行政裁决、行政复议、诉讼等有机衔接、相互协调的多元化纠纷解决机制。加强行业性、专业性人民调解组织建设,完善人民调解、行政调解、司法调解联动工作体系。完善仲裁制度,提高仲裁公信力。健全行政裁决制度,强化行政机关解决同行政管理活动密切相关的民事纠纷功能。

深入推进社会治安综合治理,健全落实领导责任制。完善立体化社会治安防控体系,有效防范化解管控影响社会安定的问题,保障人民生命财产安全。依法严厉打击暴力恐怖、涉黑犯罪、邪教和黄赌毒等违法犯罪活动,绝不允许其形成气候。依法强化危害食品药品安全、影响安全生产、损害生态环境、破坏网络安全等重点问题治理。

六、加强法治工作队伍建设

全面推进依法治国,必须大力提高法治工作队伍思想政治素质、业务工作能力、职业道德水准,着力建设一支忠于党、忠于国家、忠于人民、忠于法律的社会主义法治工作队伍,为加快建设社会主义法治国家提供强有力的组织和人才保障。

(一)建设高素质法治专门队伍。把思想政治建设摆在首位,加强理想信念教育,深入开展社会主义核心价值观和社会主义法治理念教育,坚持党的事业、人民利益、宪法法律至上,加强立法队伍、行政执法队伍、司法队伍建设。抓住立法、执法、司法机关各级领导班子建设这个关键,突出政治标准,把善于运用法治思维和法治方式推动工作的人选拔到领导岗位上来。畅通立法、执法、司法部门干部和人才相互之间以及与其他部门具备条件的干部和人才交流渠道。

推进法治专门队伍正规化、专业化、职业化,提高职业素养和专业水平。完善法律职业准入制度,健全国家统一法律职业资格考试制度,建立法律职业人员统一职前培训制度。建立从符合条件的律师、法学专家中招录立法工作者、法官、检察官制度,畅通具备条件的军队转业干部进入法治专门队伍的通道,健全从政法专业毕业生中招录人才的规范便捷机制。加强边疆地区、民族地区法治专门队伍建设。加快建立符合职业特点的法治工作人员管理制度,完善职业保障体系,建立法官、检察官、人民警察专业职务序列及工资制度。

建立法官、检察官逐级遴选制度。初任法官、检察官由高级人民法院、省级人民检察院统一招录,一律在基层法院、检察院任职。上级人民法院、人民检察院的法官、检察官一般从下一级人民法院、人民检察院的优秀法官、检察官中遴选。

(二)加强法律服务队伍建设。加强律师队伍思想政治建设,把拥护中国共产党领导、拥护社会主义法治作为律师从业的基本要求,增强广大律师走中国特色社会主义法治道路的自觉性和坚定性。构建社会律师、公职律师、公司律师等优势互补、结构合理的律师队伍。提高律师队伍业务素质,完善执业保障机制。加强律师事务所管理,发挥律师协会自律作用,规范律师执业行为,监督律师严格遵守职业道德和职业操守,强化准入、退出管理,严格执行违法违规执业惩戒制度。加强律师行业党的建设,扩大党的工作覆盖面,切实发挥律师事务所党组织的政治核心作用。

各级党政机关和人民团体普遍设立公职律师,企业可设立公司律师,参与决策论证,提供法律意见,促进依法办事,防范法律风险。明确公职律师、公司律师法律地位及权利义务,理顺公职律师、公司律师管理体制机制。

发展公证员、基层法律服务工作者、人民调解员队伍。推动法律服务志愿者队伍建设。建立激励法律服务人才跨区域流动机制,逐步解决基层和欠发达地区法律服务资源不足和高端人才匮乏问题。

(三)创新法治人才培养机制。坚持用马克思主义法学思想和中国特色社会主义法治理论全方位占领高校、科研机构法学教育和法学研究阵地,加强法学基础理论研究,形成完善的中国特色社会主义法学理论体系、学科体系、课程体系,组织编写和全面采用国家统一的法律类专业核心教材,纳入司法考试必考范围。坚持立德树人、德育为先导向,推动中国特色社会主义法治理论进教材进课堂进头脑,培养造就熟悉和坚持中国特色社会主义法治体系的法治人才及后备力量。建设通晓国际法律规则、善于处理涉外法律事务的涉外法治人才队伍。

健全政法部门和法学院校、法学研究机构人员双向交流机制,实施高校和法治工作部门人员互聘计划,重点打造一支政治立场坚定、理论功底深厚、熟悉中国国情的高水平法学家和专家团队,建设高素质学术带头人、骨干教师、专兼职教师队伍。

七、加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导

党的领导是全面推进依法治国、加快建设社会主义法治国家最根本的保证。必须加强和改进党对法治工作的领导,把党的领导贯彻到全面推进依法治国全过程。

(一)坚持依法执政。依法执政是依法治国的关键。各级党组织和领导干部要深刻认识到,维护宪法法律权威就是维护党和人民共同意志的权威,捍卫宪法法律尊严就是捍卫党和人民共同意志的尊严,保证宪法法律实施就是保证党和人民共同意志的实现。各级领导干部要对法律怀有敬畏之心,牢记法律红线不可逾越、法律底线不可触碰,带头遵守法律,带头依法办事,不得违法行使权力,更不能以言代法、以权压法、徇私枉法。

健全党领导依法治国的制度和工作机制,完善保证党确定依法治国方针政策和决策部署的工作机制和程序。加强对全面推进依法治国统一领导、统一部署、统筹协调。完善党委依法决策机制,发挥政策和法律的各自优势,促进党的政策和国家法律互联互动。党委要定期听取政法机关工作汇报,做促进公正司法、维护法律权威的表率。党政主要负责人要履行推进法治建设第一责任人职责。各级党委要领导和支持工会、共青团、妇联等人民团体和社会组织在依法治国中积极发挥作用。

人大、政府、政协、审判机关、检察机关的党组织和党员干部要坚决贯彻党的理论和路线方针政策,贯彻党委决策部署。各级人大、政府、政协、审判机关、检察机关的党组织要领导和监督本单位模范遵守宪法法律,坚决查处执法犯法、违法用权等行为。

政法委员会是党委领导政法工作的组织形式,必须长期坚持。各级党委政法委员会要把工作着力点放在把握政治方向、协调各方职能、统筹政法工作、建设政法队伍、督促依法履职、创造公正司法环境上,带头依法办事,保障宪法法律正确统一实施。政法机关党组织要建立健全重大事项向党委报告制度。加强政法机关党的建设,在法治建设中充分发挥党组织政治保障作用和党员先锋模范作用。

(二)加强党内法规制度建设。党内法规既是管党治党的重要依据,也是建设社会主义法治国家的有力保障。党章是最根本的党内法规,全党必须一体严格遵行。完善党内法规制定体制机制,加大党内法规备案审查和解释力度,形成配套完备的党内法规制度体系。注重党内法规同国家法律的衔接和协调,提高党内法规执行力,运用党内法规把党要管党、从严治党落到实处,促进党员、干部带头遵守国家法律法规。

党的纪律是党内规矩。党规党纪严于国家法律,党的各级组织和广大党员干部不仅要模范遵守国家法律,而且要按照党规党纪以更高标准严格要求自己,坚定理想信念,践行党的宗旨,坚决同违法乱纪行为作斗争。对违反党规党纪的行为必须严肃处理,对苗头性倾向性问题必须抓早抓小,防止小错酿成大错、违纪走向违法。

依纪依法反对和克服形式主义、官僚主义、享乐主义和奢靡之风,形成严密的长效机制。完善和严格执行领导干部政治、工作、生活待遇方面各项制度规定,着力整治各种特权行为。深入开展党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争,严格落实党风廉政建设党委主体责任和纪委监督责任,对任何腐败行为和腐败分子,必须依纪依法予以坚决惩处,决不手软。

(三)提高党员干部法治思维和依法办事能力。党员干部是全面推进依法治国的重要组织者、推动者、实践者,要自觉提高运用法治思维和法治方式深化改革、推动发展、化解矛盾、维护稳定能力,高级干部尤其要以身作则、以上率下。把法治建设成效作为衡量各级领导班子和领导干部工作实绩重要内容,纳入政绩考核指标体系。把能不能遵守法律、依法办事作为考察干部重要内容,在相同条件下,优先提拔使用法治素养好、依法办事能力强的干部。对特权思想严重、法治观念淡薄的干部要批评教育,不改正的要调离领导岗位。

(四)推进基层治理法治化。全面推进依法治国,基础在基层,工作重点在基层。发挥基层党组织在全面推进依法治国中的战斗堡垒作用,增强基层干部法治观念、法治为民的意识,提高依法办事能力。加强基层法治机构建设,强化基层法治队伍,建立重心下移、力量下沉的法治工作机制,改善基层基础设施和装备条件,推进法治干部下基层活动。

(五)深入推进依法治军从严治军。党对军队绝对领导是依法治军的核心和根本要求。紧紧围绕党在新形势下的强军目标,着眼全面加强军队革命化现代化正规化建设,创新发展依法治军理论和实践,构建完善的中国特色军事法治体系,提高国防和军队建设法治化水平。

坚持在法治轨道上积极稳妥推进国防和军队改革,深化军队领导指挥体制、力量结构、政策制度等方面改革,加快完善和发展中国特色社会主义军事制度。

健全适应现代军队建设和作战要求的军事法规制度体系,严格规范军事法规制度的制定权限和程序,将所有军事规范性文件纳入审查范围,完善审查制度,增强军事法规制度科学性、针对性、适用性。

坚持从严治军铁律,加大军事法规执行力度,明确执法责任,完善执法制度,健全执法监督机制,严格责任追究,推动依法治军落到实处。

健全军事法制工作体制,建立完善领导机关法制工作机构。改革军事司法体制机制,完善统一领导的军事审判、检察制度,维护国防利益,保障军人合法权益,防范打击违法犯罪。建立军事法律顾问制度,在各级领导机关设立军事法律顾问,完善重大决策和军事行动法律咨询保障制度。改革军队纪检监察体制。

强化官兵法治理念和法治素养,把法律知识学习纳入军队院校教育体系、干部理论学习和部队教育训练体系,列为军队院校学员必修课和部队官兵必学必训内容。完善军事法律人才培养机制。加强军事法治理论研究。

(六)依法保障“一国两制”实践和推进祖国统一。坚持宪法的最高法律地位和最高法律效力,全面准确贯彻“一国两制”、“港人治港”、“澳人治澳”、高度自治的方针,严格依照宪法和基本法办事,完善与基本法实施相关的制度和机制,依法行使中央权力,依法保障高度自治,支持特别行政区行政长官和政府依法施政,保障内地与香港、澳门经贸关系发展和各领域交流合作,防范和反对外部势力干预港澳事务,保持香港、澳门长期繁荣稳定。

运用法治方式巩固和深化两岸关系和平发展,完善涉台法律法规,依法规范和保障两岸人民关系、推进两岸交流合作。运用法律手段捍卫一个中国原则、反对“台独”,增进维护一个中国框架的共同认知,推进祖国和平统一。

依法保护港澳同胞、台湾同胞权益。加强内地同香港和澳门、大陆同台湾的执法司法协作,共同打击跨境违法犯罪活动。

(七)加强涉外法律工作。适应对外开放不断深化,完善涉外法律法规体系,促进构建开放型经济新体制。积极参与国际规则制定,推动依法处理涉外经济、社会事务,增强我国在国际法律事务中的话语权和影响力,运用法律手段维护我国主权、安全、发展利益。强化涉外法律服务,维护我国公民、法人在海外及外国公民、法人在我国的正当权益,依法维护海外侨胞权益。深化司法领域国际合作,完善我国司法协助体制,扩大国际司法协助覆盖面。加强反腐败国际合作,加大海外追赃追逃、遣返引渡力度。积极参与执法安全国际合作,共同打击暴力恐怖势力、民族分裂势力、宗教极端势力和贩毒走私、跨国有组织犯罪。

各级党委要全面准确贯彻本决定精神,健全党委统一领导和各方分工负责、齐抓共管的责任落实机制,制定实施方案,确保各项部署落到实处。

全党同志和全国各族人民要紧密团结在以习近平同志为总书记的党中央周围,高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,积极投身全面推进依法治国伟大实践,开拓进取,扎实工作,为建设法治中国而奋斗!(完)

 

Official Central Committee Communiqué on 4th Plenum

Translation complete

Communiqué of the 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

(Passed at the 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on 23 October 2014)

The 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was convened in Beijing between 20 and 23 October 2014.

199 Central Committee members and 164 alternate Central Committee members attended this Plenum. The Central Discipline Inspection Committee Standing Committee members and responsible comrades from relevant departments attended the meeting as non-voting delegates, a number of grass-roots comrades from among the representatives at the 18th Party Congress and expert scholars also attended the meeting as non-voting delegates.

The Plenum was chaired by the Politburo. The Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping made an important speech.

The Plenum listened to and discussed the Work Report that Xi Jinping presented on behalf of the Politburo, and deliberated and passed the “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Ruling the Country According to the Law Forward”. Xi Jinping provided explanation concerning the “Decision (Discussion Draft) to the Plenum.

The Plenum fully affirmed the work of the Politburo since the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress. It unanimously believed that since the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, the international circumstances have been complex, and domestic reform and development tasks have been extremely burdensome, the Politburo has comprehensively implemented the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Plenums of the 18th Party Congress, held high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, taken Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents Thought” and the scientific development view as guidance, deeply implemented the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, united and led the entire Party, the entire Army and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country, comprehensively dealt with both the domestic and international general situation, firmly grasped the fundamental basis of seeking progress through stability, maintained the strategic direction, has promoted work in all areas through the comprehensive deepening of reform, has paid attention to the ideological and institutional planning of strategic, general and long-term questions concerning reform, development and stability, internal politics, foreign affairs and national defence, governing the Party, governing the country and governing the Army. The Politburo has adapted to a new normal in economic development, innovated macro-level regulation thinking and methods, vigorously disintegrated difficulties in economic and social development, striven to protect and improve the people’s livelihoods, basically completed the Mass Line Education and Practice Movement, unwaveringly opposed corruption, effectively responded to various kinds of risks and challenges, it has gained new achievements in all areas of work, and a new dimension has been opened up for the development of the Party and the country’s undertakings.

The Plenum highly praised the historical achievements that have been made in the construction of our country’s Socialist rule of law over a long time, and especially since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, it considered major questions on comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and held that in order to comprehensively construct a moderately prosperous society and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, to comprehensively deepen reform, perfect and develop the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and raise the Party’s governing capacity and administration levels, ruling the country according to the law must be comprehensively moved forward.

The Plenum pointed out that in the face of new trends and new tasks, for our Party to even better deal with both domestic and international general situations comprehensively, even better protect and use the important strategic opportunities for our country’s development, even better comprehensively deal with social forces, balance social interests, moderate social relationships and standardize social acts, ensure that our country’s society is both full of vitality and properly ordered during its profound transformation, realize economic development, political tranquillity, cultural glory, social justice, and ecological wellness, realize the strategic objective of our country’s peaceful development, it must even better give rein to the guiding and driving role of the rule of law.

The Plenum stressed that to comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, we must implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important ‘Three Represents” thought and the scientific development view as guidance, deeply implement the spirit of the series of important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping, persist in the organic unity of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and ruling the country according to the law, unwaveringly persist in marching the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, firmly uphold the authority of the Constitution and the law, safeguard the people’s rights and interests according to the law, safeguard social justice and fairness, and safeguard national security and stability, and provide powerful guarantees for the realization of the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The Plenum pointed out that the objectives of comprehensively moving the rule of law forward, are building a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, and shaping a perfect system of legal norms, a highly effective system for the implementation of the rule of law, a strict system for the supervision of the rule of law, and a powerful system of guarantees of rule of law, shaping perfect intra-Party rule systems, persisting in moving forward ruling the country according to the law, governing according to the law and administering according to the law together, persisting in the united construction of a rule of law country, a rule of law government and a rule of law society, realizing scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, judicial fairness and respect for the law among all of the people, and stimulating the modernization of the national governing system and governing capacity. To realize these general objectives, we must persist in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, persist in the dominant position of the people, persist in the equality of every person in the eyes of the law, persist in the integration of ruling the country according to the law and ruling the country according to virtue, and persisting in starting from the Chinese reality.

The Plenum stressed that the leadership of the Party is the most essential characteristic of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the most fundamental guarantee for Socialist rule of law. Implementing Party leadership in the entire process and all aspects of ruling the country according to the law is a fundamental experience of our country’s Socialist rule of law construction. Our country’s Constitution has established the leading position of the Chinese Communist Party. Persisting in the leadership of the party is a fundamental requirement for Socialist rule of law, it is where the foundation and the lifeline of the Party and the country lie, the interests and happiness of the people of all ethnicities in the entire country are tied to it, and it is a proper element of moving ruling the country according to the law forward. The leadership of the Party and Socialist rule of law are identical, Socialist rule of law must persist in the leadership of the Party, the leadership of the Party must rely on Socialist rule of law. Only if the country is ruled according to the law, and the rule of law is rigorously enforced under the leadership, will it be possible to fully realize that the people are the masters of their own affairs, and will it be possible to orderly move the legalization of the country and social life forward. Governing according to the law requires that the Party governs the country and runs the administration according to the Constitution and the law, it also requires that the Party manages the Party and rules the Party on the basis of intra-Party rules and regulations.

The Plenum made clear the major tasks to comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, which are: perfecting a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics with the Constitution at the core, and strengthening the implementation of the Constitution; deeply moving administration according to the law forward and accelerating the construction of a rule of law government; guaranteeing judicial fairness and raising judicial credibility; strengthening the entire people’s sense of the rule of law and moving the construction of a rule of law society forward; strengthening the construction of rule of law work teams; and strengthening and improving Party leadership over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward.

The Plenum pointed out that the law is an important tool for governing the country, and benevolent laws are a prerequisite for good governance. To construct a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, we must persist in giving precedence to legislation, give rein to the guiding and driving role of legislation, and grasp the crux of raising legislative quality. We must scrupulously abide by the ideas of putting people first and legislating for the sake of the people, implement the Socialist core value system, ensure that every piece of legislation conforms to the spirit of the Constitution, reflects the will of the people and wins the endorsement of the people. We must let the principles of fairness, justice and openness penetrate into the entire process of legislation, perfect legislative structures and mechanisms, persist in simultaneously engaging in legislation, reform, abolition and interpretation, strengthen the timeliness, systemic nature, focus and effectiveness of laws and regulations. To persist in ruling the country according to the law, we must first of all persist in ruling the country according to the Constitution, to persist in governing according to the law, we must first persist in governing according to the Constitution. Complete constitutional implementation and supervision systems, perfect constitutional supervision structures of the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, and complete procedures and mechanisms for the interpretation of the Constitution. Perfect legislative systems, strengthen Party leadership over legislative work, perfect processes for Party policy-making concerning major questions in legislative work, complete legislative work structures and mechanisms with People’s Congresses that have legislative powers in the lead, endow cities divided into districts with local legislative powers according to the law. Deeply move scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, perfect systems to collect and elucidate legislative projects, complete legislative channels and mechanisms with legislative bodies in the lead, and orderly participation from all walks of society, and broaden legislative channels with orderly participation by citizens. Strengthen legislation in focus areas, accelerate the perfection of legal structures reflecting fair rights, fair opportunities and fair rules, guarantee that citizens’ personal rights, property rights, basic political rights and all other rights are not infringed, guarantee that citizens’ economic, cultural, social and all other rights are implemented. Realize a linkage between legislation and reform policy making, ensure that major reforms have a legal basis, and that legislation actively is adapted to the needs of reform and economic and social development.

The Plenum pointed out that the life force of the law lies in its implementation, and the authority of the law lies in its implementation. All levels’ governments must persist in carrying out their work under the leadership of the Party, along the tracks of rule of law, and accelerate the construction of a rule of law government with scientific duties, statutory powers, strict law enforcement, which is open and fair, clean and effective, law-abiding and honest. Comprehensively carry out the functions of government according to the law, move the legalization of bodies, duties, powers, procedures and responsibilities forward, implement a system of listed government powers. Complete mechanisms for policy making according to the law, determine citizen participation, expert argumentation, risk assessment, legality review and collective discussion as major statutory procedures for major administrative policy making, establish legality review mechanisms for major policy decisions within administrative bodies, establish life-long responsibility investigation systems and responsibility tracing mechanisms for major policy decisions. Deepen reform of the administrative law enforcement system, complete linkage mechanisms between administrative law enforcement and the criminal judiciary. Persist in strict, standard, fair and civilized law enforcement, punish all kinds of unlawful activities according to the law, expand law enforcement strength in focus areas that relate to the masses’ direct interests, establish and complete standard criterion systems for discretionary administrative powers, completely implement administrative law enforcement responsibility systems. Strengthen restraint of and supervision over administrative powers, perfect mechanisms for the rectification of mistakes and for accountability. Comprehensively move government affairs openness forward, persist in the principle that openness is normal, and non-openness the exception, move open policy making, open implementation, open management, open service and open results forward.

The Plenum pointed out that fairness is the lifeline of the rule of law. Judicial fairness has a guiding role for social justice, and judicial unfairness has a mortally destructive impact on social justice. We must perfect judicial management systems and mechanism for the application of judicial powers, standardize judicial activities, strengthen supervision over judicial acts, strive to let the popular masses feel justice in every court case. Perfect systems to guarantee the exercise of judicial and prosecutorial powers according to the law, establish recording, reporting and responsibility investigation systems for leading cadres’ interference with judicial activities and involving themselves with the handling of concrete cases, establish and complete protection mechanisms for judicial personnel carrying out their statutory duties. Optimize the allocation of judicial powers, promote the implementation of structural reform trials where judicial powers and enforcement powers are separated, the Supreme People’s Court will establish circuit courts, the establishment of People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates operating across administrative areas will be explored, and the establishment of pro bono litigation systems raised by prosecutorial bodies will be explored. Move judicial strictness forward, persist in taking facts as the basis and taking the law as the criterion, move forward reform of litigation systems with trials at the centre, implement a life-long responsibility system for case handling quality and a responsibility tracing system for judicial miscarriages. Guarantee that the popular masses participate in the judiciary, guarantee participation of the popular masses in judicial mediation, judicial hearings, trial-related petitioning and other such judicial activities, perfect the people’s assessor system, and build open, dynamic, transparent and people-oriented sunlight judiciary mechanisms. Strengthen, judicial guarantees for human rights. Strengthen supervision over judicial activities, perfect legal systems for prosecutorial bodies to exercise supervisory powers, strengthen legal supervision over criminal litigation, civil litigation and administrative litigation, perfect the people’s supervisor system, it is absolutely not permitted to bestow favours outside of the law, it is absolutely not permitted to handle cases for guanxi, personal emotions or money.

The authority of the law springs from its endorsement in the people’s hearts, and their sincere belief. The people’s rights and interests must rely on legal guarantees; the authority of the law must rely on the support of the people. We must carry forward the spirit of Socialist rule of law, establish a Socialist rule of law culture, strengthen the vigour and initiative within the entire society to rigorously practice the rule of law, create a social atmosphere in which abiding by the law is glorious and violating the law is disgraceful, and ensure that the whole body of the people become faithful worshippers, conscious observers and firm defenders of Socialist rule of law. Promote the establishment of a rule of law consciousness in the entire society, deeply launch rule of law propaganda and education, and bring rule of law education into the national education system and the content of the spiritual civilization construction. Move forward with governance according to the law at multiple levels and in multiple areas, persist in systematic governance, governance according to the law, integrated governance and leading governance, deepen governance according to the law in grass roots organizations, departments and sectors, support self-restraint and self-management by all kinds of social subjects, give rein to the positive role of urban resident conventions, villagers’ conventions, sectoral rules, organizational constitutions and other such social norms in social governance. Build perfect legal service systems, move forward with the construction of a public legal service system covering the urban and rural population, perfect legal assistance systems, complete systems for judicial relief. Complete mechanisms for upholding rights and resolving disputes according to the law, build and complete early warning mechanisms for social contradictions, mechanisms to express interests, mechanisms for consultation and communication, mechanisms for relief and aid, unblock legal channels for the coordination of the masses’ interests and protecting their rights. Perfect three-dimensional public order protection systems, guarantee that people’s lives and property are safe.

The Plenum pointed out that, to comprehensively move ruling the country according to the law forward, we must forcefully raise the ideological and political quality, professional work ability and professional ethics levels of rule of law work teams, strive to construct a line of Socialist rule of law work teams who are loyal to the Party, loyal to the country, loyal to the people, and loyal to the law. Build high-quality rule of law specialist teams, put ideological and political construction first, strengthen the construction of legislative teams, administrative law enforcement teams and judicial teams, unblock circulation channels between judicial, law enforcement and judicial departments cadres and talents, and towards cadres and talents meeting conditions in other departments, move the regularization, specialization and professionalization of rule of law specialist teams forward, perfect legal professional access systems, establish mechanism to recruit legislative workers, judges and prosecutors from amongst lawyers and legal experts meeting conditions, complete standardized and convenient mechanisms to recruit talent from among graduates specialized in politics and law, and perfect professional protection systems. Strengthen the construction of legal service teams, strengthen the consciousness and resolve of the broad lawyers to march the path of Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, build lawyer teams where social lawyers, public service lawyers, corporate lawyers, etc., mutually supplement each other, which are rationally structured. Innovate rule of law talent fostering mechanisms, shape perfect Socialist legal theory systems, science systems and teaching systems with Chinese characteristics, promote that Socialist rule of law theory with Chinese characteristics enters textbooks, enters classrooms and enters minds, foster and bring up rule of law talents and reserve forces who are familiar with and persist in Socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.

The Plenum stressed that the leadership of the Party is the most fundamental guarantee for moving ruling the country according to the law forward and accelerating the construction of a Socialist rule of law country. We must strengthen and improve Party leadership over rule of law work, and ensure that Party leadership penetrates into the entire process of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward. To persist in governing according to the law, all levels’ leading cadres must take the lead in abiding by the law, and take the lead in conducting affairs according to the law, they ay not violate the law in the exercise of their powers, and may certainly not let their word replace the law, use their power to suppress the law, or bend the law for relatives and friends. Complete structures and work mechanisms for Party leadership over ruling the country according to the law, perfect work mechanisms and procedures to guarantee that the Party determines principles, policies and decisions concerning ruling the country according to the law, strengthen united leadership, united deployment and comprehensive coordination concerning comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, perfect Party Committee mechanism for policy making according to the law. Party organizations in all levels’ People’s Congresses, governments, consultative conferences, judicial organs and prosecutorial organs must lead and supervise their work unit in becoming models of abiding by the Constitution and the law, persist in examination and prosecution of legal violations in law enforcement, unlawful use of powers and other such activities. Strengthen the construction of intra-Party regulatory systems, perfect systems and mechanisms for the formulation of intra-Party regulations, shape complementary and perfect intra-Party regulatory structures and mechanisms, use intra-Party regulations to substantially implement the points that the Party must manage the Party, and the Party must be governed strictly, stimulate Party members and cadres to take the lead in abiding by national laws and regulations. Raise Party members’ and cadres’ rule of law thinking and their ability to conduct affairs according to the law, make rule of law construction achievements into an important content to measure the professional achievements of all levels’ leadership ranks and leading cadres, and bring them into career achievement assessment indicator systems, make the ability to abide by the law and conduct affairs according to the law into an important content to evaluate cadres. Move the legalization of grass roots governance forward, give rein to the fighting fortress role of grass roots Party organizations in comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, establish rule of law work mechanisms where the centre of gravity is moved downwards and forces are devolved downwards. Deeply move ruling the Army according to the law forward, rule the Army strictly, closely revolve around the objective of a strong Army for the Party under new circumstances, build a perfect military rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, raise the legalization levels of national defence and military construction. Guarantee the practice of “one country, two systems” according to the law and move the unity of the motherland forward, maintain long-term flourishing and stability in Hong Kong and Macau, move peace and unity in the motherland forward, protect the rights and interests of Hong Kong and Macau compatriots, and Taiwan compatriots, according to the law. Strengthen foreign-related law work, use legal methods to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, safeguard the proper rights and interests of our country’s citizens and legal persons abroad, and foreign citizens and legal persons in our country.

The Plenum analysed the present circumstances and tasks, it stressed that the comrades in the entire Party must unite their thoughts and actions round the Centre’s major policy deployments concerning comprehensively deepening reform and comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, study and weigh situations, be vigilant in peace time, they must have a strategic orientation of grasping and using a period of important strategic opportunities to move reform and development forward, and must acutely grasp the changes in the domestic and foreign environment, continue their to protect sustained and healthy economic development well, with a spirit as sharp as a nail, continue to do their work to improve and guarantee the people’s livelihoods – and especially people in difficulties needing specific help – well, continue their work to rectify work styles well, continue to do their work to strictly rule the Party well, continue to do their work to protect social harmony and stability well, and lay a firm foundation for new beginnings over the next year.

According to the provisions of the Party Constitution, the Plenum decided to appoint Central Committee alternate members Ma Jiantang, Wang Zuo’an and Mao Wanchun as Central Committee members.

The Plenum deliberated and passed the examination report of the Central Discipline Inspection Committee concerning the grave disciplinary problems of Li Dongsheng, Jiang Jiemin, Wang Yongchun, Li Chuncheng and Wan Qingliang, it deliberated and passed the Central Military Commission Discipline Inspection Committee concerning the grave disciplinary problems of Yang Jinshan, and affirmed the disciplinary discharge from Part membership of Li Dongsheng, Jiang Jiemin, Wang Yongchun, Li Chuncheng and Wan Qingliang imposed previously by the Politburo.

The Plenum called upon the comrades in the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire Party to closely unite around the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, raise high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, vigorously throw themselves into the magnificent practice of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, forge ahead and pioneer, work strongly, and struggle for the construction of a rule of law China!

中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议公报
(2014年10月23日中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议通过)
中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议,于2014年10月20日至23日在北京举行。
出席这次全会的有,中央委员199人,候补中央委员164人。中央纪律检查委员会常务委员会委员和有关方面负责同志列席了会议。党的十八大代表中部分基层同志和专家学者也列席了会议。

全会由中央政治局主持。中央委员会总书记习近平作了重要讲话。
全会听取和讨论了习近平受中央政治局委托作的工作报告,审议通过了《中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定》。习近平就《决定(讨论稿)》向全会作了说明。
全会充分肯定党的十八届三中全会以来中央政治局的工作。一致认为,党的十八届三中全会以来,国际形势错综复杂,国内改革发展任务极为繁重,中央政治局全面贯彻党的十八大和十八届一中、二中、三中全会精神,高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,以邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观为指导,深入贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神,团结带领全党全军全国各族人民,统筹国内国际两个大局,牢牢把握稳中求进工作总基调,保持战略定力,以全面深化改革推动各项工作,注重从思想上、制度上谋划涉及改革发展稳定、内政外交国防、治党治国治军的战略性、全局性、长远性问题。中央政治局适应经济发展新常态,创新宏观调控思路和方式,积极破解经济社会发展难题,着力保障和改善民生,基本完成党的群众路线教育实践活动,坚定不移反对腐败,有效应对各种风险挑战,各方面工作取得新成效,党和国家事业发展打开新局面。
全会高度评价长期以来特别是党的十一届三中全会以来我国社会主义法治建设取得的历史性成就,研究了全面推进依法治国若干重大问题,认为全面建成小康社会、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,全面深化改革、完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度,提高党的执政能力和执政水平,必须全面推进依法治国。
全会提出,面对新形势新任务,我们党要更好统筹国内国际两个大局,更好维护和运用我国发展的重要战略机遇期,更好统筹社会力量、平衡社会利益、调节社会关系、规范社会行为,使我国社会在深刻变革中既生机勃勃又井然有序,实现经济发展、政治清明、文化昌盛、社会公正、生态良好,实现我国和平发展的战略目标,必须更好发挥法治的引领和规范作用。
全会强调,全面推进依法治国,必须贯彻落实党的十八大和十八届三中全会精神,高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,以马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想、邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观为指导,深入贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神,坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一,坚定不移走中国特色社会主义法治道路,坚决维护宪法法律权威,依法维护人民权益、维护社会公平正义、维护国家安全稳定,为实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦提供有力法治保障。
全会提出,全面推进依法治国,总目标是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家。这就是,在中国共产党领导下,坚持中国特色社会主义制度,贯彻中国特色社会主义法治理论,形成完备的法律规范体系、高效的法治实施体系、严密的法治监督体系、有力的法治保障体系,形成完善的党内法规体系,坚持依法治国、依法执政、依法行政共同推进,坚持法治国家、法治政府、法治社会一体建设,实现科学立法、严格执法、公正司法、全民守法,促进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化。实现这个总目标,必须坚持中国共产党的领导,坚持人民主体地位,坚持法律面前人人平等,坚持依法治国和以德治国相结合,坚持从中国实际出发。
全会强调,党的领导是中国特色社会主义最本质的特征,是社会主义法治最根本的保证。把党的领导贯彻到依法治国全过程和各方面,是我国社会主义法治建设的一条基本经验。我国宪法确立了中国共产党的领导地位。坚持党的领导,是社会主义法治的根本要求,是党和国家的根本所在、命脉所在,是全国各族人民的利益所系、幸福所系,是全面推进依法治国的题中应有之义。党的领导和社会主义法治是一致的,社会主义法治必须坚持党的领导,党的领导必须依靠社会主义法治。只有在党的领导下依法治国、厉行法治,人民当家作主才能充分实现,国家和社会生活法治化才能有序推进。依法执政,既要求党依据宪法法律治国理政,也要求党依据党内法规管党治党。
全会明确了全面推进依法治国的重大任务,这就是:完善以宪法为核心的中国特色社会主义法律体系,加强宪法实施;深入推进依法行政,加快建设法治政府;保证公正司法,提高司法公信力;增强全民法治观念,推进法治社会建设;加强法治工作队伍建设;加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导。

全会提出,法律是治国之重器,良法是善治之前提。建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,必须坚持立法先行,发挥立法的引领和推动作用,抓住提高立法质量这个关键。要恪守以民为本、立法为民理念,贯彻社会主义核心价值观,使每一项立法都符合宪法精神、反映人民意志、得到人民拥护。要把公正、公平、公开原则贯穿立法全过程,完善立法体制机制,坚持立改废释并举,增强法律法规的及时性、系统性、针对性、有效性。坚持依法治国首先要坚持依宪治国,坚持依法执政首先要坚持依宪执政。健全宪法实施和监督制度,完善全国人大及其常委会宪法监督制度,健全宪法解释程序机制。完善立法体制,加强党对立法工作的领导,完善党对立法工作中重大问题决策的程序,健全有立法权的人大主导立法工作的体制机制,依法赋予设区的市地方立法权。深入推进科学立法、民主立法,完善立法项目征集和论证制度,健全立法机关主导、社会各方有序参与立法的途径和方式,拓宽公民有序参与立法途径。加强重点领域立法,加快完善体现权利公平、机会公平、规则公平的法律制度,保障公民人身权、财产权、基本政治权利等各项权利不受侵犯,保障公民经济、文化、社会等各方面权利得到落实。实现立法和改革决策相衔接,做到重大改革于法有据、立法主动适应改革和经济社会发展需要。
全会提出,法律的生命力在于实施,法律的权威也在于实施。各级政府必须坚持在党的领导下、在法治轨道上开展工作,加快建设职能科学、权责法定、执法严明、公开公正、廉洁高效、守法诚信的法治政府。依法全面履行政府职能,推进机构、职能、权限、程序、责任法定化,推行政府权力清单制度。健全依法决策机制,把公众参与、专家论证、风险评估、合法性审查、集体讨论决定确定为重大行政决策法定程序,建立行政机关内部重大决策合法性审查机制,建立重大决策终身责任追究制度及责任倒查机制。深化行政执法体制改革,健全行政执法和刑事司法衔接机制。坚持严格规范公正文明执法,依法惩处各类违法行为,加大关系群众切身利益的重点领域执法力度,建立健全行政裁量权基准制度,全面落实行政执法责任制。强化对行政权力的制约和监督,完善纠错问责机制。全面推进政务公开,坚持以公开为常态、不公开为例外原则,推进决策公开、执行公开、管理公开、服务公开、结果公开。
全会提出,公正是法治的生命线。司法公正对社会公正具有重要引领作用,司法不公对社会公正具有致命破坏作用。必须完善司法管理体制和司法权力运行机制,规范司法行为,加强对司法活动的监督,努力让人民群众在每一个司法案件中感受到公平正义。完善确保依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权的制度,建立领导干部干预司法活动、插手具体案件处理的记录、通报和责任追究制度,建立健全司法人员履行法定职责保护机制。优化司法职权配置,推动实行审判权和执行权相分离的体制改革试点,最高人民法院设立巡回法庭,探索设立跨行政区划的人民法院和人民检察院,探索建立检察机关提起公益诉讼制度。推进严格司法,坚持以事实为根据、以法律为准绳,推进以审判为中心的诉讼制度改革,实行办案质量终身负责制和错案责任倒查问责制。保障人民群众参与司法,在司法调解、司法听证、涉诉信访等司法活动中保障人民群众参与,完善人民陪审员制度,构建开放、动态、透明、便民的阳光司法机制。加强人权司法保障。加强对司法活动的监督,完善检察机关行使监督权的法律制度,加强对刑事诉讼、民事诉讼、行政诉讼的法律监督,完善人民监督员制度,绝不允许法外开恩,绝不允许办关系案、人情案、金钱案。
全会提出,法律的权威源自人民的内心拥护和真诚信仰。人民权益要靠法律保障,法律权威要靠人民维护。必须弘扬社会主义法治精神,建设社会主义法治文化,增强全社会厉行法治的积极性和主动性,形成守法光荣、违法可耻的社会氛围,使全体人民都成为社会主义法治的忠实崇尚者、自觉遵守者、坚定捍卫者。推动全社会树立法治意识,深入开展法治宣传教育,把法治教育纳入国民教育体系和精神文明创建内容。推进多层次多领域依法治理,坚持系统治理、依法治理、综合治理、源头治理,深化基层组织和部门、行业依法治理,支持各类社会主体自我约束、自我管理,发挥市民公约、乡规民约、行业规章、团体章程等社会规范在社会治理中的积极作用。建设完备的法律服务体系,推进覆盖城乡居民的公共法律服务体系建设,完善法律援助制度,健全司法救助体系。健全依法维权和化解纠纷机制,建立健全社会矛盾预警机制、利益表达机制、协商沟通机制、救济救助机制,畅通群众利益协调、权益保障法律渠道。完善立体化社会治安防控体系,保障人民生命财产安全。
全会提出,全面推进依法治国,必须大力提高法治工作队伍思想政治素质、业务工作能力、职业道德水准,着力建设一支忠于党、忠于国家、忠于人民、忠于法律的社会主义法治工作队伍。建设高素质法治专门队伍,把思想政治建设摆在首位,加强立法队伍、行政执法队伍、司法队伍建设,畅通立法、执法、司法部门干部和人才相互之间以及与其他部门具备条件的干部和人才交流渠道,推进法治专门队伍正规化、专业化、职业化,完善法律职业准入制度,建立从符合条件的律师、法学专家中招录立法工作者、法官、检察官制度,健全从政法专业毕业生中招录人才的规范便捷机制,完善职业保障体系。加强法律服务队伍建设,增强广大律师走中国特色社会主义法治道路的自觉性和坚定性,构建社会律师、公职律师、公司律师等优势互补、结构合理的律师队伍。创新法治人才培养机制,形成完善的中国特色社会主义法学理论体系、学科体系、课程体系,推动中国特色社会主义法治理论进教材进课堂进头脑,培养造就熟悉和坚持中国特色社会主义法治体系的法治人才及后备力量。

全会强调,党的领导是全面推进依法治国、加快建设社会主义法治国家最根本的保证。必须加强和改进党对法治工作的领导,把党的领导贯彻到全面推进依法治国全过程。坚持依法执政,各级领导干部要带头遵守法律,带头依法办事,不得违法行使权力,更不能以言代法、以权压法、徇私枉法。健全党领导依法治国的制度和工作机制,完善保证党确定依法治国方针政策和决策部署的工作机制和程序,加强对全面推进依法治国统一领导、统一部署、统筹协调,完善党委依法决策机制。各级人大、政府、政协、审判机关、检察机关的党组织要领导和监督本单位模范遵守宪法法律,坚决查处执法犯法、违法用权等行为。加强党内法规制度建设,完善党内法规制定体制机制,形成配套完备的党内法规制度体系,运用党内法规把党要管党、从严治党落到实处,促进党员、干部带头遵守国家法律法规。提高党员干部法治思维和依法办事能力,把法治建设成效作为衡量各级领导班子和领导干部工作实绩重要内容、纳入政绩考核指标体系,把能不能遵守法律、依法办事作为考察干部重要内容。推进基层治理法治化,发挥基层党组织在全面推进依法治国中的战斗堡垒作用,建立重心下移、力量下沉的法治工作机制。深入推进依法治军、从严治军,紧紧围绕党在新形势下的强军目标,构建完善的中国特色军事法治体系,提高国防和军队建设法治化水平。依法保障“一国两制”实践和推进祖国统一,保持香港、澳门长期繁荣稳定,推进祖国和平统一,依法保护港澳同胞、台湾同胞权益。加强涉外法律工作,运用法律手段维护我国主权、安全、发展利益,维护我国公民、法人在海外及外国公民、法人在我国的正当权益。
全会分析了当前形势和任务,强调全党同志要把思想和行动统一到中央关于全面深化改革、全面推进依法治国重大决策部署上来,审时度势、居安思危,既要有抓住和用好重要战略机遇期推进改革发展的战略定力,又要敏锐把握国内外环境的变化,以钉钉子精神,继续做好保持经济持续健康发展工作,继续做好改善和保障民生特别是帮扶困难群众工作,继续做好作风整改工作,继续做好从严治党工作,继续做好保持社会和谐稳定工作,为明年开局打好基础。
全会按照党章规定,决定递补中央委员会候补委员马建堂、王作安、毛万春为中央委员会委员。
全会审议并通过了中共中央纪律检查委员会关于李东生、蒋洁敏、王永春、李春城、万庆良严重违纪问题的审查报告,审议并通过了中共中央军事委员会纪律检查委员会关于杨金山严重违纪问题的审查报告,确认中央政治局之前作出的给予李东生、蒋洁敏、杨金山、王永春、李春城、万庆良开除党籍的处分。
全会号召,全党同志和全国各族人民紧密团结在以习近平同志为总书记的党中央周围,高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,积极投身全面推进依法治国伟大实践,开拓进取,扎实工作,为建设法治中国而奋斗!

Xinhua Communiqué about the 4th Plenum (translation complete)

The 4th Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was held between 20 and 23 October 2014, in Beijing. The Plenum listened to and discussed the Work Report Xi Jinping presented on behalf of the Politburo, and deliberated and passed the “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions on Moving Ruling the Country According to the Law Forward”.

The 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress decided to appoint the alternate Central Committee members Ma Jiantang, Wang Zuo’an and Mao Wanchun as Central Committee members.

The Plenum deliberated and passed the examination report of the Central Discipline Inspection Committee concerning the grave disciplinary problems of Li Dongsheng, Jiang Jiemin, Wang Yongchun, Li Chuncheng and Wan Qingliang, it deliberated and passed the Central Military Commission Discipline Inspection Committee concerning the grave disciplinary problems of Yang Jinshan, and affirmed the disciplinary discharge from Part membership of Li Dongsheng, Jiang Jiemin, Wang Yongchun, Li Chuncheng and Wan Qingliang imposed previously by the Politburo.

The 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress pointed out that the objectives of comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward are building a Socialist rule of law system with Chinese characteristics, and building a Socialist rule of law country.

The Plenum made the major tasks to completely move ruling the country according to the law forward: perfecting a Socialist legal system with the Constitution at the core, and strengthening the implementation of the Constitution; deeply moving administration according to the law forward; and accelerating the construction of a rule of law government; guaranteeing judicial fairness, and raising the judiciary’s credibility; strengthening the entire people’s sense of the rule of law, and moving the construction of a rule of law society forward; accelerating the construction of rule of law work teams; and strengthening and improving Party leadership over comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward.

The Plenum pointed out that to construct a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, we must persist in the precedence of legislation and giving rein to the guiding and driving role of legislation. Deeply move scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, perfect systems to collect and elucidate legislative matters, complete channels and methods with legislative bodies in the lead and orderly participation from all walks of society, broaden channels for citizens’ orderly participation in legislation.

The Plenum pointed out that, to persist in ruling the country according to the law, we must first persist in ruling the country according to the Constitution, and to persist in administration according to the law, we must first persist in administration according to the Constitution. Complete constitutional implementation and supervision systems, perfect constitutional supervision systems of the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, complete procedural mechanisms for constitutional interpretation.

The Plenum pointed out that [we must] completing mechanisms for policymaking according to the law, determine that citizen participation, expert argumentation, risk assessment, legality review and collective discussion and decision-making are major statutory procedures for administrative policymaking, establish legality review mechanisms for major policy decisions within administrative bodies, and establish lifelong responsibility and punishment mechanisms and responsibility tracing mechanisms for major policy decisions.

The Plenum pointed out that [we must] perfect mechanisms to ensure the independent and fair exercise of judicial powers and prosecutorial powers according to the law, establish record, reporting and responsibility investigation systems for leading cadres’ interference with judicial activities, and involving themselves with the handling of concrete cases, and establish and perfect protection mechanisms for judicial personnel exercising their statutory duties.

The Plenum pointed out that [we must] optimize the allocation of judicial powers, promote the implementation of structural reform trials where judicial powers and enforcement powers are separated, the Supreme People’s Court will establish circuit courts, the establishment of People’s Courts and People’s Procuratorates operating across administrative areas will be explored, and the establishment of pro bono litigation systems raised by prosecutorial bodies will be explored.

The authority of the law springs from its endorsement in the people’s hearts, and their sincere belief. The people’s rights and interests must rely on legal guarantees; the authority of the law must rely on the support of the people. We must carry forward the spirit of Socialist rule of law, establish a Socialist rule of law culture, strengthen the vigour and initiative within the entire society to rigorously practice the rule of law, create a social atmosphere in which abiding by the law is glorious and violating the law is disgraceful, and ensure that the whole body of the people become faithful worshippers, conscious observers and firm defenders of Socialist rule of law.

The Plenum pointed out that [we must] move forward with the normalization, specialization and professionalization of specialist rule of law teams, establish systems to recruit legislative workers, judges and prosecutors from among lawyers and legal experts who meet conditions, complete standardized and convenient mechanisms to recruit talent from among graduates with a political-legal specialization, and perfect professional protection systems.

The Plenum pointed out that [we must] raise Party members’ and cadres’ rule of law thinking and ability to handle affairs according to the law, make the achievements of rule of law building into an important content to measure the work achievements of all levels’ leadership ranks and leading cadres, bring it into the career achievement assessment indicator framework, and make the ability to abide by the law and handle affairs according to the law into an important content of cadre evaluation.

 

 

中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议,于2014年10月20日至23日在北京举行。全会听取和讨论了习近平受中央政治局委托作的工作报告,审议通过了《中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定》。

十八届四中全会按照党章规定,决定递补中央委员会候补委员马建堂、王作安、毛万春为中央委员会委员。

全会审议并通过中共中央纪律检查委员会关于李东生、蒋洁敏、王永春、李春城、万庆良严重违纪问题审查报告,审议并通过中共中央军事委员会纪律检查委员会关于杨金山严重违纪问题审查报告,确认中央政治局之前作出的给予李东生、蒋洁敏、杨金山、王永春、李春城、万庆良开除党籍的处分。

十八届四中全会提出,全面推进依法治国,总目标是建设中国特色社会主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家。

全会明确了全面推进依法治国的重大任务:完善以宪法为核心的中国特色社会主义法律体系,加强宪法实施;深入推进依法行政,加快建设法治政府;保证公正司法,提高司法公信力;增强全民法治观念,推进法治社会建设;加强法治工作队伍建设;加强和改进党对全面推进依法治国的领导。

全会提出,建设中国特色社会主义法制体系,必须坚持立法先行,发挥立法的引领和推动作用。深入推进科学立法、民主立法,完善立法项目征集和论证制度,健全立法机关主导、社会各方有序参与立法的途径和方式,拓宽公民有序参与立法途径。

全会提出,坚持依法治国首先要坚持依宪治国,坚持依法执政首先要坚持依宪执政。健全宪法实施和监督制度,完善全国人大及其常委会宪法监督制度,健全宪法解释程序机制。

全会提出,健全依法决策机制,把公众参与、专家论证、风险评估、合法性审查、集体讨论决定确定为重大行政决策法定程序,建立行政机关内部重大决策合法性审查机制,建立重大决策终身责任追究制度及责任倒查机制。

全会提出,完善确保依法独立公正行使审判权和检察权的制度,建立领导干部干预司法活动、插手具体案件处理的记录、通报和责任追究制度,建立健全司法人员履行法定职责保护机制。

全会提出,优化司法职权配置,推动实行审判权和执行权相分离的体制改革试点,最高人民法院设立巡回法庭,探索设立跨行政区划的人民法院和人民检察院,探索建立检察机关提起公益诉讼制度。

法律的权威源自人民内心拥护和真诚信仰。人民权益要靠法律保障,法律权威要靠人民维护。必须弘扬社会主义法治精神,建设社会主义法治文化,增强全社会厉行法治积极性和主动性,形成守法光荣、违法可耻社会氛围,使全体人民都成为社会主义法治忠实崇尚者、自觉遵守者、坚定捍卫者。

全会提出,推进法治专门队伍正规化、专业化、职业化,完善法律职业准入制度,建立从符合条件的律师、法学专家中招录立法工作者、法官、检察官制度,健全从政法专业毕业生中招录人才的规范便捷机制,完善职业保障体系。

全会提出,提高党员干部法治思维和依法办事能力,把法治建设成效作为衡量各级领导班子和领导干部工作实绩重要内容、纳入政绩考核指标体系,把能不能遵守法律、依法办事作为考察干部重要内容。

Notice concerning Approving and Issuing Journalist Credentials in News Websites

XGCF No. (2014)122

All provincial, autonomous region and municipal press, publications, radio, film and television bureaus and Internet information offices, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Press and Publications Bureau and Internet information office, the Liberation Army General Political Department Propaganda Department Press and Publications Bureau and Internet Information Office, all Central and State bodies’ ministries and commissions, all democratic parties, all controlling work units of people’s organization’s news bodies and central news websites:

In order to strengthen the construction of editorial and journalistic teams in news websites and raise the overall quality of teams, on the basis of the relevant requirements of the Centre, and according to the relevant provisions of the “State Council Notice concerning Authorizing the Cyberspace Administration of China to Be Responsible for Internet Information Content Management Work”, the Internet Information Service Management Rules”, the “Internet News Information Service Management Regulations” and the “Journalist Credential Management Rules”, it has been decided that journalist credentials will be approved and issued to news websites who have obtained a Category I Internet News Information Service Permit and conform to conditions, according to the principles of “careful implementation, phased approval, security and order, manageability and controllability”. Hereby, the relevant matters are notified as follows: Continue reading

Xi Jinping’s Talks at the Beijing Forum on Literature and Art

The original text of the speech has not been published. This summary was published by Xinhua on 15 October.

Xi Jinping Chairs Forum on Literature and Art Work and Stresses

Persisting in the Creative Orientation of Putting the People Central

Creating Ever More Excellent Works Living Up to the Times

Liu Yunshan in Attendance

CCP General Secretary, State President and CMCC Chairman Xi Jinping chaired the Forum on Literature and Art Work organized in Beijing on the morning of the 15th, and gave an important speech. He stressed that literature and art are the bugle call for the advance of the times, are most able to represent the spirit of an era, and are most able to guide the mood of an era. To realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the role of literature and art is irreplaceable, and there is great promise from literature and art workers. The broad literature and art workers must understand the position and role of literature and art from this height, understand the historical mission and responsibility they bear, persist in the creative orientation of putting the people central, strive to create ever more excellent works living up to the times, carry forward the Chinese spirit, concentrate Chinese strengths, and encourage the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to march toward the future full of vigour and vitality.

Standing Committee member and Central Committee General Office Secretary Liu Yunshan attended the Forum.

At the forum, China Writer’s Association Chairwoman Tie Ning, China Peking Opera Association Chairman and Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre and Art Director Shang Changrong, Kongzheng Song and Dance Ensemble First-Level Playwright Yan Su, China Association of Fine Arts Vice-Chairman and China Academy of Fine Arts Director Chang Xuhong, China Association of Dance Chairwoman and National Theatre Dance Art Chief Inspector Zhao Rusu, China Writer’s Association Vice Chairman and Shanghai Municipal Writer’s Association Vice Chairman Ye Xin, China Film Association Chairman and China Drama Academy First-Level Performer Li Xuejian gave successive addresses.

After earnestly listening to everyone’s speeches, Xi Jinping made an important speech. First, he indicated that the literature and art undertaking is an important undertaking of the Party and the people, the literature and art battlefront is an important battlefront for the Party and the people. For a long period, the broad literature and art workers have devoted themselves to literature and art creation, performance, research and dissemination, and in their respective areas, have been diligent and hardworking, served the people, obtained clear achievements, and made important contributions. Through everyone’s joint efforts, a hundred flowers are growing in our literature and art garden and there are countless great fruits, presenting a vivid picture of flourishing and development. Xi Jinping extended his sincere respects to literature and art workers nationwide.

Xi Jinping pointed out that promoting the flourishing and development of literature and art, in the end, requires the creation and production of excellent works that can live up to this great nation and these great times. Literature and art workers should firmly keep in mind that creation is their central task, work is the root of their being, they must engage in their creation with calm hearts and a spirit of improvement, and present the best spiritual nourishment to the people. The creation and production of excellent works must be made into a central link of our literature and art work, and we must strive to produce even more excellent works that disseminate the value views of present-day China, reflect the spirit of Chinese culture, mirror the aesthetic pursuits of Chinese people, which organically integrate ideology, artistry and enjoyability.

Xi Jinping stressed that, since reform and opening up, our country’s literature and art creation has welcomed a new springtime, and produced large amounts of universally appreciated excellent works. At the same time, it cannot be denied that, in the area of literature and art creation, the phenomena that there is quantity but no quality, and there are “high plateaus” but no “high peaks” exist, the problem of plagiarism, imitation and stereotypes exist, and the problems of mechanistic production and fast-food-style consumption exist. Literature and art cannot lose its direction as it is absorbed into the market economy, it cannot accept deviations on the question for whom they are, otherwise, literature and art will not have life force. Vulgarity is not popularity, passion does not represent hope, and naive sensual amusement is not equal to spiritual cheer. The reason excellent works are “excellent”, lies in their ideological profundity, artistic exquisiteness and product superiority. [Translator's note, these three adjectives all contain the character 精, "excellent"]. Literature and art workers must hold high ideals, live and create in step with the times, and innovate through the individuality of their art. We must persist in the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, carry forward academic and artistic democracy, construct a vigorous, healthy, tranquil and harmonious atmosphere, advocate discussion between different viewpoints and schools of thought, advocate that styles, themes, forms and methods fully develop, and promote mutual praise and reflection in group discussion on ideas, content, styles and schools.

Xi Jinping pointed out that, to make literature and art creation flourish and promote literature and art innovation, we must have a large batch of distinguished literators and artists skilled in virtue and art. Our country’s writers and artists should become prophets, trailblazers, and pioneers of the spirit of the times, write and record the magnificent practice of the people and the demands for progress of the times through ever more literature and art works that have strong fibre, virtue and a warm temperature, display the beauty of faith and the beauty of the sublime. Literature and art workers must consciously persist in literature and art ideals, incessantly raise their scholarship, self-control and self-cultivation, strengthen their ideological accumulation, knowledge stores, cultural accomplishments and artistic training, earnestly and solemnly consider the social effect of their works, stress quality, place weight on artistic virtue, save righteousness for history, present beauty and virtue to the people of the world, strive to win people’s love and welcome with noble professional integrity, a fine social image, and beauty both in writing and quality.

Xi Jinping stressed that Socialist literature and art, essentially speaking, is the people’s literature and art. Literature and art must reflect well the people’s wishes; it must persist in the fundamental orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism. This is a basic requirement of the Party for the literature and art front, and is the crux that decides the future destiny of our country’s literature and art undertaking. We must make satisfying the people’s spiritual and cultural needs into a starting point and checking point for literature and art and literature and art workers, make the people into the centre of literature and art expressions, make the people into connoisseurs and critics of literature and art aesthetics, and make serving the people into the vocation of literature and art workers.

Xi Jinping pointed out that, following the incessant rise in people’s living standards, the people’s demands on quality, status and style of cultural products, including literature and art works, have risen. Literature, theatre, film, television, music, dance, fine arts, photography, calligraphy, folksong, acrobatics as well as folk literature and art, mass literature and art and other areas must follow the developments of the times, grasp the demands of the people, and create and produce excellent works that the people love to see and hear with full fervour, vivid brush strokes, graceful melodies and moving forms, to let the people’s spiritual and cultural lives incessantly climb towards new heights.

Xi Jinping stressed that the people are the sources of flowing water for literature and art creation, whenever they are removed from the people, literature and art will change into rootless duckweeds, baseless groaning, and soulless bodies. Whether or not we can produce excellent works fundamentally depends on whether or not we are able to write for the people, express emotions for the people, and express the compassion of the people. We must modestly learn from the people and learn from life, derive nutrients from the people’s magnificent practices and rich and varied lives, incessantly accumulate life and artistic experiences, incessantly discover the beautiful and create the beautiful. We must consistently keep the people’s daily lives and the people’s happiness in our hearts, pour the people’s range of emotions into our own brushstrokes, eulogize the struggling human life, portray the most beautiful characters, and persist in people’s yearning for and belief in beautiful lives.

Xi Jinping pointed out that if literature and art workers want to achieve success, they must consciously breathe together with the people, share their fate, link their hearts with the people’s hearts, fell joy for the joy of the people, suffer for the suffering of the people, and be servants of the people. They must love the people sincerely, love them profoundly, love them lastingly, and must deeply understand the rationale that the people are the creators of history, go deep among the masses, go deep into life, earnestly and sincerely be the little students of the people. Art may give wings to imagination, but it must absolutely have its feet on terra firma. There are a hundred, a thousand ways of creating art, but the most fundamental, the most crucial, and the most reliable method is taking root among the people and taking root in life. We should use realist spirits and romantic feelings to contemplate real life, use light to disperse darkness, use the beautiful and the good to vanquish the ugly and the evil, let the people see that beauty, hope and dreams are ahead.

Xi Jinping stressed that a good work should put social effect first, and at the same time should be a work that integrates social effect and economic effect. Literature and art cannot become slaves of the market, and must not be stained with the stink of money. Excellent literature and art works, at best, can gain ideological and artistic successes, and can receive a welcome on the market.

Xi Jinping pointed out that every age has a spirit of the age. Literature and art are the engineering project of casting souls, literature and art workers are engineers of the souls. Good literature and art work should be like sunlight in a blue sky, like a cool spring breeze, they should be able to enlighten thoughts, caress spirits and mould people’s lives, they should be able to clear away the wind of despair. The broad literature and art workers must carry forward the banner of the Socialist core value system, reflect the Socialist core value system in their literature and art creation vividly, vigorously and in a lifelike manner, use true-to-life images to tell people what they should affirm and praise, and what they must oppose and deny, ensure that the salutary effect of education, like a spring breeze, noiselessly touches all. We must make patriotism into the main melody of literature and art creation, guide the people to establish and uphold correct views of history, views of the nation, views of the country and views of culture, and strengthen their fortitude and resolve to be Chinese.

Xi Jinping stressed that pursuing the true, the good and the beautiful is the eternal value of literature and art. The highest boundary of literature and art is moving people, letting the spirits of people experience baptisms, letting the people discover the beauty of nature, the beauty of life and the beauty of the spirit. We must, through literature and art works, spread the true, the good and the beautiful, spread upward and charitable value views, guide the people in strengthening their powers of moral judgment and their sense of moral honour, yearn for and pursue a life of stressing morals, respecting morals and abiding morals. As long as the Chinese nation pursues the moral plane of the true, the good and the beautiful generation by generation, our nation will be eternally healthy and upward, and will for always be full of hope.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s excellent traditional culture is the spiritual lifeline of the Chinese nation, is an important source nourishing the Socialist core value system, and is a firm basis for us to get a firm foothold within the global cultural surge. We must integrate the conditions of new times with inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent traditional culture, and inheriting and carrying forward a Chinese aesthetic spirit. For our Socialist literature and art to flourish and develop, we must earnestly study and learn from the excellent literature and art created by people in all countries worldwide. Only if we persist in using the foreign to serve the Chinese, exploration and innovation, ensuring combinations of the Chinese and the Western, and mastery through comprehensive study, will our country’s literature and art be able to flourish and develop better.

Xi Jinping stressed that all levels’ Party Committees must bring literature and art work onto the important matters agenda, implement the Party’s literature and art principles and policies well, and grasp the correct orientation of literature and art development. We must choose good leadership ranks for strong literature and art work units, put cadres who have both ability and integrity, and who are able to be on the same page as literature and art workers into leading positions in literature and art work. We must respect the creative individuality and creative labour of literature and art workers, have full confidence in political matters, provide enthusiastic support in creative matters, and create a good environment for the benefit of literature and art creation. We must, through deepening reform, perfecting policies and completing structures, shape a vivid picture of incessant production of excellent work and talents. We must give high attention to and realistically strengthen literature and art criticism work, use the viewpoints of history, the people, art and aesthetics to judge and appreciate works, advocate telling the truth, stressing virtue, and create a good atmosphere to develop literature and art criticism.

Wang Huning, Liu Yandong, Lu Qibao, Xu Qiliang and Li Zhanshu attended the Forum.

Persons in charge from relevant Party and State departments, and the Liberation Army General Political Department, as well as representatives of literature and art workers from all sectors participated in the Forum.

 

 

spirit of the times, write an nd social media. It will particularly reflect on the development of frameworks for user-generate

Propaganda Chief Liu Qibao Elaborates China’s Indigenous Development Path

This article was published first in Qiushi, on 13 October.

We Are Marching on the Right Path

Some Points of Understanding concerning the Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Core points:

- When we say that China’s path can be marched correctly and to the end, this is not anyone’s subjective judgment, it is a powerful answer made in practice, it is a profound verdict reached through history and international comparison. We haven’t walked the old, closed and fossilized path, and haven’t walked the crooked road of changing our banners and allegiances, but have marched the new path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

- The path and the system are closely related, the success of the path is inseparable from systemic guarantees. China has chosen a particular system that is unique to it, which is the result for standing up to severe tests. Since the modern era, China has tried on various kinds and sorts of “shoes”, and has even thought about imitating the “peak” of Western systems, but in the end, these haven’t succeeded.

- Value concepts are the core of a development path. In understanding China’s path, the dimension of value cannot be overlooked. Where a nation and a country are concerned, the longest lasting and the most profound force are the core values that the entire society commonly recognizes.

- China’s path is the choice of the people, it is created by the people, and it has been made and marched by the Party in the lead of the people.

- On whether or not the path is good, the people who are on this path have the strongest right to speak. China’s people have, through the continued improvement in the material necessities of life, through the huge changes in the look of the country and through their eager desires and overflowing hopes, realistically felt the correctness of China’s path, and supported this path deep in their hearts.

There are no two completely identical tree leaves in the world. Similarly, there are no completely identical paths for the development of countries. It is as General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, a nation and a country must know who they are, where they came from and where they will go, and if this has been thought out clearly and well, they must unwaveringly advance towards their goal. Contemporary China is currently taking big strides on the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This path has been marched through the magnificent practice of more than three decades of reform and opening up, it is marched through the sustained exploration in the more than six decades since the establishment of the New China, it is marched through the profound verdict of the development process of the Chinese nation in over 170 years since the advent of modernity, it is marched through the inheritance of the 5000 year of civilization of the Chinese nation, it ahs profound historical sources and a broad basis in reality. This path suits China’s national conditions, conforms to China’s characteristics, complies with the development requirements of the times, and is the necessary path to create beautiful lives for the people and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

We have come to the fore, and are running in the front row, in the “international contest”

When we say that China’s path can be marched correctly and to the end, this is not anyone’s subjective judgment, it is a powerful answer made in practice, it is a profound verdict reached through history and international comparison. If we look back to the grinding poverty and persistent weakness after the Opium War, and the destitution when the New China was established, and now look again at the completely new look and thriving vitality of present-day China, the great leaps and great advances of history exceed people’s imaginations, and provide the most vivid emphasis for the Communist Party leading the people in marching the Chinese path.

Practice is the best judgment, comparison is the most convincing. After the end of the Second World War and especially in the last thirty years, a contest between development paths and development models has imperceptibly formed between various countries worldwide. In this contest, many countries’ starting points were higher than China’s, their resources were richer than China’s, their external environments were better than China’s, and yet, after these years of struggle, the results of this competition are already starting to become clear. Some countries have changed their banners and their allegiances, with the result that they have taken wrong turns, and become mired in difficulties; some countries imitated other countries’ systems, with the result that these systems failed to acclimatize, like “planting southern oranges in the north”. In clear contrast, we have not marched an old, closed and fossilized path, neither have we marched a crooked path of changing banners and allegiances, but we have marched a new path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. On this path, we have used decades of time to complete a development process that took developed countries centuries, we realized a historical leap from poverty to comfort and again to moderate prosperity, the Chinese nation has overtaken the waves of progress of the times with big strides, and is welcoming a glorious prospect of great rejuvenation. In economic development, for instance, between 1979 and 2012, our country’s average annual GDP growth rate was 9.8%, which is far higher than the annual 2.8% growth in the global economy during the same period; our economy has vaulted into the second position worldwide, and its proportion of the global economy has risen from less than two per cent to nearly twelve per cent, from suffering material shortages and lack of products that happened in the past, we changed into “the factory of the world”, and are marching towards “the centre of the global stage”. Naturally, this path has not been even, on the journey, we have also suffered many complications and bumps, and have vanquished a series of risks and challenges. We don’t need to look far, we can just look at our response to this great test of the international financial crisis, when China submitted an outstanding answer sheet, and took a global lead in realizing an improvement in economic stability, it became an important driver in pushing the global economy to round the corner, and in recent years, China’s contribution to global economic growth exceeded 20 per cent, by now, it is even higher than thirty per cent. Some foreign government leaders and academics have named the huge changes in China as “the most significant event in current times”, and believe that China’s achievements are “without comparison”, the previous US Secretary of State, Kissinger, even sighed that it was “hard to believe” and “exceeded expectations”.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary has taken over the baton of history, it has persisted in taking Marxism as guidance, unwaveringly marched a Chinese path, blazed China’s path in step with the times, and continued to write this great writing of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. On a path of pursuing dreams and making them come true, the Party Centre has comprehensively planned the both the domestic and international big pictures, it has completely deepened reform, dared to bite through hard bones, dared to ford treacherous waters, resolved to destroy systemic and mechanistic abuses on all sides, and promoted the modernization of the country’s governing system and governing ability; it adapted to the new trends in economic growth, persisted in seeking progress through stability, reformed and innovated, and promoted the sustained and healthy development of the economy; it improved and protected people’s livelihoods on the basis of national circumstances, and wove a tight security net of the people’s livelihood; it persisted in strictly managing the Party and governing the Party, in leaving an impression on the stones it trod on, grasping work style construction with an iron ruthlessness, and combated corruption with an attitude of zero tolerance; it persisted in marching a path of peaceful development, and strove to build a new type of international relations with cooperation and common benefits at the core, and won the wholehearted support of the popular masses, and the broad respect of international society. The Party and the country have initiated a new dimension, they have created a new wind, and they have gained new successes, and have engraved a new historical marker in the journey along China’s path.

Decoding China’s path

As more and more attention came to be paid to China’s development miracle, its international influence grew ever larger, and “decoding China” became a hot topic in international society. Why is China able to do what it does? Why is the Chinese Communist Party able to do what it does? Such questions can always attract people’s broad reflection. The path and the system are closely connected, the success of the path is inseparable from the guarantees of the system. China has chosen a particular system unique to itself, which is the result of withstanding great tests. Since the beginning of modernity, China has tried on all kinds and sorts of “shoes”, and has even tried to imitate the “peaks” of Western systems, but in the end, this has never been successful. Only at the point where the Chinese Communist Party expanded, did all of this fundamentally change. Our Party has led the people in the practice of arduous struggle, it has found the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through exploration, it created the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and established the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. In comparison with other systems, this system of ours has clear superiorities in many aspects, and reflects a sort of unique characteristics and a superior systemic civilization.

For instance, scientific and efficient policymaking and implementation. A country’s policymaking capacity and implementation efficiency are important yardsticks to measure its systemic quality. If unpredictable changes are made in policy, anything would become impossible. The previous president of Afghanistan, Karzai, said: “If Afghanistan had the opportunity to choose again, it would certainly have marched a Chinese-style development path. Because it acts efficiently, makes resolute policies, and is guided towards results.” This displays a prominent advantage of the Chinese system. Our system is able to focus on the overall interest of the people and the long-term development of the country, scientific and timely policymaking, and efficient and powerful implementation have effectively integrated continuation and exploration. The formulation of every “Five-Year Development Plan” processes through consultation and inquiry with all sides, things go up and down repeatedly, until up and down are integrated, and in the end, a consensus is shaped and a decision made. In concentrating strengths to deal with major affairs and resolve difficulties, our system displays strong implementation power. In the process of resisting the Great Wenchuan Earthquake and other such huge disasters, as soon as the Party Centre gave the order, immediate action was undertaken up and down the entire country, a majestic force was assembled to fight the disaster and provide disaster relief, and new homes were built within a quite short time.

For instance, broad and effective people’s democracy. Our democracy is a people’s democracy. Some things can be settled through discussion, the masses negotiating the affairs of the masses , and finding the greatest common denominator of the will and demands of the entire society is found, are the true essence of the people’s democracy. We have instituted the basic political system of the People’s Congress system, we implement multi-Party cooperation and political consultation systems under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, autonomous ethnic region system as well as grass-roots mass autonomy systems and other such basic political systems. The people exercise their power through elections and voting, and a broad, multi-level and institutionalized consultative democracy is implemented among the people, these are two kinds of important democratic elements of our country’s Socialist democratic politics. Such democratic forms not only have a complete systemic order, they also have a complete practice of participation, which benefits strengthening the cooperation and consultation between all forces in society. In comparison, Western democracies characterized by multi-party systems and tripartite separations of power, reveal their abuses and limitations more and more every day. A number of Western scholars recognize that in recent years, Western democracy has faced a profound crisis, checks and balances in democratic systems have evolved into impediments of power, while party games have taken the national interest hostage. A number of countries have blindly “transplanted” or “imported” Western democracy, but have fallen into an endless cycle of regime change and social unrest, resulting in “the early death of democracy”. Only a democratic system that has taken root in the soil of a country, and draws abundant nutrients from it, can be reliable and effective. In this regard we must keep a clear mind and maintain our political orientation, we cannot attend to trifles while neglecting the main matter, nor slavishly imitate others.

For example, the multi-layered practice and experience of selecting the able for appointments. Through a long period of exploration, we have formed selection and appointment mechanisms that broadly take in the virtuous, and are brimming with vitality, we have broadly assembled talents from all sides within all undertakings of the Party and the State. All levels’ leading cadres have, on the journey to their leading positions, had to undergo severe organizational inspections, democratic recommendations, competitive selections and other such procedures, they have all undergone the test of time and have been tempered in practice, they all have grass-roots experience in many positions and remarkable work achievements. The cartoon film “How Are Leaders Selected” that is popular online has vividly displayed this. Now, a long time of “Chinese kung-fu”-style training, selecting and appointing the able, is gaining the recognition of ever more visionaries around the world.

For example, the coordinated efforts of the “two hands” of market and government. Our country implements the Socialist market economy system, its clear characteristic is that it stresses giving rein to the role of the market, and stresses giving rein to the role of government, to ensure that the “invisible hand” and the “visible hand” are both used well. This systemic arrangement both respects the common laws of the market economy, and remedies the failures of market mechanisms, such as is blindness, its spontaneity and its lag, it integrates the roles of the market and the government well. By relying on this system, we have produce a “report card for the Socialist market economy” that has caused admiration around the world. Some countries worldwide have become separate of their own reality, and mechanically applied prescriptions written out by neoliberalism, they conducted complete non-interference, liberalization, privatization and marketization, the result is that they have stumbled into development “traps”, from which it is difficult to extricate them. On the basis of explorations in practice and deepening understanding, our Party has proposed “letting the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and giving better rein to the goal of government” as a major theoretical viewpoint, this provides a new scientific orientation to the relationship between market and government. This inevitably promotes the incessant deepening of reform in our country’s economic system, and further gives rein to the superiorities of the Socialist market economy.

In his important speech at the conference to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National People’s Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly put forward important standards for evaluation whether a political system is democratic and effective. In comparison with these standards, with our decisive progress in practice, we have handed over a convincing examination sheet. Practice demonstrates that China’s system has huge superiorities, resilience, vitality and potential, it has enriched and developed the institutional culture of human societies .Some foreign scholars have pointed out that the Western development model is being resorted into a regional development model, and that the success of China’s model has opened up a plural era in which various systems coexist and compete. Even Fukuyama, who put forward the “end of history theory” believes that the Chinese model has a number of important advantages that Western democratic systems lack, and that space should be reserved for China in the treasure house of human thought and civilization.

Seeking the roots of China’s path

We have concentrated the most persistent and most profound spiritual forces

Chinese culture is the “root” and “spirit” of our nation, and is the deep soil in which the Chinese path was born and lives. The magnificent culture that the Chinese nation has created for over 5000 years contains precious ideological resources and noble value pursuits, it contains important inspirations to resolve the difficulties that humanity faces at present, such as the beautiful ideals of “grand harmony” and “moderate prosperity”, the political concept that “the people are the root of a country, and if the roots are stable, the country is tranquil”, the spirit of struggle of “as Heaven is ever vigorous, the virtuous must constantly strive for improvement”, the important thought of “harmony in difference, and harmonious coexistence”, the broad heart of “maintaining amity through good faith”, “peace and harmony between all nations” and other such things, unobtrusively influence the ways of thinking and acting of Chinese people. But since modernity, some people have come to believe that the reason China fell back was not only because it was inferior in skills or systems, but because it was inferior in culture, it lost confidence in its national culture, and even put forward the viewpoint of “wholesale Westernization”. The Chinese Communist Party has taken up the great banner of inheriting and carrying forward Chinese culture, and proposing and developing advanced culture, it has used scientific theory to endow Chinese culture with advanced ideological content. During the long-term practice of revolution, construction and reform, we have held fast to the position of Chinese culture, inherited China’s cultural genome, promoted the creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese culture, shaped a modern Chinese culture, and provided rich nourishment for the creation and development of China’s path.

Value concepts are the core of a development path. To understand China’s path, we cannot overlook the dimension of values. For a nation or a country, the most persistent and the most profound force are core value views that the entire society jointly recognizes. Our Party has put forward the Socialist core value system which advocates wealth and strength, democracy, civilization and harmony, advocates freedom, equality, fairness and the rule of law, and advocates patriotism, respect for work, sincerity and amity, this profoundly answered the major question of which kind of country to build, which kind of society to build, and which kind of citizen to foster, it is the concentrated expression of the spiritual and value level of the Chinese path. This core value system inherits the value core of traditional Chinese culture, reflects the essential properties, development requirements and struggle objectives of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is the “greatest common denominator” of Chinese civic values. On the Chinese path, in the face of the intensifying mutual agitation, exchange, mingling and clashing of various ideologies and cultures, we forcefully construct the Socialist core value system, vigorously foster and practice the Socialist core value system, establish dominance over pluralism, seek consensus in diversity, and effectively integrate social ideologies and value pursuits. To persist in and expand the Chinese path, we must further strengthen self-confidence about values, we can absolutely not blindly become an echo of Western value concepts, and we can absolutely not lose our own spiritual independence.

The result of smelting yellow sand is gold. The formation and development of the Chinese path not only means material enrichment and institutional perfection, it also reflects spiritual plenty and cultural vitalization. The most important matter in this regard is inheriting and carrying forward a national spirit with patriotism at the core, casting a spirit of the times with reform and innovation at the core, and assembling them into a magnificent Chinese spirit. Along the way, we experienced baptisms through various major events, we were steeled by various risks and challenges, we incessantly infused the Chinese spirit with new vitality and content, and inspired the Chinese people to march toward the future with a vigorous and youthful spirit. On this path, we have pained a magnificent scroll of cultural development and flourishing, traditional plays, folksongs, folk music, stories, poems and other cultural forms have gained a bright life force, modern films, television dramas, popular music, network cartoons and other cultural forms emerge one after another in great splendour, cultural innovation, creation and vitality are incessantly strengthening, the cultural lives of the popular masses have become more varied and colourful, their spiritual world has been incessantly enriched. “Made in China” and “sent abroad”. Now, a “Chinese culture craze” continue to rise in temperature, Confucius institutes have opened branches and spread their leaves across more than 100 countries, learning Mandarin, reading Chinese books, watching Chinese films and listening to Chinese stories have begun being popular in a number of countries, the international influence and infectiousness of Chinese culture has greatly strengthened, and the long-standing and well-established Chinese culture is marching towards new glories.

Judging China’s path

We take the common development of and common sharing by the whole body of the people as the final standard.

China’s path is the choice of the people, and is created by the people, it has been worked out and marched by the Party leading the people. It may be said that every breakthrough and innovation we made in understanding and practice, the emergence and development of every novelty during reform and open up, the creation and accumulation of every important experience in modernization an construction, invariably originated from the practice and the wisdom of the popular masses. From the 18 peasant households in Xiaogang Village who put their red fingerprints on a “household contract”, as well as countless peasants washing their feet, leaving agriculture and throwing themselves into township and village enterprises, to “taking a long and arduous journey and suffering untold hardships” to set up people-run enterprises, etc., hundreds of millions of people have explored and innovated, this became a powerful driver for reform and opening up. Exactly because our Party respected the dominant role of the people, and respected the pioneering spirit of the masses, it was able to let all the vitality of all labour, knowledge, technology, management and capital compete and burst forth, and let all sources creating social wealth flow freely, which enabled the Chinese path to obtain the most profound sources of strength.

The people’s yearning for a beautiful life is our struggle objective. The Chinese people warmly love life, their are full of dreams, they hope for a better education, more stable jobs, more and comfortable housing conditions, they seek the protection of their dignity, the success of the undertakings and the realizations of their values. In more than three decades of reform and opening up, these simple drams have progressively come true, and they are now striding ahead to even higher levels. Our determination to invest in people’s livelihood is great, and our strength is great, this is rare everywhere in the world. We have taken ten years of time to realize a minimum living security system, a system for basic care for the elderly in town and country, and basic healthcare system with complete coverage, we have built a basic social security network that some Western countries have only completed in a century. Through many years of efforts, China now has 600 people who escaped from poverty, and completed seventy per cent of the complete global task of poverty reduction. There is no end to protecting the people’s livelihood, there is only an incessant stream of new starting points. Since the 18th Party Congress, household registration reform, student recruitment examination reform, and birth planning policy adjustment have been completed, and a batch of policies to improve people’s livelihoods has been rolled out, ensuring that more fruits of development are extended more fairly to the whole body of the People. The American scholar Kuhn believes that, “in all of human history, it has never happened that this many people have achieved these living standards at such a speed.”

On whether or not the path is good, the people who are on this path have the greatest right to speak. The Chinese people have personally felt the correctness of the Chinese path, through the sustained improvement in material living conditions, through the huge changes in the look of the country, and through their full hopes and desires, and have embraced this path in their hearts. Some people metaphorically say that in the more than three decades of reform and opening up, the absolute majority of Chinese people have actually undergone a “welfare revolution”, the “major purchase” consumption in common households has gone from wristwatches, bicycles, sewing machines in the past to refrigerators, colour television and washing machines, and again to houses, cars and computers at present, an earthshattering change has happened. At present, Chinese people have a relatively satisfied and optimistic attitude towards the general circumstances and development prospects of their own country. In 2013, the amount of returning overseas students exceeded 350.000, this is more than thirty times the number at the beginning of this century, and an increase of over 32 per cent annually. The “homecoming wave” of these overseas students clearly demonstrates the attraction of China, and from one angle reflects people’s convictions in the future of the country. With hundreds of millions of people firmly believing in the Chinese path, we will have ever more reason and ever more stamina to march along this path.

The question about the path is most fundamental, it relates to the rise and fall of the nation’s destiny, and the happiness of the people. In the Nineties of the previous century, when he stood on the bridgehead of the Yangpu Bridge, and overlooked the new Shanghai, where the great wave of reform and opening up was surging, Comrade Deng Xiaoping sighed: “the joy of seeing the road of today surpasses reading for a century.” We must ever more cherish the Chinese path, on which the Party has led the people to undergo untold hardships, and whose success has come against various kinds of costs, persistently and incessantly extend and expand it. We must incessantly deepen our ideological identification, theoretical identification and emotional identification with Socialism with Chinese characteristics, incessantly strengthen our self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about theory and self-confidence about the system, maintain our strategic orientation from beginning to end, not fear any risk, and not become doubtful for any interference. We firmly believe that the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics must become ever broader, and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation can absolutely be realized!

 

Parsing the New Internet Rules of China’s Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Supreme People’s Court issued a document with the – predictably convoluted – title “Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests”. This document provides instructions to People’s Courts on certain aspect of dealing with civil cases involving harm to personality rights, including the right to privacy, portrait rights and reputational rights. (Full disclosure, I was involved in an academic project that provided input into the drafting process). It has been drafted to supplement the broad language of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, which sets forth a basis of liability for the online infringement of citizens’ rights, and provides for basic remedial measures. The Article’s wording left many questions of procedure and substance unanswered, meaning that courts (which in China’s civil law-based system have considerably less leeway to interpret the law, and do not create binding precedents) often faced considerable difficulties in handling these cases.

So, what are the salient points?

Most of the provisions in the document relate to procedure, yet have important consequences for the potential liability of network service providers and a fortiori, Internet users. Article 3, for instance, indicates that if a plaintiff sues only an Internet user or a network service provider (rather than both), the defendant may request that the other party is added to the case as a joint defendant. In other words, defendants are incentivized to share the blame and, in case compensation is ordered, the costs. Internet service providers are also mandated to provide identity and contact details of Internet users posting unlawful information, and face punishment if they do not provide this (Article 4). So far, efforts to impose an online real-name registration system have only been moderately successful, but depending on the penalty companies might incur if they are not able to provide identity details to courts, that might just change a little. Yet the real-name requirement goes both ways, as Article 5 indicates that Internet service providers are exempt from liability if the plaintiff’s notification about the presence of harmful content does not include a full name and contact details, indication of the harmful information, and an explanation for why it might be harmful. Furthermore, plaintiffs who falsely indicate that certain information is unlawful, face tort liability themselves (Article 8).

One particular bugbear in Article 36 was knowledge of the infringement as a necessary basis for liability for Internet service providers. Article 9 of the SPC Regulations provide a number of possible factors, including whether the ISP actively processed the information, the extent to which it can be reasonably expected that the ISP has the ability to identify this kind of information, the degree to which it is clear that the information is unlawful, its influence and hit rate, the extent to which it is possible to carry out remedial measures, and whether a case concerns repeated infringement by the same user or through the same information. Another hot topic was the question of liability for retweeting information, particularly since criminal liability was imposed for retweeting false defamatory information more than 500 times last year. On the civil side of things, these regulations provide that fault is a condition for liability for retweets, and might be constituted by the duty of care borne by the retweeter, the extent to which it is clear that the information is unlawful, and whether or not the retweeter alters the information in a manner resulting in harm. This is an interesting inversion of the public figure doctrine as it exists in the US. Under American defamation law, prominent public figures must satisfy a higher burden of proof (actual malice) than common individuals in cases of alleged defamation against themselves. Within the Chinese system, public figures, such as online celebrities and “Big Vs”, bear a greater duty of care than common individuals not to defame others, because of the disproportional impact their expressions may have.

Article 11 confirms that tort liability applies also to defamatory expressions concerning commercial parties, as well as their products and services, while Article 12 imposes a presumption of tort liability in cases where individuals’ medical and criminal history, their household address, and other such private details are published. Exceptions include agreement or self-publication by the data subject, publication for the public interest or scientific research under conditions of anonymization, and for the purpose of obeying other laws and regulations. In short, it may be assumed that this presumption is not strong enough to prevent the publication of, say, the telephone book. A very broad exception is granted to State organs, who (at least as far as this particular provision is concerned) can publish whatever they like in fulfilment of their duties.

The SPC also goes after the much-maligned “black PR” business. First, it declares all agreements concerning the deletion, alteration or blocking of online information for payment invalid. Second, it institutes tort liability for these activities, meaning that affected users and ISP have a right to recourse (and compensation), and thus an incentive to sue. (Article 15) Further incentives to sue are introduced in Article 18, which provides that reasonable expenses incurred to stop the infringement, as well as reasonable lawyer’s fees may be included in the calculation of compensation. This might mitigate much of the cost of litigation, which has hitherto been identified as one of the higher barriers against the filing of cases. There is also a statutory amount of compensation provided for cases in which the actual damage is difficult to calculate, fixed at 500,000 Yuan (£50k/US$81k/€64,5k). This may not seem like a lot at first, but it is nearly twenty times the average amount of urban disposable income reported for 2013.

Is this not just another form of Internet control?

To a certain degree, yes. In particular, the requirement that ISPs must provide real identity information to courts when demanded has elicited some concern in foreign reports. Equally, there are legitimate questions about some of the wide exceptions given to State bodies in some of the new rules. But the matter is a bit more complex, and deserves more nuance than the simple “dictatorial government quashes civil rights” narrative.

1: These rules fall under civil law, not criminal or administrative law.

For non-lawyers: civil law is the law that governs relationships between individual citizens. Tort law is one part of it, and exists to provide relief to individual who suffer harm through wrongful actions by others. Consequently, cases within this area of law are initiated by the victim of a wrong, not by the State. This actually makes it not so useful a tool for coercive State power as criminal or administrative law – which the State controls much more. Furthermore, Chinese tort law (as, indeed, most of global tort law) is aimed at compensating harm, not punishing wrongdoing. In other words, the consequences of a finding of liability might result, for instance, in an order to pay compensation, restore the status quo ante, or an apology, not in prison time. (This is why media outlets should take care about the use of the word criminalization – it’s not because something is unlawful that it’s criminal). It may well be that officials might intervene on patrons’ behalf during litigation, just as happens in any other area of law, but problematic as that would be, it could in principle happen on both sides of the argument.

2: Much of the harm identified by these regulations is real

What is rarely discussed in Western media is that the Chinese Internet is rampant with various kinds of scams. The announcements that some general died in a country far away and generously left me a few million (which I receive on a regular basis – being a general apparently comes with a high death rate) pale in comparison with some of the stuff that goes on in China, which includes the alleged extortion of more than 100 companies by one of the country’s leading media group. In my view, it is not unreasonable, nor illegitimate, that legislators aim to protect citizens (and companies) from harm that might occur through malicious publication or alteration of online information, or at least create ways in which compensation might be sought.

3: Some provisions might actually enhance transparency

One of the targets of these new rules is the “black PR” industry, people who are paid to remove or alter publicly available information about companies, but also officials. It is one of the ways by which corrupt officials aim to avoid the gaze of Beijing’s censorate, the Central Discipline Inspection Committee. There is a continuing stream of reports about companies that used the industry to slander competitors, extort funds as indicated above, or remove negative stories about themselves. These new rules may, at least in theory, empower both the posters of legitimate information as the websites on which it is published.

Aren’t you just feeding the trolls now?

There are many, problems with the Chinese legal system that are far broader and more profound than these specific new rules. This new document actually illustrates them in quite an interesting manner. We get a lot of specifics about procedure: who can be liable, which documents are necessary to evade liability, under which circumstances can they be liable, etc. What this Judicial Interpretation does not provide, is a clear list of criteria to decide on the facts of the case, or in other words, how to determine whether a particular expression is defamatory or infringes another personal right, and if the answer to that is yes, whether there is a legitimate defence for having done so. In comparison, most voluminous section of the UK Defamation Act 2013 is the section outlining all particular defences, and their constitutive elements. Furthermore, it institutes a threshold of serious harm, to forestall lawsuits over trivial insults. De minimis non curat lex. But this Act exists within a broader legal context: one in which a constitutional presumption of free speech has been strongly established. The Defamation Act thus exists at the intersection of two fundamental principles: the (tort-based) protection against harm through wrongful acts, and the necessity to safeguard free speech – even if that entails certain individuals must be called upon to tolerate, or even suffer, certain harms. One of the most important reasons free speech is a fundamental part of many Western legal systems is exactly to protect publications that might be found offensive and harmful. One does not need free speech protection to publish Paddington Bear as much as one needs it to publish Common Sense. Political opinions, racy novels, horror films or religious treatises often easily evoke resentment and (at least perceived) harm to the self. But toleration of what is resented has become essential for the organization of an open and pluralist society – its impossible to please everyone. Neither is it possible to protect everyone from the inevitable vicissitudes of life through the law. Still, most legal systems in the world have – rightly, in my view – decided that free speech does not extend to malicious and false accusations, for instance. To be sure, the line is thin, and there will always be a good argument on why a particular lawsuit should have gone another way. That’s why we call it a judgment; most cases aren’t black or white, they imply a choice between two competitive arguments on the basis of legitimate concerns. Perhaps ironically, a steady stream of cases might be beneficial: it allows us to continue debating on the judgments and decisions made in concrete cases, and how they reflect the way we want our society to be governed. Also, it is beneficial not to try and legislate for all possible occurrences, the transaction costs would be horrible, reality might change in surprising ways, and the consequences of pernickety micromanagement might be worse than having legal disputes from time to time. In short: Western legal systems see legal disputes as inevitable at worst and possibly salutary at best.

Chinese law is founded on rather different assumptions, the most relevant to this discussion perhaps being the one that a legal system is perfectible, and thus eliminate all kinds of harm. The Imperial Code contained an article imposing punishment on all things “that should not be done”. Both Republican and Communist ideology was predicated on utopian ideals, remnants of which remain in, for instance, the Chinese Dream. Reform policy documents often contain the verb 完善 wanshan, or “to make perfect”. In short: there is no such thing as a legitimate (or unsolvable) problem. This is one reason why this website already contains about 900 translated legal documents: every time something happens that is deemed problematic, the government must do something, even if it is something as trivial as the employment of actors who might have used drugs. It also means that it is extremely tricky and sensitive to navigate the question of which harm one might be expected to tolerate. The instinct of the Chinese legal mind is simply to stop harm from occurring.

To a certain degree, that is a laudable aim. These new regulations would, for instance, provide a convenient path for Jennifer Lawrence to attenuate the circulation of her nude photos. All she would need to do, in theory, is sue the website on which they are posted (which, under Chinese law, must be registered and therefore are identifiable), which in turn can be required to identify all persons who have posted them. But the question is not about the individual alone, but about the collective as well. This approach would also mean that the Internet would be a lot less chaotic and raucous (for better and worse) than it is now. To the Chinese government, that is not a bad thing. Perhaps the best metaphor to describe China’s view of the Internet is a French garden: geometrically perfect and ordered, without a single sprig out of place. Indeed, the objective is to ensure that all sprigs, branches and leaves know their own place and behave accordingly. There are two unresolved problems here. First, what if people disagree with the vision or actions of the gardener? Second, it is difficult to see why citizens would act civilly on the Internet when the Party that governs them is riddled with corruption, is regularly – and clumsily – economical with the truth and steadfastly refuses to engage with broader society. In short, while there might be a case to be made for these rules on their own, they come into being against the background of an intractably dysfunctional system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xinhua: Standardizing Case Trials of Online Torts, the Supreme People’s Court Issues a Judicial Interpretation

This article was published by Xinhua on 9 October.

(Journalists Luo Sha, Xu Wei)

On the 9th, the Supreme People’s Court published the “Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests“, these Regulations will take effect on 10 October.

The Supreme People’s Court spokesperson, Sun Jungong, stated that this just-published Judicial Interpretation created a system of judicial rules for problems of Internet law together with the “Regulations concerning Some Issues of Applicable Law in Hearing Civil Dispute Cases on Infringement of the Right to Dissemination through Information Networks” and the “Interpretation concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Hearing Criminal Cases of Fabrication and Wilful Dissemination of False and Terrorizing Information”, and is of significant importance in standardizing online activities and establishing a desirable online order.

Courts can order network service providers to provide personal information and lock out infringers.

“When persons carrying out infringing acts online are hidden in the shadows, and publish posts without gods and ghosts knowing about it, it is often difficult to determine the defendant when persons suffering an infringement want to file a complaint”, said Yao Hui, the Vice-President of the First Civil Chamber of the Supreme People’s Court.

With regard to this sort of situation, this Judicial Interpretation provides new rules in two areas: the first is in terms of judicial procedure, it allows plaintiffs to only sue a network user or a network service provider. Where the defendant requests the addition of the network service provider suspected of infringement, or a network user can be determined as a joint defendant or third party, the People’s Court shall allow this.

The second clarifies that after the plaintiff files a complaint, People’s Courts may, on the basis of the circumstances of the case and the request of the plaintiff, order a network service provider to provide the personal information of an online user who is suspected of infringement, in order to make it easier for the plaintiff to file the case. This information includes the name, contact method, network address and other such information, by which a network user suspected of infringement can be identified.

“Where network service providers refuse to provide this information without valid grounds, People’s Courts may adopt punitive measures against the network service providers on the basis of the corresponding provisions of the Civil Procedure Law”, the Judicial Interpretation stipulates at the same time.

Liability must also be borne for “retweeting”, the determination of “fault” is key

Sun Jungong stated that social media, such as Weibo and WeChat which developed rapidly in recent years, as well as the self-media that these engendered, have a power far exceeding that of traditional media in aspects such as scope of distribution, influence, etc.

“In the light of this characteristic, the Judicial Interpretation includes provisions concerning the retweeting of online information”, he said.

The Judicial interpretation stipulates that People’s Courts establishing the fault of network users and network service providers in retweeting online information and its extent, shall comprehensively consider the following factors: a duty of care commensurate with the nature and scope of influence of the reprinting subject; the extent to which it is clear that the retweeted information infringes another person’s personal rights; whether or not the retweeted information has been substantially altered, whether or not article titles are added or altered, and the probability that this leads to grave inconsistency with content and may mislead the public.

“At present, the number of cases concerning self-media torts is not too prominent, but following the development of network technology, I feel that this sort of cases may become more frequent in the future”, Yao Hui stated, one important factor in establishing the responsibility borne by retweeters is “fault”, this requires that judges consider and judge the matter by integrating evidence and objective facts.

“For example, if you are a ‘Big V’, you should know that you might rashly retweet something, with a large influence. Your works, your every move might influence a great audience, your legal duties therefore include greater attention. You should be more cautious”.

Saying “no” to ‘paid-for post deletion” and “water armies”

“IN practice, one important factor among the reasons for the existence of the Internet industry, represented by illegal post deletion service, is that Internet technology is asymmetrical, network users posting infringing information or network service providers often have a technological superiority. This Judicial Interpretation provides rules against these activities through a civil liability angle”, Sun Jungong said.

The Judicial Interpretation provides that the People’s Courts shall determine invalid agreements between a person suffering infringement and a network user or network service provider committing infringement in which one side pays remuneration and the other side provides deletion, blocking, severance of links and other such services.

“Where specific online information is distorted, deleted or blocked without authorization, or other persons are prevented from obtaining online information through the method of severing links, and the network user or network service provider publishing the information concerned request that the infringer bears tort liability, the People’s Courts shall support this. Where entrustment by others is accepted to carry out the acts concerned, the entrusting person and the entrusted person bear joint liability.”

The Judicial Interpretation at the same time clarifies that where another person is employed, organized, instigated to or assisted with the publication or reprinting of online information that infringes another person’s personal rights and interests, and the person suffering infringement requests that the actors bear joint liability, the People’s Courts shall support this.

Reasonably determining whether network service providers “know” about infringement

Paragraph 3 of Article 36 of our country’s Tort Liability Law provides that: “Network service providers who know that network users use their network services to infringe another person’s civil rights and interest, and do not adopt necessary measures, bear joint liability with the network user concerned.”

This Judicial Interpretation includes the following provision on this matter: Where a People’s Court determines, on the basis of Paragraph 3 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, whether a network service provider “knew”, it shall comprehensively consider the following factors: whether or not network service providers, through manual or automatic means, recommended, ranked, selected, edited, arranged, revised or in other ways processed the infringing online information; the ability to manage information that network service providers should have, as well as the nature and method of the provided service, and the extent of the probability that it might cause infringement; the category of personal rights and interests infringed by the online information concerned, as well as the degree of clarity; the extent of the social influence of the online information concerned, or its browsing rates for a determined period; the technological possibility for network service providers to adopt measures to prevent infringement, and whether corresponding reasonable measures have been adopted; whether or not network service providers have adopted corresponding reasonable measures against the same network users’ repeated act of infringement or the same infringing information; other factors related to the specific case.

“The Internet sector has entered a phase in which content, community and commerce are highly integrated, how to establish this “knowledge” required some caution”, Sun Jungong said, an overly stern standard might create overly onerous burdens for network service providers, influencing the free communication of lawful information. Overly lax standards then might lead to network service providers who are complacent about carrying out the necessary duty of care, indulging and even actively carrying out tortious acts.

Increased protection for personal information, expansion of judicial protection for persons suffering infringement

Sun Jungong stated that in the Internet era, the protection of personal information and especially personal electronic information faces many challenges.

This Judicial interpretation provides that where network users or network service providers use the network to publish genetic information, medical history materials, health investigation materials, criminal records, household addresses, personal activities and other such private and personal information, resulting in harm to others, and the person suffering infringement requests that they bear tort liability, the People’s Courts shall support this.

The Judicial Interpretation provides at the same time for circumstances in which exceptions are made. These include publication within the scope of an agreement with the natural person in writing, within the scope necessary to promote the social public interest, etc.

Furthermore, in response to the reality that in judicial practice, costs for rights defence are high, and the costs for using the network to infringe other persons’ personal rights and interests are low, the Judicial Interpretation provides that “reasonable expenses incurred by the person suffering infringement to terminate the infringing act, may be determined as asset loss according to the provisions of Article 20 of the Tort Liability Law”.

“Where it is not possible to determine the asset loss the person suffering infringement suffered because of harm to personal rights, or the profit the infringer obtained from this, People’s Courts may determine the amount of compensation, on the basis of the concrete circumstances of the case, to the extent of 500.000 Yuan or less”, the Judicial Interpretation provides.

Sun Jungong said that these Regulations expand the judicial protection for persons suffering infringement, benefit containing the sprawl of online torts and thereby realize that the online atmosphere is normal and orderly.

Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests

In order to correctly hear civil dispute cases involving the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests, on the basis of the provisions of the “General Principles of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China”, the “Tort Liability Law of the People’s Republic of China”, the “National People’s Congress Standing Committee Decision concerning Strengthening Online Information Protection”, the “Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China”, and by integration with judicial practice, these Regulations are formulated.

Article 1: Civil dispute cases involving the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests as mentioned in these Regulations, refers to dispute cases triggered by harm to another persons’ right to a name, right to reputation, portrait right, right to privacy and other such personal rights and interests through the use of information networks. Continue reading

Virtual Lines in the Sand: China’s Demands for Internet Sovereignty

chinacopyrightandmedia:

Presenting the Standing Committee, a collective academic blog on all things China.

Originally posted on The Standing Committee:

Rogier Creemers

The Internet figured heavily in Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Brazil. With the push of a button, Xi and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil inaugurated the Portugese language service of Chinese search giant Baidu. The telecommunications technology company Huawei signed an agreement to create an R&D centre in Brazil, focusing on mobile, big data and security technology. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce corporation, is teaming up with Correios, the state-owned post company, to develop logistical procedures and payment services for Brazilian small businesses.

Xi also made Internet governance a main theme in his speech to the Brazilian National Congress. He reiterated China’s basic position that the sovereignty of individual countries should be the basis of international cooperation. “In the current world, the development of the Internet has posed new challenges to national sovereignty, security and development interests, and we must respond to this earnestly. Although the Internet has the…

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SAPPRFT Reiterates Provisions concerning the Management of Online Foreign Television Dramas

A few days ago, SAPPRFT issued a Notice reiterating provisions concerning the management of online foreign television dramas, which demanded that for foreign television dramas used for dissemination on the Internet and other such information networks, a “Public Film Screening Permit” and a “Television Drama Distribution Permit” must be obtained according to the law. Foreign television dramas for which no “Public Film Screening Permit” or “Television Drama Distribution Permit” has been obtained, may not be disseminated online without exception.

The “Notice” points out that, in order to make online culture develop and flourish, at the same time as inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent cultural traditions, [we must] vigorously absorb the world’s advanced cultural achievements, and encourage Internet audiovisual programme service websites meeting conditions to import and distribute appropriate amounts of foreign television dramas with healthy content, good production levels, which carry forward the true, the good and the beautiful, and satisfy the popular masses’ daily increasing spiritual cultural needs. Continue reading

SIIO Director’s Five Priorities for Internet Development

Between 26 and 28 August, the 2014 China Internet Conference took place in the Beijing International Conference Centre. State Internet Information Office Vice-Director Ren Xianliang delivered an address at the opening ceremony of this Conference.

Respected Minister Miao, Minister Shang and Academician Wu, guests, friends:

Good morning everyone!

The 2014 China Internet Conference ceremoniously starts here today, this is a grand occasion for our country’s Internet circles this year. I sincerely represent the State Internet Information Office in expressing warm congratulations for the successful convention of the Conference.

Since it was first organized in 2002, successive Internet Conferences have been closely tied up with trends in the sector’s development, have incessantly explored and innovated, its content has become ever richer, its forms have become ever more diverse, which fully reflects the huge achievements made in our country’s Internet development, it has become a distinguished gathering for the sector to jointly discuss major affairs on Internet development, and has played a positive role in deepening cooperation and exchange, stimulating sectoral innovation, and moving the sector’s development forward.

This Conference’s theme is “creating limitless opportunities – forging an economic era for a new age”, which gives prominence to the important position and role of the Internet in assisting economic development, stimulating social transformation and enriching the lives of the common people. This topic is very important, I hope everyone fully uses the platform that this Conference created to jointly explore channels to innovate information technology, safeguard cybersecurity and move informatization forward, and to promote the continued healthy development of China’s Internet.

In the 20 years since China’s complete access to the international Internet, our country’s Internet has seen developments at flying speed, and it has become the largest Internet country in the world with 6332 million netizens. At present, the Internet has merged into every aspect of social life, it has profoundly changed economic and social development, and people’s production and living methods, it has promoted the innovation of social management and the modernization of the governing system, and brought unprecedented new opportunities and new challenges to Chinese society.

In the beginning of this year, the Centre established the Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, General Secretary Xi Jinping personally took up the post of director of this Leading Group, at the first meeting of the Leading Group on 27 February, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the important judgment that “without cybersecurity, there is not national security, without informatization, there is no modernization”, he stressed that our strategic objective is to build a strong network country, and the strategic deployment to build a strong network country must advance in step with the “Two Centuries” struggle objective. This fully reflects the firm determination of the Party and the State in protecting cybersecurity and promoting the development of informatization. The Centre is paying great attention to cybersecurity and informatization work, which as also placed great expectations on Internet circles. We must deeply comprehend the spirit of the Centre, closely follow the tide of the technological revolution in information technology worldwide, and vigorously throw ourselves into constructing a strong network country.

Here, I would like to raise a few points of opinion, and exchange and explore them with everyone.

First, we must make innovation into the perpetual thread of Internet development. When looking over the history of the Internet’s development, every technological breakthrough is the result of people diligently seeking out incessant innovations. It can be said that innovation is the genome of the Internet, and the source of the Internet’s vitality and vigour. There are no limits to the development of the Internet, neither are there limits to innovation, we must now squarely face up to the great opportunities brought by a new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial change. In the area of the Internet, we must urgently accelerate the implementation of the strategy to drive development with innovation, with participation from many sides, working hand in hand, and jointly forge a cyberspace that is full of vigour and rich in innovation.

We must promote the close integration of Internet innovation and economic and social development, encourage and support, small, mid-size and micro-enterprises to vigorously participate and compete, stimulate the vitality of the market, lay stress on giving rein to the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, and ensure that enterprises truly become the core and backbone forces in Internet innovation. We must persist in a problem-based orientation, closely follow new global Internet science and technology development trends, clarify the direction of the main attack in Internet innovation, enhance original innovation, integrated innovation, and import-digestion-re-innovation capacities, and seize the commanding heights in Internet science and technology competition and future development. We must strive to improve the environment for talent development, improve talent evaluation and incentive mechanisms, establish and complete talent fostering systems, select, use and employ talents well, and strengthen the knowledge support driving Internet innovation. We must strengthen international innovation, further accelerate the pace of “bringing in” and “marching out”, actively participate in global science and technology exchange and cooperation, support enterprises in establishing research and development bodies overseas, and vigorously merge them into global innovation networks.

Second, we must make media convergence into an important part of Internet development. The development of the Internet has promoted the cross-boundary convergence of traditional media and new media, the converged development of traditional media and new media has become an important trend in the development of Internet content. Promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is an urgent and strategic task, we must establish integrated development ideas, and do more exploratory work to promote the convergence of traditional media and new media in areas including content channels, platforms, operations and management.

We must persist in Internet thinking, act on the basis of the development laws of new media, plan and move work in all areas forward, we must fully use the most advanced network technology means to transform traditional media, innovate information dissemination models, and occupy the commanding heights of information dissemination, including using microblogs, WeChat and other such platforms, operate good legal persona accounts, and broaden user scope; use big data and cloud computing technology in the production, storage and distribution if news products; under the precondition of respecting user privacy, provide individualized and localized news services grounded in the people’s needs, enhance news and propaganda effects in the mobile Internet environment.

We must persist in using advanced technology as support and content construction as the root. New Internet technologies and new businesses emerge incessantly, and change information carriers and forms, yet what remains unchanged is the competitive rule that “content is king”. We must give rein to the superiorities of traditional media and new media, fully utilize new technologies and new methods, develop through convergence, and give rein to traditional media’s strengths in areas such as information gathering, analysis and interpretation to the greatest extent, at the same time, we must use new media’s forms of expression and dissemination methods to display news and information products better.

We must persist in differentiated strategies, and march the path of characteristic development. There is no one model or path for converged media development, different media forms and different media organs must strengthen the extent to which they suit measures to local conditions, explore pluralisation, formulate development strategies suited to the characteristics of each, draft roadmaps and timelines, get onto the path of differentiated converged development as soon as possible, and avoid homogenized, malicious competition.

Third, we must make security into a powerful guarantee for Internet development. Security is the precondition for innovation and the guarantee for development, it is the Internet’s “lifeline” and an indication of core competitiveness. At present, our country’s faces a very severe cybersecurity situation. Up to now, our country has not formed indigenous and controllable computer technology, software technology and electronic technology systems, core technology and crucial services used in important information systems and crucial infrastructure still rely on the outside world. The servers, storage equipment, operating systems and data bases of our government departments and important industries are mainly foreign products, and it is difficult to be optimistic about the cybersecurity situation.

Our country is one of the main victims of cyber attacks, a report from the National Internet Emergency Response Centre indicates that the number of alterations and backdoor attacks against our country’s Internet sites has shown a rising trend for successive years, while government websites have become an important target for attacks. The absolute majority of cybersecurity threats emerge from website information systems and are especially induced by using security leaks existing in systems, some relatively well-known media, finance and payment bodies have become the target of imitation websites, bringing real threats to national information security and financial security.

Grasping indigenous, controllable, secure and trustworthy core Internet technology is the key in realistically guaranteeing cyber and information security, and even national security. In the area of core technology, especially in the areas of chips and operating systems, we must – from the height of safeguarding national security – expand our capability to tackle strategic technological problems, and bring out our own competitive products. Perfect security protection systems, build strong “dikes and dams”, guard “the passes” well, and block “back doors”.

On the other hand, network and information security are not limited to the technical level, they also involve cultural and ideological security, which merit our high attention. The fragmented and high-speed development of network technology has led to major changes in the media structure and the public opinion ecology. All kinds of new technology platforms fostered on the Internet have enabled ever more people to become used to obtaining information through mobile phones and other mobile terminals, new media’s ability to set discussion topics and influence public opinion has progressively strengthened, challenging traditional media’s capacity for public opinion guidance. At the same time, the openness characteristic of the Internet has stimulated the cross-border flow of information, all kinds of ideologies and cultures are interacting, mingling and clashing on a global scale, on a daily intensifying basis. In Internet culture dissemination, we should strengthen our national identification, ethnic identification, political identification and cultural identification, protect our “cultural borders” and defend the country’s cultural security and ideological security.

Fourth, we must make responsibility into an inherent demand of the Internet’s development. The development of the Internet has enriched every one of us, stimulating the Internet’s healthy and sustained development is a responsibility that all walks of society must shoulder. Government controlling departments must take a leading role, and build, manage and use the Internet well, promote the construction of a national network legal system, and strive to build a good ecological environment for the Internet. Internet enterprises shall have a central role, abide by laws, regulations and sector norms, respect social responsibility, observe commercial ethics, move trust-building forward, and provide core competitiveness for the sustainable development of China’s Internet. Sector associations shall play a nodal and promoting role, participate in public service, carry out solid sector surveys and research, unite industrial circles, and launch sector self-discipline activities in a characteristic and influential manner. The broad netizens shall vigorously participate in cyber governance, and must ensure they use the web in a civilized manner, express themselves reasonably, observe the “seven baseline” and vigorously transmit positive energy.

Fifth, we must make the rule of law into a firm basis of Internet governance. On the global level, in the area of governance, through many years of exploration and practice, all countries have shaped management models with law at the basis, which comprehensively use technological, economic, administrative and many other kinds of means. In our country, governing the Internet according to the law is a concrete reflection and demand in the Internet area of ruling the country according to the law.

For many years, our country’s government has persisted in management according to the law, and scientific management of the Internet, it has striven to perfect the Internet management system, and promulgated a series of laws and regulations, which provided norms for the responsibilities and duties of basic telecommunications operators, Internet access service providers, Internet information providers, Internet users and other actors, and provide legal guarantees to build a healthy, civilized, harmonious and orderly network ecology and environment.

But generally speaking, our country’s Internet legislation still faces the problems that it is insufficiently up-to-date, it is not strongly systematized, and the status of law remains relatively low, it is especially so that, following the rapid development of new Internet technologies and businesses, related legal problems have emerged in quick succession, such as difficulties in gathering evidence after netizens’ property rights are infringed, disputes existing over jurisdictional powers in Internet tort cases, difficulties of applicable law in cross-border network crimes, etc. We must integrate the networks’ globalization, virtualization, dynamization and other such characteristics, as well as the newest trends in Internet development, strengthen top-level design, build and Internet legal system, earnestly conduct surveys and research, focus on aspects such as crucial infrastructure, Internet resources, information security, junk information, online copyright, e-commerce, cybercrime and other areas, and timely carry out corresponding legislation and legal revision work.

Comrades, friends! Our country’s realization of the transition from being a large network country to being a strong network country is inseparable from the powerful leadership of the Party and the government, and is inseparable from the joint efforts of the industry and the vigorous participation of all walks of society. The universe is boundless, the Milky Way is resplendent. In a future era when everything is connected, it will be the Internet that connects heaven, earth and humankind, and every one of us will be a weaver of this “web”, let us cooperate in jointly building an even brighter tomorrow for China’s Internet.

Thank you, everyone!

Latest Updates

Monitoring and Evaluation Standards for the Protection of Personal Information by Internet Enterprises (Chinese Law Association on Science and Technology, Peking University Institute for Internet Law, 2014)

Notice concerning Punishing Criminal Activities of Infringement of Citizens’ Personal Information According to the Law (Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, 2013)

State Council General Office Notice concerning Establishing a Leading Group for National Informatization Work (State Council, 1999)

State Council General Office Notice concerning Establishing the State Council Leading Group for Informatization Work (State Council, 1996)

Central Reform Leading Group Approves Media Convergence Plan

On Monday 18 August, the Central Leading Group for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform – established in the wake of the 18th Party Congress – met for the 4th time. Among the documents it approved is a programme to integrate different media sectors, the “Guiding Opinions for the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” (关于推动传统媒体和新兴媒体融合发展的指导意见). As is common with this kind of document, these Guiding Opinions have not been published. However, Xinhua today published a short summary of some of the main points:

The “Opinions” point out that integrating news media resources and promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is an important task in implementing the Centre’s deployment concerning comprehensively deepening reform and moving reform and innovation in the propaganda and cultural sphere forward, and is an important measure to adapt to the profound changes in the media structure and improve the communication strength, credibility, influence and public opinion guidance ability of mainstream media. Converged development ensures that our mainstream media can scientifically use advanced communications technology, strengthen information production and service capacities, even better communicate the voice of the Party and the government, and satisfy the popular masses’ information demands even better.

The “Opinions” point out that in promoting converged media development, we must abide by the laws of news communication and the development laws of new media, strengthen Internet thinking, persist in the correct orientation and public opinion guidance, persist in comprehensive planning and coordination, persist in innovative development, persist in integrated development, and persist in using advanced technology as support.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must put technological construction and content construction in an equally important position, we must comply with the mobilization, social mediatization and audiovisualization trends of Internet communications, vigorously use big data, cloud computing and other such new technologies, develop mobile clients, mobile websites and other such new applications and new business models to incessantly raise technological development levels, use new technology to lead the converged development of media, and drive the transformation and improvement of media. At the same time, we must adapt to the communications characteristics of new media, strengthen content construction, innovate newsgathering and editing workflows, optimize information services, and win the development superiority through content superiority.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must act according to the demands of moving matters forward vigorously, scientific development, standardized management, and guaranteeing orientations, promote the profound integration of traditional media and new media in areas such as content, channels platforms, operations and management, strive to forge a batch of new-type mainstream media with diverse forms, advanced methods and competitiveness, build a number of new-type media groups having strong force, communication strength, credibility and influence, and shape a three-dimensional, diverse and modernized communications system with converged development. We must grasp convergence with one hand and management with one hand, and guarantee that converged development proceeds in the correct direction from beginning to end.

Media convergence – the ability to access different forms of content through various channels and gadgets – has gained in priority after its inclusion in the Decision on reform that was taken at last year’s 3rd Plenum. In April, Central Propaganda Department director Liu Qibao published a long essay on the topic, while Xinhua released a first annual report on the converged development of China’s new media a few weeks ago.

This convergence policy is a direct consequence of the growth of China’s social media and the development of technology. Throughout the early 2000s, China’s traditional propaganda outlets remained preoccupied with classical media forms, including print and broadcasting, while paying less attention to developing Internet-specific technologies and approaches. But the rapid price drop of smartphones and the expansion of mobile broadband meant that fewer and fewer audiences obtained their information through legacy channels. Furthermore, these new platforms enabled netizens not only to obtain, but also to generate information. This fostered the successive proliferation of Weibo and WeChat, platforms where the government’s voice was relatively absent. Weibo came to public prominence through its role in events such as the 2011 Wenzhou train crash, leading some observers to openly speculate that the Party would no longer be able to control and contain the spread of information.

The Party recognised the impact of social media and the difficulty that it faced in maintaining dominance in the sphere of public opinion, and particularly since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, launched a succession of policy initiatives and campaigns to tame the autonomy of online media and mobilise it for its own purpose. It went after Weibo first: a well-publicised campaigns against “Big Vs” – online celebrities and opinion leaders not affiliated with the state – curtailed political discourse on the platform, chasing many influential voices to the comparatively much more private environment of WeChat. Simultaneously, local governments and departments were encouraged to set up their own Weibo accounts, in order to more closely engage with their populations. More recently, WeChat came into the spotlight: in March, a number of popular public accounts were blocked, while recent new regulations impose real name obligations for all users, and a licensing process for public accounts.

Having largely eliminated the autonomous public voices that Weibo and WeChat rendered possible, this convergence programme now seems aimed to reconstruct public discourse in the Party’s image. This is a multi-pronged initiative, which encompasses news and current affairs, but also central and local government-society communications. The convergence programme seems mainly oriented towards the former, as the propaganda leadership aims to re-establish dominance in the area of news and current affairs, with its traditional content providers – People’s Daily, CCTV and Xinhua – in the lead. These outlets are encouraged to develop interactive and audiovisual content, such as the cartoon about China’s leadership selection process that garnered quite a bit of attention last year, and to create mobile client apps and websites to present their content to audiences in a more attractive manner. The objective: to render a picture of normality that is subconsciously accepted by China’s population, without having to resort to overt indoctrination. As a People’s Daily editorial put yesterday:

Media communication work essentially is the work of creating people’s thoughts. Invisible propaganda is the most brilliant communication. Coercion is ineffective, only by bringing life as the spring breeze and rain, by silently watering everything is it possible to reach people’s hearts.

It is not yet clear how this initiative is supposed to be realised in practice, and the published announcements remain vague in their descriptions of policy measures and specific objectives. It is purported that convergence will result in “a batch of new-type, competitive mainstream media with diverse forms and advanced methods, a number of new media groups that are strong in power, dissemination strength, credibility and influence, and a modern communication system that is three-dimensional and diverse, with converged development”. To this end, reports indicate that the leadership will rely on the expertise in the generation of correct content of traditional media enterprises, as well as the capabilities that private technology and media companies have built up in developing marketshare and creating attractive products for users. In other words, there seems to be a growing recognition that the Party and state do not need to be in charge of the entire value chain, as long as they are able to intelligently use solutions developed elsewhere for their own purposes.

There are indications that this will lead to an approach not too dissimilar to the tack taken to attract foreign technology over the past decades: allowing private players access to profitable markets under conditions where they have to cooperate with state-owned enterprises, for instance in the form of joint ventures. In his April article, Liu Qibao indicated that it would be more efficient for the administration to use existing smartphone technology, social media platforms and app stores, rather than invent its own, which possibly implies greater efforts to co-opt China’s Internet giants into the state-directed system.  The People’s Daily quotes  Yu Guoming, a professor of journalism at Renmin University of China:

Concerning the convergence between the networks of the future and communication media, Yu Guoming said that in the future, mergers between websites and traditional media will become necessary. There are three main points for future development. The first is good content, this is the strong suit of traditional media; the second is technological support, the third is insights into users, traditional media themselves have insufficient insight into the market, and Internet companies are extremely strong, they are the most able to develop the market through big data and many other such methods.

In any case, share prices of state media enterprises have gone up considerably. This is not strange, given the fact that this announcement effectively means that more investment will be poured into central media enterprises, and they will be given privileged positions in important developing information-based markets. One previous example is the People’s Daily Public Sentiment Monitoring Office, which now dominates the highly lucrative market for reports on public opinion. Similar possibilities for other companies are tantalising prospects for investors. For citizens, it signals yet another advance for a technocratic regime that uncannily resembles Huxley’s imagination.

People’s Daily People’s Commentary: Only by Embracing Convergence Can Traditional Media Have a Tomorrow

Li Haoran

News employees can hardly contain their excitement, all kinds of interpretative articles successively “fill the screen”, shares of People’s Daily Online and other media are trading up… As soon as the news that the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform deliberated and passed the “Guiding Opinions concerning Promoting the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” at its 4th meeting was published, it attracted close attention from various circles.

As early as last year, the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress clearly pointed out: “integrate news media resources, promote the converged development of traditional media and new media”. This passing of the Guiding Opinions undoubtedly means a further detailed implementation of the reform deployment of the Plenum. This both lets people see the determination and courage of the Centre in firmly moving forward with real knives and real guns, and gives prominence to how urgent vigorous planning and arranging matters as early as possible is in an ever-changing communication structure. Continue reading

People’s Daily: Telling China’s Story Well in a New Converged Media Structure

This article was originally published in People’s Daily on 19 August

Guo Ping

As the “lowered head tribe” are ambling through the torrent of information, they might not yet have paid attention to the fact that media themselves are seeing a profound change.

From the People’s Daily client coming online ceremoniously to the wind and waves stirred up in a short time by ThePaper.cn, and again to a number of Internet portal websites’ resigning themselves to “also being traditional media” as new media swiftly storm the beaches, the harbinger of media transformation have arrived everywhere already. And the starting gun has officially gone off on 18 August 2014. This day and this year will be written into the annals of history as the first year of converged media development in China. Continue reading

SIIO Spokesperson’s Comments concerning the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services”

This interview was originally posted on the Xinhua website.

The State Internet Information Office convened a press conference on the 7th, to announce the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services” (hereafter simply named “Regulations”), which imposes standards on instant messaging service providers, user services and user conduct, and puts forward clear management demands for engaging in public information service activities through instant messaging tools. To this end, a Xinhua journalist interviewed a SIIO spokesperson. Continue reading