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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
XGCF No. (2014)122
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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
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
- 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!
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.
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.
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
Presenting the Standing Committee, a collective academic blog on all things China.
Originally posted on The Standing Committee:
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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2006-2020 National Informatization Development Strategy (Central Committee, State Council, 2006)
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
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!
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)
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.
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
This article was originally published in People’s Daily on 19 August
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
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