The Major Significance and Basic Experience of Shaping a Socialist Legal System with Chinese Characteristics
I, Fully understand the important significance of shaping a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics
Developing Socialist democracy and completing a Socialist legal system are important strategic tasks for building Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since the establishment of the new China and especially in the thirty years of reform and opening up, under the correct leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and through the persistent and unwavering common efforts of all sides, our country’s legislation work has gained huge achievements that attracted the attention of the world. In 1982, the present Constitution was passed, after this, on the basis of the development requirements of objective circumstances, parts of the content of the Constitution were revised four times in total. By the end of 2010, our country had formulated the current 236 valid laws, more than 690 administrative regulations and more than 8600 local regulations, and completely accomplished the concentrated clean-up work of current laws and administrative regulations, as well as local regulations. At present, legal departments covering all aspects of social relationships are complete, fundamental and important laws in all legal departments have been formulated, corresponding administrative regulations and local regulations are relatively complete, and generally, the integration of science and harmony has been achieved inside the legal system. A Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics that is based on China’s national circumstances and reality, that is suited to the requirements of reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction, that concentrates and reflects the aspirations of the Party and the people, with the Constitution as commander-in-chief, with laws related to the Constitution, civil law, commercial law and laws in other legal departments as backbone, composed of laws, administrative regulations, local regulations and laws and regulations at many other levels has been shaped, it has been realized that there are laws to follow in all aspects of national economic construction, political construction, cultural construction, social construction as well as ecological civilization construction. This is an important milestone in the history of our country’s Socialist democratic legal system construction, and has a major practical significance and a profound historical significance.
First, the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is the legal system basis for the ever-flourishing colours of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Integrating the basic principles of Marxism with the concrete reality of China, marching our own path and constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics are the basic conclusions gained from our Party’s summary of historical experience, and are the only correct path for our country to develop and progress. To persist in the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the most important is that we must persist in the correct political orientation, and do not waver in major principles involving the basic national system, etc. Once we waver, we will not only be unable to talk about modernization construction, but the development achievements that have already been obtained may be lost, and the country may even fall into the abyss of internal chaos. The Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics has, using the form of the Constitution and the laws, established the basic system and basic tasks of the country, has established the leading position of the Chinese Communist Party, has established the guiding position of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important “Three Represents” thought, it has established the national system of the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class, with unity between workers and peasants as the basis, it has established the political system of the People’s Congress structure, it has established that all State power belongs to the people, and the broad rights and freedoms that citizens enjoy according to the law, it has established the multi-Party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the regional ethnic autonomy system as well as the grass-rots masses self-autonomy system, it has established the basic economic system of public ownership at the core, jointly developing with many kinds of ownership systems, and the allocation system of allocation according to labour at the core, jointly existing with many kinds of allocation systems. Starting from the Chinese national circumstances, it earnestly reflects that we will not do multi-Party rotational governance, not do pluralisation of the guiding ideology, not do “separation of three powers” or a bicameral system, not do federalism and not do privatization. The forming of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics has rammed down a legal system basis to found the state and rejuvenate the country, for a long period of peace and order, it guarantees in structural and legal terms that the Chinese Communist Party is the leading core of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics from beginning to end, it guarantees that all State power is closely grasped in the hands of the people, it guarantees the independence of the nation, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State, it guarantees national unity, social stability and the great unity of all ethnicities, it guarantees persisting in an independent, autonomous and peaceful foreign affairs policy, and marching a peaceful development path, it guarantees that the country will always forge valiantly ahead in the correct direction of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Second, the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is the reflection of a legal system innovated and practiced by Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Reform and opening up are the key choices that our Party has made in leading the people of all ethnicities in the entire country, that decide the fate of China at present, is the path that must be followed in developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and a new lively vitality for Socialism. Over the last thirty years, we have persisted in putting economic construction at the centre, completely moved reform and opening up forward, successfully realized the magnificent historical transformation from a highly concentrated planned economic structure to a socialist market economic structure that is full of vitality, and from being closed or half-closed to complete openness, we have mustered the tremendous vigour of hundreds of millions of people, we have liberated and developed tremendous social productive forces,, our country continues to develop forwards at speeds that are rare in the world. We have timely brought the practice and experience of reform and opening up, and Socialist modernization construction into laws, have progressed with the times, and have, on the basis of new situations and new issues emerging in reform and opening up, fully given rein to the standardizing, guiding, guaranteeing and stimulating functions of the law in formulating and perfecting corresponding laws and systems in promoting the transformation of economic development methods, promoted administration according to the law and a fair judiciary, promoting the construction of a society that focuses on guaranteeing and improving people’s livelihoods, promoting the great development and great flourishing of Socialist culture, and promoting the harmonious interaction between people and nature, and other areas. The formation Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics guarantees in systemic and legal terms that the country persists in the correct orientation of reform and opening up from beginning to end, strives to build structures and mechanisms that are full of vitality, rich in efficiency, that are even more open and benefit scientific development, and promote the incessant self-perfection and development of our country’s Socialist system.
Third, the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is the legal system guarantee for the flourishing and growth of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Realizing modernization is the beautiful desire of which one generation of Chinese people after another dreamt and the struggle objective to which we continue to adhere. In the thirty years of reform and opening up, we have opened up the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and have shaped the theoretical structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, this is the basic reason for our gaining all achievements and progress. We have held high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics from beginning to end, we have not feared any risk, we have not been misled by any interference, we have concentrated our attention on construction, and have wholeheartedly sought development, by the year 2020, we will build a moderately prosperous society of an even higher level for hundreds of millions of people, and by the middle of the century, we will basically realize modernization. The development achievements that we have already achieved are inseparable from the guarantees of the legal system, our sparing no effort to initiate an even more beautiful future is also inseparable from the guarantees of the legal system. The formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics has brought the development of all of the country’s undertakings onto the track of legalization, it has resolved fundamental, comprehensive, stability-related and long-term problems brought on by the development of the country in systemic and legal terms, and has established a clear value orientation, development orientation and basic path for the incessant perfection of the Socialist market economy, the deep development of Socialist democratic politics, the daily flourishing of advanced Socialist culture and the vigorous construction of a Socialist harmonious society, and has laid down a firm legal system basis for the construction of a Socialist modernized country that is rich, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious, and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation
The formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is a major achievement obtained by the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership of hundreds of millions of people in developing Socialist democracy and completing the Socialist legal system. The first generation of the central Party leadership collective with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core has led the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to undergo a long period of fighting bloody battles, established the People’s Republic of China, formulated the “Common Programme of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” and the first constitution of the new China, it established the basic national system, and established a basic political precondition and systemic basis for the establishment of the Socialist democratic legal system construction and the formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. The second generation of the central Party leadership collective with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core deeply summarized the painful lessons from the “Great Cultural Revolution”, and at the same time as making the policy decision of shifting the focus of Party and State work to economic construction and implementing reform and opening up, determined the policy of strengthening the construction of the Socialist democratic legal system as an unwavering policy, stressed the necessity of systematization and legalization of Socialist democracy, ensured that this sort of system and law did not change because of change in leaders, and did not change because of a change in leaders’ viewpoints and attention, it achieved that there was law to rely on, that law must be followed, law enforcement must be strict, and law-breaking must be punished, it opened up a new period of prospering and development in the construction of the Socialist democratic legal system. The third generation of the central Party leadership collective with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core led the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country into pushing the successes of the magnificent undertaking of reform and opening up towards the 21st Century, incessantly enriched and developed the construction and thoughts of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, first, it made governing the country according to the law into a basic strategy for the Party’s leading the people in governing the country, it made the Socialist rule of law country into an important content for Socialist modernization construction, and clearly put forward the legislative work objective of forming the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by 2010, which opened up a new phase in Socialist democratic legal system construction. Since the 16th Party Congress, the Party Centre with Comrade Hu Jintao at the core has carry forward the cause and forged into the future, progressed with the times, and has unwaveringly continued to push forward the great cause of reform and opening up in completely constructing a moderately prosperous society, it put forward the major strategic though of the scientific development view and the major strategic task of building a harmonious Socialist society, it completely implemented the basic strategy of governing the country according to the law, stressed that the most essential matter in developing Socialist democratic politics is organically integrating persisting in the leadership of the Party, letting the people master their own affairs, and governing the country according to the law, and has initiated a new picture for the construction of a Socialist democratic legal system.
Forming the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is the result of a long period of common efforts from all sides. The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee have earnestly implemented the duties entrusted to then by the Constitution and the law, have incessantly strengthened and improved legislative work, have strived to raise legislative quality, and have done great amounts of highly effective work for the forming of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. The State Council has adapted to the requirements of economic and social development and legal implementation, and has timely formulated administrative regulations according to the law, local People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees have integrated the reality of their localities, formulated large amounts of local regulations according to the law, and have made important contributions to the formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. All local levels’ People’s Governments, all levels’ Peoples Courts and People’s Procuratorates, as well as the military and other sides, the broad popular masses, experts and scholars have forcefully supported and vigorously participated in legislative work, and have contributed wisdom and strength to the formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.
II, Earnestly summarizing the basic experience of forming the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics
The 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, starting from the urgent need to develop Socialist democracy and completing the Socialist legal system, clearly put forward that the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee should put legislative work on the important matters agenda, since then, our country’s legislative activities have completely recovered and rapidly unfolded. The 15th Party Congress, standing on the height of implementing the strategy of governing the country according to the law and constructing a Socialist rule of law country, clearly pot forward the legislative work agenda to form the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by 2010. The 17th Party Congress stressed the necessity to persist in scientific legislation and democratic legislation, perfecting the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, unwaveringly persisting in developing Socialist democratic rule of law, and put forward new requirements on legislative work in new periods. In the 30 years of reform and opening up, under the leadership of the Party Centre, we have successfully marched a legislative path with Chinese characteristics. We have persisted in the organic integration of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and governing the country according to the law, closely revolved around the larger picture of Party and State work, developed legislative work in a planned, focused and gradual manner, and only used a few decades of time to form the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, the gravity of the legislative task was rarely seen in the world, an unprecedented multitude of difficulties were overcome, the achievements were hard-earned, and experiences were rather precious. The most important experiences here come under five headings.
First, persist in the leadership of the Party. The Chinese Communist Party is the leading core of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The leadership of the Party is the basic guarantee for the people to master their own affairs and governing the country according to the law, and is the basic guarantee to strengthen the construction of a democratic legal system and do legislative work well. The leadership of the Party mainly is political, ideological and organization guidance, through formulating major policies, putting forward legislative suggestions, recommending important cadres, conducting ideological propaganda, giving rein to the function of Party organizations and Party members, persisting in governance according to the law, and implementing the leadership of the Party over country and society. Our Party represents the basic interest of the broadest people, the major policies formulated by the Party and the legislative suggestions it puts forward concentrate the collective wisdom of the entire Party and the entire country, and reflect the common aspirations of the broadest people. Persisting in the leadership of the Party is completely consistent with submitting to the interest of the people. In legislative work, our persisting in the leadership of the Party enables the standpoints of the Party to become the volition of the law through statutory procedures, and become a behavioural norm and principle that the entire society abides by as one, in systemic and legal terms, guaranteeing the implementation of the Party’s line, principles and policies, guarantees the smooth conduct of reform and opening up, and Socialist modernization construction. We closely revolve around the central task of the Party and the State in comprehensively planning legislative work, scientifically formulating legislative plans and legislative planning, vigorously move focus legislative programmes forward, guaranteeing the implementation major Party and State policy decisions and deployments. Legislative procedures are timely started for legislative suggestions put forward by the Party Centre, firmly implementing the Centre’s intentions and satisfactorily completing the political tasks handed over by the Centre. Focus and difficult issues encountered in legislation are reported to the Party Centre. In short, all of our laws and regulations have been formulated under the Party’s leadership, all laws and regulations that we formulate must benefit strengthening and improving the Party’s leadership, benefit the consolidation and perfection of the Party’s governing position and benefit guaranteeing that the Party leads the people in effectively governing the country.
Second, persisting in taking the theoretical structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics as guidance. Law is the systematization, standardization and proceduralization of the Party’s line, principles and policies that practice has proven to be correct, mature and require long-term implementation. Persisting in the correct guiding ideology is the basic precondition for strengthening the construction of a democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. The theoretical structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a scientific theoretical structure including Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought as well as the scientific development view and other major strategic ideologies, it is the newest achievement of the Sinification of Marxism, it is the most precious political and spiritual treasure of our Party, and its the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the people of all ethnicities from the entire country, it is the guiding ideology that we must persist in for the long term, and is the basic principle for us to do all work well. In legislative work, we must from beginning to end persist in taking the theoretical structure of Socialism with Chinese characteristics as guidance, use this to unify ideological understanding and determine legislative lines of thought, in terms of the guiding ideology of legislation, we integrate the Four Cardinal Principles with persisting in reform and opening up from beginning to end, integrate persisting in the basic Socialist system with developing the market economy, integrate promoting reform of the economic basis with promoting reform in the superstructure, integrate raising efficiency with stimulating social justice, integrate stimulating reform and development with maintaining social stability, integrate persisting in independence and autonomy with participating in economic globalization, to guarantee that the laws and regulations we formulate benefit the consolidation and perfection of the Socialist system, benefit the liberation and development of social productive forces, and benefit giving rein to the superiority of the Socialist system.
Third, persisting in starting from China’s national circumstances and reality. Law belongs to the superstructure, it is decided by the economic base and served the economic base. Persisting in starting from our country’s national circumstances and reality is an objective requirement for strengthening the construction of a democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. Our country is in and will remain for a long time in a primary stage of Socialism, reform, opening up and Socialist modernization are conducted on the basis of the facts that the population is high and the starting point is low, following the deep development of the undertaking of modernization construction, a series of new phase-related characteristics have emerged in our country’s economy and society, we must not only make great efforts to resolve deep contradictions and problems that have accumulated for a long time, but we must also appropriately respond to new situations and new themes that we face in development, the tasks of reform, development and stability are extremely onerous and huge. In legislative work, we persist in starting from our country’s national conditions and reality from beginning to end, make the magnificent practice of reform, opening up and Socialist modernization into a basis for legislation, closely revolve around this central task of economic construction, closely revolve around the struggle objective of completely constructing a moderately prosperous society, and closely revolve around promoting stimulating development and stimulating social harmony in unfolding legislative work. Correctly grasping the relationship between reform, development and stability, appropriately dealing with the relationship between legal stability and practical variability, appropriately dealing with the relationship between the farsighted nature and feasibility of the law, guarantee that legislative processes are adapted to the process of reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction. Where practical experience is relatively mature, and the understanding from all side is relatively consistent, regulations that are a bit more concrete, strengthens the operability of the law. Where practical experience is not yet mature but in reality, there is a need for law to conduct standardization, regulations are to be more principles at first, in order to guide practical provision of standards and guarantees, and in order to leave some space for deepening reform, when conditions are mature, revision and supplements can be made. Where conditions are not yet there for using law to standardize some new situations and new problems met in reform and development, formulate administrative regulations and local regulations first according to statutory powers, conduct advanced trials, and when experience is gained and conditions become mature, laws are formulated. We also pay attention to researching and learning from foreign legislative experience, and attract those things that are beneficial and useful for us, but we will absolutely not copy things mechanically. All countries’ legal structures are different, we do not use the legal system of some Western countries to overlap with the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, where foreign legal systems have laws, but they do not conform to our country’s national circumstances and reality, we will not implement them; where foreign legal systems do not have laws, but they are needed in our country’s real life, we will timely formulate them.
Fourth, persisting in putting people first and legislating for the people. Reflecting the common aspiration of the people, guaranteeing that the people master their own affairs, and safeguarding the people’s basic rights and interests are concepts that the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics must have. Persisting in putting people first and legislating for the people, are the basic objectives for strengthening the construction of a democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. In legislative work, we persist in realizing, safeguarding and developing the basic rights and interests of the broadest people well from beginning to end into a starting point and stopover point, both in the legislative process and in legal norms, we persist in putting people first, respecting the dominant role of the people, respecting in the pioneering spirit of the people, draw wisdom from the people’s practice and creation, and gain impetus from the people’s development objectives. Correctly grasp the basic interest of the broadest people, the common interests of the masses in the current phase and the relationship between the special interests of different groups, correctly reflect and comprehensively plan the interests of groups on different sides, strive to resolve the problems of interests that the masses are most directly concerned about and are the most real. Correctly deal with the relationship between power and rights, and between power and responsibility, endow administrative organs, judicial organs and procuratorate organs with the necessary powers, and pay attention to standardizing, restricting and supervising the exercise of powers, realistically safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations. Persist in marching the path of the masses, deeply move scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, incessantly expand the orderly participation of the broad citizens in legislation, fully give rein to the function of People’s Congress representatives in legislation, broadly hear opinions from all sides and especially grass-roots masses, realistically achieve that wisdom is pooled and a consensus reached, to ensure that the laws and regulations we formulate fully reflect the common aspiration of the popular masses, and strengthen the mass basis for the implementation of laws and regulations.
Fifth, persisting in the unity of the Socialist legal system. Persisting in the unity of the Socialist legal system is an inherent requirement for strengthening the construction of a democratic legal system and doing legislative work well. Our country us a united, multi-ethnic, single-system country. The unity of the Socialist legal system is the basis for safeguarding national unity, ethnic unity and social stability, and for establishing a unified modern market system. At the same time, our country’s’ territory is vast, all localities’ economic, cultural and social development is unbalanced, and the country is in a period of deep reform. This basic national situation decides that the country implements a legislative structure which is unified and divided into tiers, which means entrusting the State Council with the powers to formulate administrative regulations and provincial-level People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees or People’s Congresses in relatively large cities and their Standing Committees with the powers to formulate local regulations, under the precondition of persisting in the fact that the National People’s Congress and its standing committee exercises national legislative powers in a centralized manner, and the locations of special economic zones are endowed with the powers to formulate special economic zone regulations and ethnic autonomous localities with the powers to formulate autonomous regulations and specific regulations. In this way, we safeguard the unity of the Socialist legal system, appropriately consider the characteristics of and differences between all localities, and fully muster the vigour of both the centre and the localities; we timely raise mature experiences from reform and opening up into law, and leave room for deepening reform. We persist in safeguarding the authoritative position of the Constitution as the basic law of the country from beginning to end, launch legislative work strictly according to statutory powers and in adherence to statutory procedures, at the same time as formulating laws and regulations, we have launched concentration and arrangement work of current laws and regulations, and strengthen filing and inspection of normative documents, in order to guarantee that laws, administrative regulations and local regulations do not conflict with the Constitution, guarantee that administrative regulations do not conflict with laws, guarantee that local regulations do not conflict with laws and administrative regulations, and guarantee that the provisions of laws and regulations are linked up and coordinated, do not contradict each other, to guarantee the unity of the Socialist legal system.
III, Deeply grasp the new circumstances and tasks facing the perfection of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics
After the formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, how to adapt to the requirements of economic and social development and Socialist legal system construction, continue to strengthen legislative work, raise legislative quality and perfect the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics are major topics put in front of us. We must persist in the successful experiences and effective methods used earlier, unify understanding, make persistent efforts, and throw ourselves into the magnificent practice of constructing a Socialist rule of law country with abundant political enthusiasm and a pragmatic work style, and incessantly create new pictures for legislative work from new starting points. Here, I’d like to stress three points.
The first point, legislation work tasks remain huge and formidable. Social practice is the basis of the law, law is the summary of practical experience. Social practice is boundless, legislative work must also incessantly move forward. Establishing Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a long-term historical task, perfecting the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is also a long-term historical task, which must develop in the footsteps of the development of the practice of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Moreover, the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics itself is not static, closed or determined, but it is dynamic, open and developing. New situations, new practices and new tasks have put forward new and even higher requirements for legislative work.
This is because: first, our country is in a historical process of deepening reform, on the path ahead, new situations and new issues of this or that sort will be encountered, some can be anticipated, some are hard to anticipate, we must both resolve the prominent issues we face at present, and must establish structures and mechanisms that benefit scientific development, the task of reform, development and stability remains arduous, the tasks of legislative work will not decrease, the difficulty will also not go down. Second, our country’s economic and social development has entered the “12th Five-Year Plan” period, the Centre has put forward that we must closely grasp and use well this important strategic opportunity period, guarantee that scientific development obtains new and striking progress, and guarantee that the transformation of economic development methods obtains substantial progress, and there is still major work to be done on how our legislative work can revolve around the economic and social development objectives and tasks in the “12th Five-Year Plan”, in terms of systemic and legal promotion of the implementation of major State policy deployments. Third, following the deep development of Socialist democratic politics, the people’s political participation and vigour has incessantly risen, their rights consciousness has strengthened ever more, their interest claims are incessantly becoming more concrete, their desire to participate in legislation is ever higher, and they have put forward ever higher requirements concerning doing legislative work well. We must also consider that our legal system, although it has been formed, is not yet complete and flawless itself, it constrains some issues where current laws must be revised, and problems where a number of supplementary regulations urgently need to be formulated, there are also a few issues where laws have not yet been rolled out, this is mainly because legislative conditions are not yet mature, understanding in various areas is incompletely consistent, and continuous exploration and accumulation of experience is necessary in practice. In short, legislative work can only be strengthened and cannot be weakened. Because of this, the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee must fully give rein to the function of the highest State powers and organs, exercise State legislative powers according to the law, strengthen organizational coordination of legislative work, supervise relevant sides in earnestly researching and resolving major issues touched upon in legislation, innovate legislative work lines of thought, perfect legislation work mechanisms, strengthen legislation work organ and team construction, incessantly raise the quality and level of legislative work.
The second point, putting revision and perfection of laws and formulating supplementary regulations in an even more prominent position. After the formation of the legal system, we shall put even more mental power towards the revision and perfection of laws, put them to the formulation and revision of supplementary regulations, and must naturally still formulate a number of new laws, in order to adapt to the requirements of new circumstances and developments, and promote the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics to move ahead with the time, become developed and perfected. In the present and future periods, we must strive to do work in three areas well.
First, we must put even more stress on the revision and perfection work of laws. Following the deep development of the economy and the society, some provisions of current laws are perhaps hard to adapt to new circumstances, and may even obstruct economic or social development, these must be timely revised and perfected. Some legal provisions were drafted in relatively principle-based manner earlier, after implementation for a period of time, the incessant accumulation of experience, the incessant deepening of understanding, there are conditions to revise them into something more concrete and clear, and with a stronger operative nature, the social relationships regulated by laws formulated in different periods may be similar or alike, and integration must be conducted of these laws on the basis of comprehensive research. Because of this, we must give high regard to legal revision and perfection work, this is both an inherent requirement of perfecting the legal system, and is an important task for legislative work in the next period. At the same time, we must, on the basis of summarizing trials and experiences, vigorously launch post-legislation appraisal work, and through many forms, objectively appraise the scientific nature of legal structures, the operability of legal provisions, the effectiveness of legal implementation, etc., in order to provide an important basis t revise and perfect laws and improve legislative work. Furthermore, we must also strengthen legal interpretation and legal compilation, arrangement and other work. Where legal provisions require further clear and concrete meanings, or new situations occur after the formulation of a law that requires a clear basis of applicable law, the text of legal provisions may be endowed with a more accurate and more focused connotation through timely making legislative interpretations, this is also an important work in guaranteeing the effective implementation of laws.
Second, we must supervise relevant side’s grasping of formulation work of supplementary regulations to laws. Administrative regulations and legal regulations are important component parts of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, make laws more detailed and supplement them, although some are pioneering or advance trials, most of them are supplementary to laws. We have already established work mechanisms to supervise the formulation of regulations supplementary to laws, we hope that relevant sides give this high regard, vigorously cooperate and grasp the formulation of regulations supplementing current laws according to the principles of legal provisions and on the basis of concentrating and arranging regulations. In the future, for all newly-formulated and newly-revised laws, the supplementary regulations must be drafted at the same pace as the legal draft, efforts must be made to timely roll them out after the passing of the law, in order to even better guarantee the effective implementation of the law.
Third, we must continue to do legal formulation work well. On order to adapt to the requirements of economic and social development, we must closely grasp researching and formulating laws to move the transformation of economic development methods forward, guarantee and improve the people’s livelihood, safeguard social harmony and stability, stimulate sustainable development and other aspects. We must earnestly summarize administrative regulation implementation experiences, and timely promote those where laws should be used to standardize and adjust matters, where legislative conditions are relatively mature and opinions from all sides are relatively consistent, into law. What must be pointed out here is that the methods to regulate social relationships are varied and manifold, apart from laws and regulations, there are also market mechanisms, social customs, moral standards as well as management experience, science, technology, etc., it isn’t the case that more laws is better, where it is possible to use other social regulation means to resolve problems, these should not and must not be resolved through legislation.
The third point, striding forward with a new pace in the areas of scientific legislation and democratic legislation. To perfect the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, we must continue to deepen moving scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, this not only is an important reflection of the people mastering their own affairs, it is also an important channel for raising legislative quality. The process of forming the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is the process of incessantly deepening scientific legislation and democratic legislation, and is a concentrated reflection of carrying forward Socialist democracy. During the first period of reform and opening up, the problem that there was no law to rely on was considerably prominent, and we put forward that “something is better than nothing” and “doing it fast is better than doing it slowly”, this was necessary and this was reasonable. Even under such circumstances, we have stressed that legislation must persist in marching the mass line and fully carried forward from beginning to end, when something became mature, we formulated something. After 30 years, we have accumulated many beneficial experiences in the areas of scientific legislation and democratic legislation, and this has had an extremely important function in raising legislative quality. We must earnestly summarize practical experience, deeply move scientific legislation and democratic legislation forward, strive to raise legislative quality, and incessantly perfect the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.
We must vigorously explore channels and means for the public to participate in legislation in an orderly manner, fully give rein to the function of hearings, argumentation meetings, forums, etc., to broadly solicit opinions and suggestions from all sides of society and especially the grass-roots masses, earnestly hear opinions and suggestions from experts and scholars, strive to raise the focus and efficiency of legislation, incessantly perfect work mechanisms to publish legislative drafts, establish and complete feedback mechanisms to capture public opinions, vigorously respond to social concerns, realistically strengthen the effect of public participation in legislation, make the legislative process into a process of legal dissemination. We must perfect work mechanisms for People’s Congress representatives to participate in legislation, integrate dealing with representatives’ motions and suggestions work formulating revision of laws, integrate inviting representatives to participate in Standing Committee activities with raising legislative drafting and deliberation quality, earnestly research and absorb opinions and suggestions put forward by representatives, fully give rein to the function of People’s Congress representatives in legislative work. We must incessantly perfect communication and coordination mechanisms for legislative drafting, fully give rein to the function of unified deliberation by legal committees and deliberation by specialized committees, muster the vigour of all sides and jointly do legislative work well. We must scientifically and reasonably determine legislative programmes, establish and complete legislative programme discussion systems. We must incessantly raise legal draft deliberation quality, legal drafting where legal relationships are relatively complex and the differences of opinion are relatively large, a positive and cautious attitude is to be adopted, deeply investigate those that need to be investigated, repeatedly consult where consultation is necessary, fully argue where argument is necessary, and only submit something for decision after consensus has basically been reached from all sides. We must perfect legislative techniques, unify legal layout, structure, and language use, and ensure that legal provisions are even more accurate, concise and standardized.
Here, I’d also like to stress the issue of implementation of law. The life of the law is in its implementation. The formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics has generally resolved the issue of having law to rely on, under this sort of situation, the issues that there is a law that must be observed, law enforcement must be strict and law-breaking must be prosecuted appear even more prominent and even more urgent, this is an issue that the broad popular masses pay widespread attention to, with strong reactions from all sides. Because of this, we must, at the same time as continuing to strengthen legislative work, adopt vigorous and effective measures to realistically guarantee the effective implementation of the Constitution and the laws. First, we must safeguard the authority and dignity of the Constitution and the laws. All State organs and armed forces, all parties and all social organizations, all enterprises, undertakings and groups must abide by the Constitution and the laws, no organization or individual may have privileges exceeding the Constitution and the laws, all acts violating the Constitution and the laws must be prosecuted. Second, we must persist in administration according to the law and a fair judiciary. State administrative organs must handle matters strictly according to statutory powers and procedures, and accelerate the construction of a rule of law government. State judicial organs and procuratorial organs must independently exercise their judicial powers and procuratorial powers according to the law, to safeguard social justice and fairness. Third, we must strengthen a sense of the law and the concept of rule of law in the whole society. Formulate and implement “Sixth Five-Year Plan” law popularization plans, deeply launch education on the Socialist rule of law concept, shape a social atmosphere for conscious study of law, observance of the law and use of the law. Let all levels’ leading cadres and State organ work personnel take the lead in respecting the Constitution and the law, be good at utilizing the law to resolve real problems existing in actual life, let the broad popular masses understand how to express their interest claims, and resolve contradictions and disputes according to procedure and according to the law, and use legal weapons to safeguard their own lawful rights and interests. The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee must exercise the important function of supervising the implementation of the Constitution and the laws according to the law, all local levels’ People’s Congresses and their Standing Committees must exercise the important tasks guaranteeing that the Constitution, laws and administrative regulations are respected and implemented in their administrative areas according to the law, an guarantee that all State organs truly use the powers entrusted to them by the people for the benefit of the people.
The achievement of forming a Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is brilliant, perfecting the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics will mean shouldering heavy responsibilities for a long time ahead. Let us closely unite around the Party Centre with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, deeply implement the spirit of the 17th Party Congress, persist in the integration of the leadership of the Party, letting the people manage their own affairs and governing the country according to the law, do not shy away from the mission, pioneer and progress, to perfect the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics from new starting points, and make new and even greater contributions to strengthening the construction of a Socialist legal system, implementing the basic plan of governing the country according to the law, and constructing a Socialist rule of law country!
(This is the speech that Comrade Wu Bangguo made on 24 January 2011 at the Forum on Forming the Socialist Legal System with Chinese Characteristics. At the time of publication, Seeking Truth made a few revisions, the title has been added by the Seeking Truth editor.)