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!