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.