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