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Provide Sound Legal Guarantees for Socialist Modernization

Source: Xi Jinping The Governance of China IV Updated: 2023-11-15

Provide Sound Legal Guarantees for Socialist Modernization*


November 16, 2020


After the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Central Committee set the goal of comprehensively advancing the rule of law, and included it in the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy. In 2014, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee took up the issue and adopted the Resolution on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Rule of Law in China. After the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, the Central Committee established the Commission for Law-based Governance and made a series of decisions and plans on advancing law-based governance from an overall and strategic perspective, leading to historic changes and achievements in developing socialist rule of law in China.

We have laid down in China’s Constitution that leadership by the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have strengthened the systems for ensuring that the CPC provides guidance for legislation, guarantees law enforcement, supports judicial justice, and plays an exemplary role in abiding by the law, making the Party’s leadership over law-based governance more effective. We have improved the top-level design and built legislative, enforcement, supervisory, and supporting systems for the rule of law, as well as a sound system of Party regulations, forming an overall framework of law-based governance. We have improved legislation in key areas, expanded reform in the domain of law-based governance, and taken further steps in building a law-based government. We have also established state supervision institutions, reformed the judicial system, raised public legal awareness, run the military in accordance with the law, and striven to build a strong contingent of professionals devoted to the rule of law. We have resolutely upheld social fairness and justice, and rectified a number of unjust cases. All this has contributed to progress in practicing law-based governance.

Now and for the foreseeable future, to advance law-based governance, we must implement the decisions made at the 19th CPC National Congress and the second, third, fourth and fifth plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee. We need to focus on the general goal of establishing a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and building a socialist country under the rule of law. We must ensure the Party’s leadership, the people’s position as masters of the country, and law-based governance. By addressing prominent problems related to the rule of law, we will keep to the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and modernize China’s governance system and capacity in accordance with the law. In doing so, we aim to provide sound legal guarantees for building China into a modern socialist country and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. To this end, solid efforts should be made in the following areas.

First, uphold overall Party leadership in law-based governance.

Party leadership is the fundamental guarantee for comprehensive law-based governance in our country. The CPC is the world’s largest ruling party and governs the world’s most populous country. How can it exercise state power and govern the country well? How can it mobilize 1.4 billion Chinese people to build a modern socialist country? These are critical questions that always deserve our full attention.

History is the best textbook; it can teach us knowledge and prudence. While leading the drive towards socialist rule of law, the Party has accumulated successful experiences and drawn painful lessons. Especially during the 10-year turmoil of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), China’s legal system was devastated, at heavy cost to the Party and the people. After the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping regarded strengthening the legal system as an issue of great importance to the future of our Party and our country. He emphasized that “we must strengthen our legal system. Democracy has to be institutionalized and written into law”.

A review of previous successes and failures indicates that the more complex the international and domestic environment, and the more difficulties we face in reform, opening up and socialist modernization, the more we need to use law-based thinking and approaches to consolidate our Party’s governing status and improve its exercise of power and capacity for governance, so as to ensure enduring stability in our Party and our country.

All Party members must be clearly aware that promoting law-based governance will strengthen and improve the Party’s leadership rather than weakening it. We should institutionalize Party leadership over law-based governance, codify rules for the exercise of leadership by the Party, and ensure effective implementation of the Party’s guidelines, principles and policies through strengthening the rule of law. We should combine law-based governance of the country and rule-based governance of the Party, ensuring that the Party governs the country in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and practices self-governance pursuant to Party rules and regulations.

I addressed the question of whether the Party is above the law on several occasions in 2015, including the time when I heard the reports of the Party leadership groups of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and when I attended the opening ceremony of a study session for principal officials at the provincial and ministerial level on implementing the decisions of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on advancing law-based governance.

I have made it clear that this question itself is problematic and is a political trap. We must leave no room for confusion, but answer the question clearly: Party leadership and law-based governance are not in conflict but inherently coherent. Our country’s laws embody the will of the Party and the people, and our Party acts in accordance with the law, which manifests an inseparable relationship between the two. All Party members should keep in mind that Party leadership is the soul of our country’s socialist rule of law and the biggest difference between Chinese and Western rule of law. Without Party leadership, we would be unable to promote law-based governance and build a socialist country under the rule of law.

We do not consider the question to be relevant because the Party is seen as one integral whole exercising leadership in national governance as the country’s ruling party. Every Party and government organization and every official must abide by the Constitution and the law. Certain matters should be submitted to Party committees for decision, but that does not mean they can override the law or interfere with enforcement to cover up illegal deeds; instead, they must honor their responsibility, and ensure political and procedural integrity. We should keep in mind that there is a clear boundary here. 

Second, uphold a people-centered approach.

The people are the broadest and most solid foundation for comprehensive law-based governance, which must rely on and benefit the people. We must represent the people’s interests, reflect their wishes, protect their rights and interests, and improve their wellbeing throughout the process of law-based governance in all sectors. Moreover, we must ensure that the people, under the leadership of the Party, are able to administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural and social affairs through various channels and in various ways, and ensure that they enjoy extensive rights and freedoms and fulfill due obligations in accordance with the law.

The ultimate goal of law-based governance is to protect the people’s lawful rights and interests. Alongside China’s sustained economic and social development and steady improvement of living standards, the people’s demands continue to grow with respect to democracy, rule of law, justice, fairness, security, and environmental protection, among others. In this context, we should actively respond to their new demands and expectations, and adopt a solution-oriented approach to achieving our goal. We should employ dialectical thinking, see the broader picture, and systematically study and address major concerns of the people in the domain of law-based governance. In this way, we strive to increase their sense of gain, fulfillment and security, and safeguard their wellbeing through the rule of law.

Third, uphold the rule of law under socialism with Chinese characteristics.

I once said that in essence, our path of Chinese socialist law-based governance is an embodiment of Chinese socialism in the domain of rule of law, our theory of Chinese socialist rule of law is a fruit of the theory of Chinese socialism in the rule of law, and our system of Chinese socialist rule of law is a legal manifestation of the Chinese socialist system. On the one hand, based on the present situation, we need to use law-based thinking and approaches to solve deep-seated problems hindering economic and social development; on the other hand, looking into the future, we need to lay the foundations for the rule of law, give full play to the power of the rule of law, and gather momentum for advancing the rule of law, so as to build more mature and well-defined systems and provide long-term institutional guarantee for developing the cause of the Party and the state.

Since ancient times, China has formed a legal system that occupies a unique place in the history of world legal systems, and has fostered a profound legal culture. Traditional Chinese law took shape in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and gradually matured in the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, best represented by the book Tang Code with Commentaries compiled in the seventh century. The influence of traditional Chinese law declined after the late Qing Dynasty (1616-1911).

Unlike legal systems such as Continental law, Anglo-American law, and Islamic law, traditional Chinese law was formed against a historical background unique to China. It testifies to the great creativity of the Chinese nation and the cultural profundity of China’s legal tradition. It epitomizes the ethos and wisdom of the Chinese nation and contains many excellent ideas and concepts worth passing on. These include the governance strategy of enforcing public discipline through the application of both morality and law, the people-centered concept that the people are the foundation of a state and only when the foundation is solid will the state be stable, the wish for social harmony without lawsuits, the idea of prudence that prioritizes moral enlightenment over legal punishment, the concept of equality that advocates passing judgment in accordance with the law and ensures that the punishment fits the crime, and the principle of leniency towards widowers, widows, orphans, childless couples, the elderly, children, women, and people with disabilities. All of these shed light on the wisdom of China’s traditional legal culture.

In modern times, some attempted to clone Western rule of law in China, but all such efforts ended in failure. History and reality have told us that while we can learn and benefit from foreign experience in the rule of law, we can only consolidate the legal foundations for building China into a modern socialist country and realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation by carrying forward the Chinese legal tradition and by exploring a path of rule of law best suited to our country in the process of revolution, construction and reform.

It must be noted that in the drive to advance law-based governance, under no circumstances should we try to duplicate the models and practices of other countries or adopt such Western models as “constitutionalism”, “separation of powers”, and “judicial independence”. Practice has proved that our country’s current political system and legal framework suit our own national context and realities, and have remarkable strengths. We must maintain confidence, faith and resolve on this point. The facts have helped the Chinese people to grow in confidence.

Since the coronavirus hit China, we have upheld the general principles of strengthening confidence and solidarity and taking science-based and targeted measures. On February 5, at a crucial moment in the fight against the virus, I presided over the third meeting of the Commission for Law-based Governance to make arrangements for advancing epidemic prevention and control in accordance with the law. I laid particular emphasis on the fact that the greater the challenges we face in the battle against the epidemic, the greater the need to uphold law-based approaches and coordinate the implementation of all prevention and control measures in line with the law. All provincial authorities and central departments have done their best in legislation, judicature, public legal education, and law enforcement and observance. They have rigorously implemented measures such as partial lockdown, isolation of the infected, traffic restrictions, and disposal of infected corpses in accordance with statutory mandates and procedures. They have taken resolute action against offenses hindering epidemic prevention and control, and defused epidemic-related disputes in accordance with the law. These measures have provided legal guarantees for realizing strategic success in epidemic prevention and control.

Fourth, uphold Constitution-based governance and exercise of state power.

The Constitution is the fundamental law of China and has the supreme legal authority. Our Party leads the people in enacting and enforcing the Constitution and the law, and it must act within the confines of the Constitution and the law. All the people, as well as all state agencies, armed forces, political parties, social organizations, enterprises, and public institutions must regard the Constitution as their basic code of conduct and perform their duty of upholding the authority of the Constitution and ensuring that its provisions are observed. No organization or individual will be permitted to enjoy any special privilege that places them above the Constitution and the law, and all acts in violation of the Constitution or the law must be punished.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee stated that in pursuing law-based governance, we must first uphold Constitution-based governance, and that in pursuing law-based exercise of state power, we must first uphold Constitution-based exercise of state power. Our Constitution-based governance and exercise of state power are essentially different from the “constitutionalism” of the West, and we should treat them as such. To uphold Constitution-based governance and exercise of state power, we must resolutely uphold the CPC’s status as the governing party, the people’s democratic dictatorship as the governing system, and the system of people’s congresses as the governing structure, which are stipulated in the Constitution.

Maintaining the unity of law across the country is a serious political issue. China is a unitary country, so it is essential to maintain consistency in laws and regulations across the country. In 2015, the Legislation Law was amended, granting local legislative powers to all cities with districts. Since then, progress has been made in local legislation. Despite a positive overall situation, problems such as violation of laws and substandard legislation still exist in some regions, with far-reaching consequences.

We will strengthen implementation and oversight of the Constitution, and address questions of constitutionality. All regulations and normative documents that violate the Constitution and the law must be rectified or revoked. Moreover, local legislation should be formulated in the light of actual needs. There is no need for anything more than is necessary to address a relevant issue. If five articles will suffice for a particular issue, construct a five-article regulation. Do not try to make things grandiose and intimidating. The key lies in fully understanding the Central Committee’s guiding principles and solving pressing problems based on local realities.

Fifth, uphold the rule of law in modernizing the state system and capacity for governance.

The rule of law is a key pillar for the state governance system and capacity. Only through comprehensively advancing law-based governance can we ensure that our state governance system is systematic, coordinated, and procedure-based and can forge the widest possible consensus in society.

Over the seven decades since the founding of the PRC, our country has maintained rapid economic growth and lasting social stability, an achievement remarkable by any standards. This is closely related to our ongoing efforts to advance socialist rule of law.

In the battle against Covid-19, we resolved to coordinate epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development under the rule of law, maintaining overall social stability and reopening the economy in an orderly manner. This represents a major strategic success in our response to Covid-19. China is expected to be the only major economy with positive growth this year.

As we advance our great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream in a coordinated way, and build our country into a modern socialist country, we should particularly value and promote the rule of law and enable it to play a greater role in consolidating foundations, stabilizing expectations, and bringing long-term benefits. We should also address major challenges, defuse major risks, overcome major obstacles, and solve major problems in accordance with the law.

Sixth, develop a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.

This system is the focus of the drive to advance law-based governance. We should expedite the establishment of a complete system of laws, a highly effective enforcement system, a stringent supervision system, an effective supporting system, and a sound system of intra-Party regulations. We should also integrate the rule of law with the rule of virtue so that they complement and reinforce each other.

As an ancient Chinese scholar observed, “A country that is not ruled by law will descend into chaos; a country that sticks to outdated laws will fall into decline.” We must improve China’s socialist system of laws to make it well-defined, systematic, unified and authoritative.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee have adopted an amendment to the Constitution, enacted 48 laws, made 203 revisions to laws, issued 9 legal interpretations, and passed 79 decisions on legal issues and other matters of great importance. Currently, we have 282 laws in effect, 608 administrative regulations, and more than 12,000 local regulations.

The Civil Code sets a good example for codification of laws in other areas. We should draw on our experience in formulating the Civil Code, and advance the codification of laws in fields where conditions mature. We should study how to enrich lawmaking forms. We need both substantial legislation and short, quickly-formulated and effective laws and regulations. We should make legislation more targeted, practical and operational.

We need to step up legislation in key areas such as national security, technological innovation, public health, biosafety and biosecurity, eco-civilization, risk management, and law-based governance of foreign-related matters. We need to improve laws that are urgently required by state governance and necessary for meeting the growing expectation of the people for a better life, while filling in gaps and remedying weak points. The rapid development of new technologies and applications such as the digital economy, internet finance, artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing has fostered many new business forms and models. However, relevant legislation still lags behind and creates lacunae. Cybercrime has become one of the major threats to China’s political, cyber, social and economic security.

Seventh, pursue coordinated progress in law-based governance, exercise of state power, and government administration, and integrate the rule of law for the country, the government, and society.

Comprehensive law-based governance is a great systematic endeavor. Therefore, we must formulate integrated plans and pursue this goal in a more systematic, holistic and coordinated way. Lawbased governance, exercise of state power, and government administration form an indivisible whole, the key to which is that the Party must keep its commitment to law-based governance and that governments at all levels must administer in accordance with the law. A law-based country, government, and society are mutually reinforcing. A law-based country is the goal of developing the rule of law; a law-based government is the key in building a law-based country; a law-based society is the foundation for building a law-based country.

I have emphasized on many occasions that building a law-based government is our principal task, and it is the main force of the drive to advance law-based governance, and plays an exemplary and leading role for building a law-based country and society. We need to first make breakthroughs in this regard. At present, some tough challenges are yet to be overcome in building a law-based government, including the lack of a strong commitment to law-based government administration, and a tendency to go through the motions in the legal review of administrative decisions.

We also need to lay down the rules and define the boundaries for the exercise of administrative power, standardize the procedures for administrative decision-making, and improve the mechanism for building a trustworthy government under the rule of law, so as to increase our ability to administer in accordance with the law. Based on the characteristics of the new development stage, focusing on high-quality development and the new development dynamic, we need to expedite the transformation of government functions, move faster to create a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment, break sectoral monopolies and local protectionism, and remove barriers hindering economic flows, so as to form a unified, orderly, fair and rule-based national market.

Administrative law enforcement involves diverse areas and requires arduous efforts. It connects the government with the people and directly affects the people’s trust in the Party and the government and their confidence in the rule of law. We need to improve the credibility of the judiciary, and promote strict, procedure-based, impartial and non-abusive law enforcement. In recent years, notable progress has been made in resolving problems such as irregularities and malpractices in law enforcement. Meanwhile, cursory and one-size-fits-all enforcement occurs occasionally in some areas, and neglect of duty is still a vexatious problem.

We emphasize strict law enforcement rather than brutal, excessive enforcement of the law with the goal of forcing violators to treat the law with awe and respect. We would prefer to see that the law is enforced with both rigor and compassion. We need to build a mechanism for coordinating and overseeing administrative law enforcement that covers provincial, city, county and township levels, and strengthen all-round, whole-process oversight to improve the quality of law enforcement.

Ensuring the observance of law by all is a fundamental requirement for building a law-based society. Public legal education needs to keep up with the times and calls for targeted, effective measures. We must implement a responsibility system in which law enforcement departments are responsible for providing legal education to the public, and in particular to young people, and constantly increase the public’s awareness and understanding of the rule of law, thereby making it a social norm and a basic principle. We need to reinforce law-based governance and foster a sound social environment in which members of society conduct their business in accordance with the law, turn to the law when they need assistance, and rely on the law to solve problems and disputes.

As an ancient Chinese physician noted, “Remove health risks before they emerge and treat ailments before they are serious, thus preventing illnesses before they arise.” To develop the rule of law we must prioritize prevention and defuse potential risks while treating symptoms and solving existing problems. Our country’s national conditions determine that China should not rely on litigation as the first and last resort. Considering that the country has a population of 1.4 billion, it would create an intolerable burden for the judicial system if every dispute, large or small, were to be brought to court. We need to direct more legal resources to providing public guidance and mediating conflicts, improve preventive legal systems, and maintain and develop the Fengqiao model in the new era. We also need to integrate mechanisms for preventing, mediating and settling social disputes, and attach greater importance to work at the grassroots level. We should give full play to the role of community-level governance based on collaboration, participation, and common interests, and modernize municipal social governance, with the goal of maintaining social harmony and stability.

Eighth, ensure sound lawmaking, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and the observance of law by all. We must continue to carry forward reform in the domain of rule of law in order to solve prominent conflicts and problems in devising, enforcing, applying and observing the law.

Fairness and justice are the soul and lifeline of the judicature. We should carry out comprehensive and integrated reform of judicial accountability and strengthen regulation and supervision over judicial bodies. We should improve category-based management of judicial personnel and ensure their occupational security. We should regulate the exercise of judicial power and increase the quality and efficiency of case handling.

We should improve the law-based system for ensuring social fairness and justice, and make sure that fairness and justice are served in every judicial case. We should also continue improving the public interest litigation system and effectively safeguard public interests.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Central Committee has rolled out major reform measures for improving the institutions and mechanisms by which discipline inspection and supervision departments, courts, and public security, prosecuting and judicial administrative bodies fulfill their respective functions and work closely together while exercising mutual checking in the exercise of investigative, prosecuting, judicial and enforcement powers. We must work hard to implement these measures to produce concrete results.

A raft of judicial corruption cases have emerged in recent years. This reveals that checks and supervision on the exercise of power remain inadequate. Through bribery, some have got away with their crimes, with dozens of judicial, prosecuting and public security officials speaking on their behalf and green-lighting their conduct, rendering the supervision system toothless. We must accelerate the creation of an effective and procedure-based system to regulate and supervise the exercise of power. We must resolutely break down the support networks, cut the profit chains, and eliminate the underhanded activities, and close the “hidden doors” – loopholes through which those who engage in corruption or commit crimes escape punishment.

In January 2018, we launched a three-year nationwide campaign against criminal gangs and organized crime. The campaign cracked down on criminal gangs and their protective umbrellas and support networks, and removed a number of corrupted members within our ranks. The number of gang-related organizations hunted down in these three years matched the total number of the previous 10 years, and this had a significant deterrent effect. We must continue to take lawful action against crimes that disrupt the social order. In particular, we must continue the campaign against criminal gangs and organized crime, and continue to fight gangland forces and their protectors on an ongoing basis, so as to ensure peace and stability in both urban and rural areas and provide the people with a secure and peaceful life.

Ninth, take a coordinated approach to the rule of law at home and in matters involving foreign parties.

The rule of law is an integral part of a country’s core competitiveness. At present, the world is experiencing an accelerating rate of change on a scale unseen in a century. Although peace and development remain the underlying theme of our times, the international landscape is experiencing growing instability and uncertainty, and the Covid-19 pandemic has had a widespread and far-reaching impact. As our country continues to develop, it is moving closer to the center stage of the world. We should accelerate our efforts to create a strategic framework for the rule of law in foreign-related matters, pursue coordinated progress in both domestic and international governance, and better safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security and development interests. We must build a sound system of laws and regulations on foreign-related matters, and increase law enforcement and judicial efficiency in this regard. We should encourage Chinese enterprises and citizens who go abroad to abide by local laws, regulations, customs and practices, and to protect their own legitimate rights and interests with laws and rules. We also need to foster world-class arbitral institutions and law firms, and achieve greater results in serving and supporting the rule of law in matters involving foreign parties.

We need to resolutely safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order with international law as its foundation, and uphold the basic principles of international law and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We must propose plans to reform international rules and mechanisms that are unjust, unreasonable and against positive international trends, so as to promote reform in global governance and contribute to building a global community of shared future.

Tenth, develop a force of high-caliber legal personnel with moral integrity and professional competence.

To advance law-based governance, first and foremost we must build a highly competent team of legal professionals. We must strengthen education in our ideals and convictions, carry out in-depth education on the core socialist values and socialist rule of law, train judicial personnel to be more politically aware, consistent, specialized and professional in their conduct, and ensure that they are loyal to the Party, the country, the people, and the law.

We must employ stricter standards and higher requirements in the management of legal professionals. Some judicial personnel and law enforcers fail to maintain integrity in exercising their power. They take bribes, abuse the law for personal gain, and manipulate cases for money, power, and personal favors, severely undermining the authority of the rule of law. We must formulate and improve stringent rules, discipline and regulations, and use these institutions to regulate key officials, critical areas and core projects. We must weed out those who take bribes, violate the law, and are disloyal and dishonest to the Party, and we must combat corruption in law enforcement and the judicature.

A recently launched pilot program aiming to strengthen education and regulation of judicial, prosecuting and public security officers has identified some rotten apples and held them accountable. The initial results have been acclaimed by the public. We should consolidate and expand the results of the pilot program, and show zero tolerance for corruption. We should be strict with ourselves, and remove all irregularities whatever the pain.

Legal service providers play an important role in law-based governance. They perform their duties well on the whole, but there are also many problems to be addressed. Some legal professionals are obsessed with money and renown. They engage in misconduct and dishonest activities, damaging the reputation of their profession. A small number are disloyal in their political commitment and even denigrate our country’s political and legal systems.

Upholding CPC leadership and socialist rule of law must be the fundamental requirement for legal professionals. Through better education, management and guidance, we should enable them to keep to the right political orientation, perform their duties with moral integrity and in accordance with laws and regulations, honor their social responsibilities, and contribute to building China into a socialist country under the rule of law. We should advance the reform and development of law schools, and improve the quality of legal education. We should also strengthen foreign-related legal education, with the focus on training personnel for foreign-related law enforcement, judicature, and legal services, and cultivating and recommending legal professionals for international organizations, so as to better serve the overall work in foreign affairs.

Eleventh, make sure that leading officials, though small in number, play a key role in implementing the rule of law.

It is leading officials who exercise the governing power of the Party and the legislative, administrative, supervisory and judicial powers of the state. Therefore, they are key to comprehensive law-based governance. Leading officials at all levels must implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee on law-based governance. They must take the lead in upholding the rule of law and respecting the law, and in understanding and having a good mastery of the law. They must strive to become more adept at applying law-based thinking and approaches to expand reform, promote development, resolve problems, maintain stability, and defuse risks. They must set a good example in upholding, studying, observing and applying the law. Understanding the rule of law and being able to fulfill duties in accordance with the law must be important criteria for evaluating the performance of officials. Upholding, studying, observing and applying the law must be a prerequisite and a conscious action for officials.

Comrades,

We must uphold the Party’s centralized, unified leadership over law-based governance. Party committees and governments at all levels should strengthen leadership in promoting the rule of law, and exercise leadership over major plans, key tasks, and priority programs to ensure their full implementation. We must implement the decisions of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and simultaneously plan, arrange, and push forward economic and social development and the rule of law during the 14th Five-year Plan period (2021-2025).

The CPC Central Committee will soon issue outlines for building a law-based country and society, and a new outline for building a law-based government will be promulgated. Party committees and governments at all levels should take concrete measures to implement these outlines. Departments in all sectors should heighten their awareness of the rule of law, act in strict accordance with the law, and strengthen the role of rule of law on all fronts. Legal and judicial departments must perform their duties in full. The Office of the Commission for Law-based Governance should fulfill its duties in planning, coordination, supervision, inspection and implementation, and promote timely identification and resolution of problems in the process. We must do all we can to avoid the practices of favoring form over substance and bureaucratism, and deliver solid results in all tasks related to law-based governance.

The drive to comprehensively advance law-based governance marks a profound change in China’s state governance. We must guide the drive with sound theories, reinforce theoretical reflection, and find theoretical answers to a critical question of our times: How should we advance law-based governance? With constant progress in combining theory and practice, we should review our Party’s innovative theories concerning the rule of law in the new era, and apply these theories to better guide law-based governance in all respects.

 

* Part of the speech at the Central Conference on Law-based Governance.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)