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New Development of Chinese Socialist Rule of Law Theory

Submit Time:29-03-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Mo Jihong, Zhai Guoqiang | Source:People’s Daily (March 5, 2018)

Abstract:

The report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China establishes law-based governance as an important aspect of the basic policy of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, makes all-round arrangements for advancing law-based governance, and provides scientific guidance for building a socialist country based on rule of law. After the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core put forward a series of new ideas, new thoughts and new strategies on law-based governance from the height of the overall work of the Party and the country, with a view to realizing the two centenary goals and on the basis of modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, and embarked on a journey to advance law-based governance. Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era greatly promoted in-depth development of law-based governance, and greatly promoted innovation in Chinese socialist rule of law theory. 

Understanding Advancement of Law-based Governance in the Context of the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy 

After the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, on the basis of grasping major theoretical issues such as the path and system of Chinese socialist rule of law in depth, made a series of important arguments focusing on law-based governance, answered a series of major questions such as in what direction and with whom Chinese socialist rule of law should develop, which path should be taken, what goals should be realized and how to realize the goals in depth, and promoted major development in Chinese socialist rule of law theory with focused themes, clear main tasks, rich contents and profound connotations. 

Chinese socialist rule of law theory is an organic component of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics building on and further enriching Marxist classic writers’ theories on countries and laws and scientifically summarizing and theoretically sublimating the latest practical experience of Chinese socialist rule of law, a theoretical achievement of carrying forward the essence of Chinese legal culture and absorbing the quintessence of the world’s legal civilization, and an original contribution of the Chinese nation to the legal civilization of the modern world. 

At present, advancing law-based governance is a core topic of Chinese socialist rule of law theory and a major strategy bearing on the Party’s governance, people’s happiness and wellbeing and long-term stability of the Party and the country. Advancing law-based governance is not only a realistic consideration based on solution of the contradictions and problems in China’s reform, development and stability, but also a long-term contemplation and strategic plan with a view to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and realizing long-term stability of the Party and the country. It is of great significance to promoting sustained and sound economic growth, ensuring social harmony and stability, realizing social fairness and justice, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing national rejuvenation. 

The proposal and formation of the four-pronged comprehensive strategy further raised law-based governance to the new height of a strategy of the Party and the country, and endowed a new strategic position and strategic mission to law-based governance. The four-pronged comprehensive strategy includes both strategic goals and strategic initiatives, and each comprehensive point is of great strategic significance. We should grasp law-based governance in the context of the four-pronged comprehensive strategy, understand the relationship between law-based governance and the other three comprehensive points in depth, provide a systematic plan for implementing the four-pronged comprehensive strategy based on rule of law and strive to realize mutual complementation, mutual promotion and mutual enhancement of the four comprehensive points. Advancing law-based governance in all fields is a profound revolution in China’s governance. We must, under the Party’s leadership, proceed from China’s reality, bring political advantages into full play, follow the laws governing rule of law, keep pace with the times, update our ideas and views, carry out innovation in systems and mechanisms and advance law-based governance in all fields. 

Four-sphere Integrated Plan on the Path, Theory, System and Culture of Rule of Law 

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out: we must insist on taking law-based governance as a basic strategy of China’s governance under the Party’s leadership and take rule of law as a basic mode of governance to propel the building of rule of law in China continuously. Insisting on taking law-based governance as a basic strategy of China’s governance under the Party’s leadership and taking rule of law as a basic mode of governance to advance law-based governance is an important conclusion reached and an important choice made in the practice of socialist revolution, development and reform under the Party’s leadership, and is our Party’s self-improvement and self-perfection in governance. 

An important strategic feature of advancement of law-based governance is adherence to the four-sphere integrated plan on the path, theory, system and culture of Chinese socialist rule of law. The path of Chinese socialist rule of law epitomizing the achievements and experience of the building of socialist rule of law is the only right path of building rule of law in China. The theory of Chinese socialist rule of law is a theoretical system of Chinese socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, Chinese styles and Chinese features gradually formed by the Communist Party of China according to the basic Marxist principles of countries and laws and on the basis of drawing on the beneficial achievements of human legal civilizations of all times both at home and abroad by proceeding from the reality of reform, opening up and socialist modernization in modern China and deeply summarizing China’s experience in building socialist rule of law. The system of Chinese socialist rule of law is an important component of the system for governance, and the overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and build a country of socialist rule of law. The culture of Chinese socialist rule of law is an advanced cultural form and progressive state of rule of law consisting of ideological achievements such as the value, spirit, consciousness, idea and thought of rule of law manifesting the internal requirements of advanced socialist culture, institutional achievements such as legal systems, legal norms and legal mechanisms reflecting the essential features of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and behavioral modes such as following laws while handling matters, respecting laws, studying laws, abiding by laws and using laws. 

To realize the four-sphere integrated plan on the path, theory, system and culture of Chinese socialist rule of law, we must use systematic thinking, take all factors into consideration, grasp key points and make overall plans to promote it as a whole in the great course of building a modern socialist country. First, we should realize coordination and promotion of the four comprehensive points of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepening reform in all areas, advancing law-based governance in all fields and practicing strict self-governance in every respect, which jointly form a strategy of the work of the Party and the country. Second, we should stick to all-round improvement in every dimension of material, political, cultural and ethical, social and ecological advancement, continue to promote a combination of rule of law and rule of virtue, continue to make overall plans to combine law-based governance of the country and system- and rule-based governance over the Party and stick to advancing the Beautiful China initiative, the Peaceful China initiative and the initiative to build rule of law in China. In terms of specific methods, we should make overall plans to build the system of Chinese socialist rule of law and form a complete legal norm system, legal implementation system, legal supervision system, legal protection system and Party regulation system featuring systematic soundness, scientific regulation, efficient operation and mature patterns. We should promote connectivity, mutual dependence and linkage of sound lawmaking, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice and the observance of law by everyone, which jointly form the basic pattern of legal work. We must pursue coordinated progress in law-based governance, law-based exercise of state power and law-based government administration and promote the integrated development of rule of law for the country, the government and society. 

Promoting Innovation in Rule of Law Theory Focusing on Law-based Governance 

Establishing law-based governance as a basic policy means that law-based governance is a preferred basic policy on governance and that rule of law is a dominant basic mode of governance. Sticking to the basic policy of law-based governance does not exclude modes such as political leadership, organizational support, guiding principles and policies and ideological education but emphasizes law-based governance is the main systematic policy on governance in a certain national governance system of policy-based co-governance. We should not only prevent the idea of omnipotent rule of law, but also guard against legal nihilism to ensure that law-based governance progress in the right direction. In advancing law-based governance, we should take Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guide and strive to promote innovation in Chinese socialist rule of law theory. 

As to the theory of the position of the people as masters of the country, after the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core put forward the basic principle that we must ensure the principal status of the people from different perspectives such as building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepening reform in all areas, advancing law-based governance in all fields and practicing strict self-governance in every respect. Ensuring the principal status of the people is an important feature of the Party’s governance. The people’s democracy is the life of socialism. Socialism or socialist modernization cannot be realized without democracy. In China, democracy is not a decoration or ornament but a way to solve real problems. The report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China emphasizes that we must ensure the principal status of the people, improve the system of institutions through which the people run the country and strengthen institutional guarantees to ensure the people run the country. To advance law-based governance and build socialist democratic politics in the new era, we must implement the new arrangements, new requirements and new initiatives of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core for ensuring that the people run the country. 

As to the theory of governance modernization and good governance with good laws, the Third Plenary Session of Eighteenth CPC Central Committee put forward the overall goal of improving and developing the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance. China’s system for governance is a set of institutions for the management of the state under the Party’s leadership, including systems and mechanisms in various fields such as the economy, politics, culture, society, ecological conservation and Party building. It is a complete set of institutions that are linked closely and coordinated mutually. Forming a set of institutions that are well conceived, fully built, procedure based and efficiently functioning is an important goal of modernizing China’s system for governance. China’s capacity for governance is the ability to use China’s system to manage social affairs in various aspects, including reform, development, stability, internal affairs, foreign affairs, national defense, governance over the Party, governance of the country and the running of the army. Good governance with good laws is essential to modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance. We should integrate law-based governance and governance modernization to understand them, combine strict exercise of rule of law and enhanced governance to grasp them and reach the state of good governance with good laws in the integration and combination of the two. 

As to the theory of building rule of law in China, the Third Plenary Session of Eighteenth CPC Central Committee put forward the strategic task of promoting the building of rule of law in China. This is our Party’s innovation in Chinese socialist rule of law theory and scientific positioning, goal, guidance and strategic planning of Chinese socialist rule of law. Building rule of law in China is a major practical and theoretical innovation of human legal civilizations in modern China, an important aspect of modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance and a concise summary of the basic principles, basic tasks and overall goal of law-based governance. Rule of law in China supplements the Chinese Dream’s core elements such as moderately prosperous China, prosperous and strong China, democratic China, culturally advanced China, harmonious China, beautiful China and peaceful China. The report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China points out that a central leading group for advancing law-based governance in all areas will be set up to exercise unified leadership over the initiative to build rule of law in China. This shows our Party’s understanding of rule of law has reached a new height. 

As to the system of law theories with Chinese characteristics, we should summarize historical experience and lessons, face current issues in reality, focus on the need for future development and stick to and highlight the political, scientific, practical, tolerant and innovative nature of Chinese law to improve the system of law theories with Chinese characteristics under the guidance of Marxism with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the direction and guidance of innovation in law theories, with the spirit of the 4th Plenary Session of Eighteenth CPC Central Committee as the strategic leverage for law theories’ development and with the building of the system of Chinese socialist rule of law and rule of law in China as the driving force. 

As to the theory of law-based governance under the Party’s leadership, we should strengthen and improve the Party’s leadership over law-based governance. The relationship between the Party and law is a fundamental issue. If it is addressed well, rule of law, the Party and the country will thrive, otherwise rule of law, the Party and the country will decline. We should theoretically elaborate that the Party’s leadership is the soul of Chinese socialist rule of law. Sticking to the organic unity of Party leadership, the people running the country and law-based governance and implementing the Party’s leadership in the whole course and all aspects of law-based governance is a basic experience from building socialist rule of law in China. China’s Constitution has established the leadership of the Communist Party of China, which is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the most fundamental guarantee for socialist rule of law. Upholding the Party’s leadership is a fundamental requirement of socialist rule of law, the root and lifeline of the Party and the country, bearing on the interests and happiness of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and an implication of advancement of law-based governance. We should better the Party’s leadership over law-based governance and continue to improve the Party’s ability and level of leadership over law-based governance. We should combine the basic policy of law-based governance and the basic mode of aw-based government administration, better systems and work mechanisms for the Party’s leadership over law-based governance and improve work mechanisms and procedures for ensuring implementation of the principle, policy and decision of law-based governance established by the Party. 

(Author’s Employer: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)


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