Constitutional changes will enhance governance
The significance of the draft amendments to China's Constitution submitted to the top legislature for deliberation should not be underestimated, given they will advance law-based governance and modernize China’s governance system.
Deputies to the annual session of the National People's Congress started reviewing and discussing the proposed amendments, the first in 14 years, on Wednesday and will cast their votes on Sunday.
Besides the proposed enshrining of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the fundamental law of the country, what is also noteworthy is the proposed amendment to include the leadership of the Communist Party of China as "the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics". Although this is nothing more than a straightforward acknowledgment of China's reality.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a phrase that epitomizes this country's economic development and social management, as well as the institutional reforms introduced over the past four decades. It is the result of a long sequence of shared experiences, efforts and endeavors under the leadership of the CPC.
There is no denying that the CPC's overall leadership has played an irreplaceable and vital role in this country's achievements in all conceivable aspects. Thus writing this clause into the Constitution would not only recognize that reality, it would also explicitly point to the intrinsic association between the CPC's leadership and the country's future accomplishments. Furthermore, approval of this amendment would institutionalize the CPC's core role in the country’s endeavor to realize national rejuvenation.
What is closely related to this amendment is the revision of the clause stipulating that the president and vice-president serve no more than two consecutive terms (five years for each term). This revision is meant to consolidate the CPC's governance of the country and give full play to the advantages of China's political system. It by no means ends the retirement system for Party and State leaders, neither does it imply lifetime tenure for any leader.
And the draft amendment to give the planned national supervisory commission constitutional status speaks volumes for the current leadership's resolve to fight against corruption.
As China has entered a new era, its guiding theory, system and institutions need to adapt to the changed circumstances. If the amendments are adopted, the Constitution will provide a strong guarantee for the country’s long-term governance, development, prosperity and stability.