China / Government

Xi pledges to implement rule of law

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-05 02:22

'Ensure that power bestowed by people is constantly used in their interests'

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, pledged to protect the rights of citizens on Tuesday, in a message aimed at promoting the faithful implementation of China's Constitution.

Xi called on officials to respect and protect citizen's rights, including human rights, and to reinforce public confidence in the law, as he delivered a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the current edition of the Constitution.

He urged officials to work hard to let the people feel the sense of justice in every legal issue, and never allow unfair rulings to hurt people's feelings.

"We must firmly establish, throughout society, the authority of the Constitution and the law and allow the overwhelming masses to fully believe in the law," Xi said.

"To fully implement the Constitution needs to be the sole task and the basic work in building a socialist nation ruled by law."

The current version of China's Constitution, passed in 1982, is more rights-oriented than previous versions, Xi said.

To accommodate the broad changes that have taken place in China's social and economic spheres, the Constitution was amended four times — in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

Notable amendments include those that emphasize the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the protection of citizens' private property.

Xi said although the Constitution is generally suitable for the country, its implementation is flawed in the some ways.

He said the supervising system that ensures the Constitution is carried out is not well established, and occasional dereliction of duty has dented the authority of the country's judicial system. Violations of laws and the lax enforcement of laws have also occasionally occurred.

"No organization or individual has the privilege to overstep the Constitution and the law, and any violation of the Constitution and the law must be investigated," he said

"We must establish mechanisms to restrain and supervise power. Power must be made responsible and must be supervised," he said.

"We must ensure that the power bestowed by the people is constantly used for the interests of the people."

Han Dayuan, a professor at Renmin University of China, said Tuesday's speech is Xi's first targeting the rule of law and it has sent a strong message.

He said Xi pointed out some of the most acute problems faced by law enforcement, problems that are expected to be addressed in future measures.

He also noted that Xi has emphasized the rights of the people, which was not mentioned in the speech delivered by his predecessor Hu Jintao a decade ago, when Hu spoke on the 20th anniversary of the Constitution.

As of the end of August 2011, China's top legislature had enacted 240 laws, including the current Constitution.

Xu Wei and AFP contributed to this story.

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