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The Party chief of Southwest China's Chongqing municipality on Monday emphasized the rule of law as the city's Party committee reflects on former top official Bo Xilai's serious discipline violations and the possible serious charges facing his wife.
"(The Party) insists everyone is equal before the law, and not a single person or organization is allowed above the law," Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, who also replaced Bo as the Party chief of Chongqing in March, said in a report to the municipal Party congress on Monday.
In April, the Communist Party of China Central Committee decided to suspend Bo from his posts at the committee and its Political Bureau because "Bo is suspected of being involved in serious violations of discipline". Bo's wife, Bogu Kailai, is suspected of involvement in the death of British citizen Neil Heywood.
Zhang said in his report that the rule of law must be respected and local courts and procuratorates must work independently under the law.
"Party leaders should set an example in observing the law and we should strictly prevent officials from using power to intervene in judicial processes," he said.
In his report, Zhang reviewed the success of the municipality since it was established in 1997 and insisted that the success is due to the persistent efforts of three terms of leadership.
However, he acknowledged that there are still deficiencies in the work of the municipality's Party committee.
"The Wang Lijun incident, the death of British citizen Neil Heywood and the serious discipline violation case of Bo Xilai, have caused severe damage to the country and the Party's image and to the reform and development of Chong-qing," Zhang said.
Wang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief, entered the US consulate in Chengdu without authorization on Feb 6, and left there after staying for one day.
Zhang said the achievements in Chongqing and efforts made by the majority of people and officials must be clearly separated from the three incidents.
Bo assumed the post of Party chief of Chongqing in 2007 and was replaced by Zhang on March 15.
Monday also marked the 15th anniversary of the Chongqing municipality and Zhang said the decision by the central government to name Chongqing as the fourth municipality, after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjian, was the right choice.
"In 2001, there was only one bus stop near my home and now there are four of them." said Peng Yan, 24, who lives in the municipality's Yubei district.
As a new lineup of Party officials is set to be revealed after the Party congress, Peng believes the new leadership should be more focused on improving the livelihoods of low-income groups.
Gou Shixiang, a professor of literature and culture studies at Chongqing University, said the new leadership should be more focused on developing the vast rural areas of the municipality to narrow the gap between rural and urban areas.
"Also, the government needs to further promote the local culture," he said.
In his report, Zhang also stressed that Chongqing will continue leading China's western areas in terms of opening-up and is stepping up measures to encourage the development of private businesses.
The report said the municipality will take the lead in the country's western regions to achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2017.
The Party congress will review Zhang's work report and elect the fourth Party committee of Chongqing municipality and the municipality's delegates to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China before it closes on Friday.
Ji Jin contributed to this story.
(China Daily 06/19/2012 page4)