Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Rule of law takes root

By China Forum (China Daily) Updated: 2012-04-16 07:59

Party leadership's handling of Bo Xilai's case is a solid example for the promotion of legal progress and discipline

The recent decision of the Communist Party of China Central Committee to investigate Bo Xilai's serious discipline violations, and the police reinvestigation of Neil Heywood's death, have garnered wide support from all walks of life in the country.

These moves have been objectively reported by most international media. However, a few overseas media have placed excessive interpretation on them and even taken the chance to make inappropriate comments on China's politics.

In fact, the decision is another resolute move by the ruling CPC to strengthen the enforcement of Party disciplines and continue to unswervingly push forward the rule of law.

In 1996, the rule of law was written into the outline of the ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives to 2010, becoming an important principle for guiding China's modernization drive.

The "rule of law" does not only mean running State affairs according to law, it also indicates that administrators must obey the law and handle State affairs through legal means. It is a comprehensive and profound change from the tradition of "rule by man", which had been practiced in China for thousands of years.

The rule of law can ensure that China's development is not affected by uncertain factors and avoid upheavals such as the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

Although China has encountered many difficulties, the country is marching forward along the right road. In 2010, a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was established as scheduled. Solving problems through legal means has become the consensus of the Party and the people.

As the ruling party with more than 80 million members, the CPC has stipulated strict disciplines to ensure the Party's advanced nature.

The current Party Constitution, adopted in September 1982 and revised five times thereafter, clearly stipulates that the Party must conduct its activities within the framework of the country's Constitution and laws. The Party Constitution also says that everyone is equal in front of Party disciplines.

The CPC has issued key documents, such as clean governance standards for Party members and cadres and regulations on leading cadres reporting personal matters, to set strict restraints on cadres' behaviors, and no one is allowed to violate them.

Nonetheless, violations of Party disciplines and lax enforcement of laws have occurred occasionally. In some places, there are some practices in which power and personal favor are put above the law, and disciplinary and law violations by a very small number of high-ranking cadres become a major public concern. In some places, there are top officials making decisions without seeking others' opinions and thus violating the principle of democratic centralism. The spouses and children of some cadres have taken advantage of their power to seek personal gains, disregarding the law, thus stirring public outcry.

One of the reasons for this phenomenon is that China is still at the primary stage of socialism and has yet to totally get rid of the influence of obsolete notions, including feudal ideology. Further efforts need to be made to improve institutional construction and law enforcement.

On the other hand, many officials have not been able to resist various temptations in the market economy: with expanding selfish desire and inadequate sense of law and ethnics, they choose the road of abusing power for personal gains and impairing the Party and State interests.

Chinese leaders have stressed many times that whoever has violated Party disciplines and the law will be seriously handled and that their actions will never be tolerated, no matter who is involved and no matter what position they are in.

China investigated and handled many major cases in recent years, and some of them were related to high-ranking officials. In 2011, prosecutorial authorities investigated 18,464 major embezzlement and bribery cases. They also investigated 2,524 officials at the county level and above, including 198 at prefecture level and seven at provincial and ministerial levels.

It is a similar move for the CPC Central Committee to investigate the serious disciplinary violations of Bo Xilai, and for the police to announce the reinvestigation results of the death of Neil Heywood and the delivery of suspects to judicial organs.

Observers believe it is a normal procedure for China to handle its own affairs according to Party disciplines and the laws of the State, deserving no fuss, not to mention excessive interpretation behind colored glasses and with bias.

China has sent a positive signal with the move to properly deal with the Wang Lijun incident, the case of Neil Heywood's death and Bo Xilai's serious disciplinary violations, and to release the information in a timely manner.

Facing problems, China sticks to Party disciplines and the laws of the nation and goes through the legal procedures of modern states, which will foster a healthy and stable environment for its own development.

Every step of China's progress is hard-earned, but visible to all. Party disciplines and the laws of the State were trodden during the "cultural revolution", but have been restored in the new era. China has shifted from "rule by law" to "rule of law" and "building a socialist country based on the rule of law". Intra-Party democracy and the people's democracy have also developed.

The favorable situation must be treasured and safeguarded for the sake of future development. Such a notion is even more crucial in the current period which witnesses social transformation, interests pluralism and sharp contradictions.

The handling of the Wang Lijun incident, the death of Neil Heywood and Bo Xilai's case of serious disciplinary violations is a major issue related to Party principles and the law. It has nothing to do with a so-called "political struggle". Any modern state will certainly deal with such problems according to law.

Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping used to raise a vision of China's institutions and laws not changing whenever leaders change, or whenever leaders change their views or shift their focus of attention. Such a vision will come true only when the rule of law is fully achieved.

Only in this way will China experience steady and long-term development and the world benefit from China's development.

What has happened in China recently gives people more confidence.

Xinhua-China Daily

(China Daily 04/16/2012 page8)

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