Opinion / Editorials

A foundation of law

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-20 13:29

The fourth plenary sessoin of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China opens on Monday and will last for four days. The designated theme - governing through the rule of law - indicates how important this meeting will be for the future of both the Party and the country.

That this is the first time in 17 years the Party has designated such a theme for a plenary session speaks volumes about the importance the new leadership attaches to it. It is high on the agenda.

Yet, the more the concept of rule of law has been discussed, the more obvious it becomes that there is, today, much to be desired.

More than 50 minister-level or higher officials have either been indicted or placed under investigation for abuse of power in the past year or so, underlining the fact that the rule of law is sorely needed. It is perhaps the only way to eliminate, once and for all, the most serious threat to good governance and to secure the blessings of prosperity and justice to the people.

The fact that power today can effectively nullify the law, and that those in power can circumvent it, not only deprives the Party of its capacity to govern the country in a consistently fair and just manner but also disrupts the reasonable running of the marketplace. Abuse of power makes it impossible for fairness to prevail in the socialist market economy.

Despite the great achievements China has made over more than three decades, it will be very difficult for its economy to grow in a sound manner - and neither will society progress in a healthy way - unless fair competition and mutual trust can be secured and ordinary people's rights and interests can be guaranteed through the rule of law.

If the country is to achieve further reforms in various fields and establish and maintain a fair and just society, the power-worshipping mentality among government and Party officials must be eliminated. This is a core goal of the leadership.

Unless the overwhelming majority of Party and government officials not only respect the law, but follow it when making decisions, governing the country by the rule of law will amount to little but lip service.

It will be no easy job, and it will take time for the power-oriented way of doing things to be transformed. But the new Party leadership has shown it has the courage to face the challenge. We therefore have reason to expect much from the current plenary session as they work to put the country on the right track.

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