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Constitution guarantee for governance

By CAO YIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-12-03 07:39
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A legal worker explains the Constitution at a middle school in Hefei, Anhui province, on Friday. [Photo/China Daily]

Experts underline its fundamental role in driving modernization of rule of law

Safeguarding the authority of the Constitution is not only a vital guarantee for advancing law-based governance on all fronts, but also a top priority for implementing the modernization of China's rule of law, legal professionals said.

They made the remarks ahead of the ninth national Constitution Day, which will fall on Sunday. National Constitution Day falls annually on Dec 4, highlighting the Constitution's fundamental role.

China's current Constitution was adopted in 1982.

Over the past decade, President Xi Jinping, on many occasions, has stressed the adherence to Constitution-based governance, underlining that every entity should shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the dignity of the Constitution and ensuring its implementation.

While delivering a report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which was held in Beijing in October, Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for improving the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics with the Constitution at its core and better implementing the Constitution and conducting constitutional oversight.

"It's good to see some provisions involving individuals' basic rights in the Constitution have been reflected in legislation, as it's a better way for people to realize the fundamental law is around them and protects them," said Li Zongsheng, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.

Among those provisions, the Constitution provides special protection for women and children, clarifying that harming or abusing those people is explicitly prohibited, with a stipulation that women have equal rights with men in all respects, including in society and within their own families.

Based on the provision, the NPC Standing Committee amended the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, addressing the elimination of discrimination in employment by requiring employers not to restrict female employees from promotion or obtaining technical skills due to circumstances such as marriage, pregnancy, maternity leave or breast-feeding.

The revised law, which will come into effect on Jan 1, also orders government agencies as well as village and community committees to report, rescue, care and help women who are being trafficked or abducted.

In response to recent public concerns, it forbids the sexual harassment of women via words, text messages, physical acts or any other means, stating that women will be encouraged to report to governments or public security bureaus, or initiate a civil lawsuit if they are sexually harassed.

"Obviously, amending the law aimed to strongly support women in more areas in the new era, and the process was also to safeguard the authority of the Constitution and implement the constitutional protection," said Li, who is also a lawyer from Liaoning province.

Fu Yuhang, another NPC deputy and also an environmental engineer from Sichuan province, agreed.

"Taking more measures to intensify online protection for juveniles and prevent them from internet addiction by revising the Minor Protection Law in 2020 was also to uphold the spirit of the Constitution," Fu said.

While maintaining the status of the Constitution in legislation, Yang Weidong, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said that the country's efforts in introducing the Constitution over the past few years have also been constantly increased.

"For example, the Constitution has become a compulsory and separate course in the Party school in Beijing's Mentougou district, instead of simply mentioned as part of rule of law classes in many other similar institutes," he said.

He welcomed the teaching method, adding that it helps trainees such as government officials and company managers have an institutional understanding about the fundamental law and the country's legal system.

He lauded the growing strength in reviewing normative documents to ensure they do not contradict the Constitution in recent years, but suggested the top legislature disclose more cases involving the constitutional implementation in a timely manner.

"Cases are more vivid and it's easier for the public to understand the Constitution, which helps safeguard its authority and advance overall law-based governance," he said.

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