Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Rule of law with Chinese characteristics?

"Wang Yukai, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, says laws in China do not wield as much power and authority as in other countries that have fully established the rule of law."

So, we need to ask, along with Professer Wang, who or what wields power and authority if not the "rule of law?"

China gears up for advancing rule of law
In a short statement the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee said it will discuss "governing the country according to law" on every front, during its fourth plenary session.

China first incorporated the rule of law into its Constitution in the 1990s. The phrase "exercises the rule of law, building a socialist country governed according to law" was added to the Constitution in 1999.

The concept is now an important Party mission and crucial to the current reform campaign…

In the 1980s many reforms were adopted without proper legal arrangements, but times have changed. A socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics was established in 2010…

There is still a long way to go. Wang Yukai, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, says laws in China do not wield as much power and authority as in other countries that have fully established the rule of law.

His words were echoed by Yang Weidong, another academy professor, who added that non-compliance with the law remains a big problem in today's China.

"Many of our laws and regulations are not fully observed. The powers of some government organs have not been exercised within the cage of regulations," Yang said.

The CPC regards the rule of law as a must for peaceful development, economic growth, clean government, cultural prosperity, social justice and a sound environment. Yang believes current judicial reform might eventually offer a solution…

Yang noted that the rule of law could also lend force to the ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

According to Wang Yukai, the anti-graft campaign has on the one hand showcased Party resolve to rid the country of corruption, but on the other hand exposes the lack of corruption prevention measures.

Yang Weidong agrees, adding that checks on power are at the heart of the rule of law.

"China needs a set of constraints to curb power and deprive officials of the opportunity to cheat, and has to dish out harsher punishments," he said.

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