Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Do new laws equal rule of law?

Here are some of the Communist Party of China's announcements about "advancing the rule of law." (from Xinhua) Do the things bragged about really advance the rule of law?

Please note that actions of the CPC Central Committee as well as the National People's Congress are highlighted as advances in the rule of law.

China's comprehensive moves in advancing rule of law
The 12th National People's Congress (NPC)and its standing committee have formulated 20 laws and passed 39 decisions to revise 100 laws as of the end of June, data from the NPC showed.

These are part of the achievements China has made to comprehensively advance the rule of law…

In 2014, the central leadership decided to compile the General Provisions of the Civil Law -- a crucial first step in developing the civil code.

The law, a key move in building China into a moderately prosperous society by 2020, aims to regulate civil activities and modernize state governance…

In November 2016, the NPC Standing Committee issued the Interpretation of the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in response to disagreements on the provisions of the Basic Law in Hong Kong, which had affected the implementation of the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle…

Moreover, the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law was revised in 2015, adding a new chapter on dealing with smoggy days and stipulating the establishment of a monitoring and early warning system for heavily polluted days.

The system of reeducation through labor was abolished in 2013, showing improvements and progress in judicial protection of human rights…

As wrongful convictions are a disgrace to justice, China's judicial authorities have pledged to learn from past lessons and prevent such cases.

To improve judicial justice and credibility, measures for letting judges assume lifelong responsibility for cases they handle and holding them accountable for any miscarriage of justice were outlined at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

These measures require officials to shoulder more responsibility, preventing them from making wrong judgements.

In the past five years, the CPC Central Committee has formulated or revised nearly 80 Party regulations, accounting for more than 40 percent of existing regulations.

The key to strict Party governance relies on a "key few" officials, referring to leading officials at the central, provincial and local levels…

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