Next month’s annual sessions of China’s top legislature and political advisory body in Beijing appear set to lay solid foundations, in, at least, establishing guideline thoughts, strengthening the Party’s leadership and rationalizing the institutional arrangement for national rejuvenation by adopting a series of constitutional amendments and a structural reform plan to revamp the Party and the State institutions.
The Communist Party of China Central Committee published its proposals to revise the Constitution on Feb 25. Among the amendments, made necessary by the rapid growth beginning in 2004, when the Constitution was last amended, are the Party’s key innovations in theories and practices since then－especially Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era－and a new national supervisory commission.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the 12th National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said in the last session of the committee in Beijing on Feb 24 that the March session of the NPC, the top legislature, which will elect the 13th NPC Standing Committee, will be of great significance to the implementation of new era thought and the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, according to Xinhua News Agency.
“It is also vital for realizing targets set by the CPC Central Committee. … We should ensure a successful beginning and fruitful outcome of the first session of the 13th NPC,” Zhang said.
Peng Xinlin, a researcher of law at Beijing Normal University, said the proposals for amending the Constitution are an inevitable requirement for advancing the cause of the Party and the State. That will win it the cordial support of the people, he said.
“The suggested changes are in line with the national condition, ensuring that the Constitution advances with the times. They keep the basic law’s continuity and stability and bring about big development,” Peng said.
New era thought connects socialism with Chinese characteristics with modernization and national rejuvenation and answers a series of key issues on how to develop China in the new era, said Mo Jihong, deputy director of the Institute of Law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“Writing Xi Jinping Thought into the Constitution will enhance the basic law’s authority and let it play a big role in social development,” Mo said.
Experts say adding new era thought, which is the guideline for all causes of the national construction, to the Constitution is vitally important to strengthening the Party’s leadership, uniting the people and keeping the nation developing in the right direction, forming a powerful deterrent to the hostile forces.
Adhering to the Party’s leadership and correct political direction is a principle of the proposed amendments, said Jiang Bo, vice-president of Tongji University in Shanghai.
“Amending the Constitution concerns the basic interests of the nation and the future of the rule of law. Only by adhering to the Party’s leadership while amending and applying the Constitution can we ensure that the nature of the country and development of rule of law remain unchanged,” Jiang said.
Liu He, a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month that China will mete out a series of new reform and opening-up measures this year, the 40th anniversary of its adopting the strategy. Some of these reform measures will be “beyond the expectations of the international community”.
The long-awaited revamping of State institutions－a central topic of the ongoing third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and one that will be high on the agenda of the March session of the NPC－represents China’s new efforts in that direction.
It is believed that the restructuring can effectively improve State governance and make the system efficient, especially in taking on challenges in ecological preservation, financial reform and resolution of social issues.
Also, the draft Supervision Law that is expected to be adopted at the NPC session, will define the responsibilities of the national supervisory commission, which will be directly under the Party’s leadership, and will empower it to exercise relevant investigation rights and measures independently.
The new law will strengthen the Party’s leadership in fighting corruption of any public power holders, said Ma Huaide, vice-president of the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.
“It will stitch together the current divided anti-graft efforts of the watchdogs for the Party, the government and the other public institutes, unifying the efforts of deepening reforms, govern the country by law and rule the Party by law,” Ma said.