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Constitutional changes meet needs of new era

Updated: Mar 9,2018 9:31 AM     China Daily

The draft amendment to the Constitution, which is being deliberated and discussed at the ongoing national legislative and political advisory sessions, complies with the new era and contributes to China’s further development, deputies and advisers said.

As a major agenda item for the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the draft amendment was welcomed by deputies, as well as members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, after it was submitted to the NPC on March 5.

“Revising parts of the Constitution is a necessity and an urgent move for this new era,” said Zhang Weimin, an NPC deputy from Shanghai, adding that the revision strengthens the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

The amendment is expected to enshrine Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the country’s fundamental law. It will be clearly stipulated in the Constitution that the leadership of the CPC is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Zhang Zhaoan, another deputy from Shanghai, said legislators applauded more than 10 times during an explanation of the draft revision by Wang Chen, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, on March 5.

“We believe the draft not only meets the requirements of the era, but is also suitable for the nation’s development and in accordance with the people’s will,” he added.

A revision to a clause concerning the Chinese president’s and vice-president’s term of office was also proposed.

Yang Wanming, an NPC deputy and president of the Beijing High People’s Court, said such a change would make China’s Constitution and the CPC Constitution accord with each other. It would also create more room for China to push forward development of the country’s governance system and governance capability, he said.

At a news conference on March 7, Zhang Yesui, spokesman for this year’s NPC session, said the CPC Constitution does not stipulate that the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and the chairperson of the CPC Central Military Commission shall not serve more than two consecutive terms. China’s Constitution also has no such stipulation on the chairperson of the Central Military Commission, he said.

Making the constitutional provision concerning the president conform with those practices is conducive to safeguarding the authority and the centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, and to strengthening and improving China’s leadership system, he said.

Other candidates for inclusion in the amendment include a new vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development; the five-sphere integrated plan for coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement; the goal of a “great modern socialist country”; and an oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

Wang Zihao, a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said the proposed changes, such as requiring officials to take an oath to the Constitution when assuming office, are to meet the needs of new situations, and the amendment will contribute to the country’s long-term development.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the draft amendment on March 11. If adopted, this will be the Constitution’s first amendment in 14 years.