Proposed constitutional revisions to navigate China into modernization

By: XinhuaFrom:English Edition of Xinhua | Updated: 2018-Feb-28 19:33
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BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese lawmakers will meet in Beijing in about a week's time for an annual session of the national legislature, during which a highlight is the anticipated revisions to the Constitution.

If adopted, the amendments will be the first in more than a decade.

The inclusion of Xi JinpingThought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the Constitution will be a compass to guide China's course toward modernization.

Prescribing the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as "the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics" as well as the creation of constitutional space for a new anti-graft system will ensure the journey is a smooth one.

"The proposed revision is a timely answer to the calls of the new era," said Jiang Ming'an, director of the constitution and administrative law research center of Peking University.

Major theoretical achievements, principles and policies formulated over the past years are likely to be added to the Constitution.

Candidates for inclusion are the vision of a community with a shared future for humanity and the five-sphere integrated plan for coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement, according to a proposed constitutional amendment unveiled by the CPC Central Committee on Sunday.

Other possibilities include adding core socialist values, and listing the supervisory commissions as a new type of state organs.

A constitutional change requires the approval of two thirds or more of deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) during the full annual session.

The first annual session of the 13th NPC is scheduled to begin on March 5.

The proposal comes as China's modernization drive picks up speed and the economy shifts toward high-quality development.

A report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress in October declared the opening of a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The report offered two clear objectives: socialist modernization basically completed by 2035, and a "great modern socialist country" built by the middle of the century.

"Only by constantly adapting to new situations can the Constitution have lasting vitality," Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said on Dec. 15 at a symposium on constitutional revisions attended by representatives of non-Communist parties.

The first Constitution of the People's Republic of China was enacted in 1954. The current Constitution has been in place since 1982 and has undergone four amendments in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

While the reform and opening-up drive which began 40 years ago has made amazing progress, it brought with it various problems, but with each new problem comes a new solution.

From 1988 to 1999, amendments included reform of land-use rights, a legal status for the private economy, the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, replacing the phrase "planned economy" with "socialist market economy" and incorporation of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

The most recent amendment in 2004 protected private property and human rights and gave the Theory of Three Represents constitutional authority.

The amendments were both necessary and in line with China's day-to-day reality, according to Jiao Hongchang, law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law.

"They ensured the current Constitution has remained effective for decades," he said.

The CPC has, through the people's congress system, led the Chinese people both in enacting and revising the Constitution and in observing the fundamental law.

The NPC is the highest institution through which the Chinese people exercise their state power.

During the 19th CPC National Congress, the Party made it clear that the goal of reform is to improve and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance.

"The Constitution is prerequisite to law-based governance and fundamental to the modernization of China," Jiao said.

"The CPC and government will find ways to strengthen constitutional authority and apply the Constitution to resolving the major problems facing the country," he noted.