|China's Efforts and Achievements in Promoting the Rule of Law|
The rule of law signifies that a political civilization has developed to a certain historical stage. Over several thousand years, the Chinese people have created a resplendent civilization as a consequence of hard work and intelligence. As an important part of this civilization, the Chinese legal system goes back to ancient times. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and especially after the implementation of Reform and Opening-up in 1978, China has developed its economy and at the same time promoted the rule of law, making remarkable economic achievements and grand headway in the process.
I. Development of the Rule of Law in China
The rule of law in a country is determined by and conforms to its national conditions and social system. The Chinese people have made protracted and unremitting struggles for democracy, freedom, equality and the building of a country under the rule of law. The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 ushered in a new era for China's promotion of such a rule. During the past 60 years, the rule of law in China, with the constant and deepening understanding of the Chinese Government and people, has steadily matured.
(1) The Initial Stage of the Rule of Law in the People's Republic of China
The period from 1949 to the mid-1950s was the initial stage of the rule of law in New China. In September 1949, the People's Republic of China held the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, adopting the Organic Law of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the Organic Law of the People's Government of the People's Republic of China, as well as the Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, in the character of an interim constitution. In 1954, at the First Session of the First National People's Congress (NPC), the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Organic Law of the National People's Congress and the Organic Law of the State Council were promulgated, defining China's basic political system. Subsequently, China also promulgated the Land Reform Law, Marriage Law, Trade Union Law, Labour Insurance Regulations and Program for the Implementation of Regional Ethnic Autonomy, establishing the basic national system and legal order and preliminarily laying the foundation for the rule of law in New China. From the late 1950s, and especially during the chaotic period of the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976), China's socialist legal system experienced severe damage.
(2) Recovery Stage of the Rule of Law in New China
The period from the late 1970s to the late 1980s was the recovery stage of the rule of law in New China. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening up policy, after summarizing historical experiences, and especially after learning painful lessons from the "cultural revolution", pointed out that, "to guarantee democracy for the people, it is necessary to strengthen the socialist legal system, institutionalize democracy and make laws to ensure such democracy. The goal is to make the system and laws stable, consistent and authoritative -- not changing with changes of state leaders or state leaders' opinions or attention -- and achieve the goal of having laws to go by, laws that must be observed and strictly enforced, and lawbreakers prosecuted." In one phrase, only the implementation of the "rule of law" could make the country prosperous and peaceful in the long term. During this period, China successively promulgated a succession of basic laws, including the Constitution, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Civil Procedure Law, and General Principles of Civil Law. Meanwhile, to meet the demands of reform and opening up, as well as economic reconstruction, a series of laws and administrative regulations were formulated, such as the Law of the People's Republic of China on Chinese-foreign Equity Joint Ventures and Economic Contract Law, the intention being to adjust the economic relationship. The rule of law in China thus entered a new period of flourishing development.
(3) The Stage of Advancing the Rule of Law in All Perspectives
The period from the 1990s to the present has witnessed the promotion of the rule of law in an all-round way. In 1989, the Administrative Procedure Law thoroughly transformed the historical tradition of China that only senior officials could manage the people but those people had no right of response, at last providing a system-based guarantee for the citizens to safeguard their own legal rights and interests and supervise the administrative organs to exercise their administrative power in accordance with the law. In 1993, the Chinese Government formally required local governments at all levels to conduct administration and handle affairs by law. The Law on Administrative Punishment formulated in 1996 set down strict regulations on the establishment and implementation of administrative punishment, fully embodying the spirit of administration by law. In 1997, the 15th CPC National Congress decided to make "the rule of law" a basic strategy and put forward the significant task of building a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. In 1999, "the People's Republic of China exercises the rule of law, building a socialist country governed according to such law" was added to the Constitution. To fulfill the basic strategy of the rule of law, the State Council promulgated the Decision on Promoting Law-based Administration in an All-round Way in 1999 and the Outline for the Implementation of Promoting Law-based Administration in an All-round Way in 2004, formally establishing the goal of building a government under the rule of law. In 2007, the 17th CPC National Congress expressly called for comprehensively implementing the fundamental principle of rule of the country by law and speeding up the building of a socialist country under the rule of law, and made arrangements for strengthening the rule of law in an all-round way. Since the 1990s, China has successively formulated and implemented a series of laws and regulations normalizing the common behavior of the government, such as the Law on State Compensation, Administrative Reconsideration Law, Administrative License Law and Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information. The emphasis in the rule of law was given to "controlling the officers and power by law" from handling the affairs. The modern concept of the rule of law was thus established.
II. China's Legislative System and Achievements in Legislation
(1) The Legislative System of China
With its vast territory, the unified and unitary China faces the problem of imbalanced development between different regions in terms of economy, culture and society. From the foundation of the People's Republic of China to the eve of reform and opening up, the legislative power of China was concentrated in the hands of the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee. To better accommodate with the national situation, the Constitution and relevant Organic Law, plus the Law on Legislation, prescribed the establishment of a unified and multi-layer legislative system under the principle of "bringing the local initiative and positivity into full play under a unified central leadership". In addition to the NPC and its Standing Committee, the State Council may enact administrative regulations in accordance with the Constitution and the law; the people's congresses or their standing committees of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government may enact local regulations, provided that such regulations do not contradict the Constitution, the laws and administrative regulations, and approve local regulations formulated by people's congresses or their standing committees of the larger cities; the people's congresses of the ethnic autonomous areas have the power to enact autonomous regulations and separate regulations on the basis of the political, economic and cultural conditions of the local ethnic group(s). Moreover, the ministries and commissions of the State Council and the other organs endowed with administrative functions directly under the State Council may, in accordance with the laws and administrative regulations, enact rules within the limits of their power; and the people's governments of the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government and the larger cities may, in accordance with laws, administrative regulations and local regulations of their respective province, autonomous region or municipality, enact rules. Moreover, Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions enjoy a greater extent of legislative power in line with the guideline of "one country, two systems" and the regulation of the Basic Law.
To guarantee the uniformity of the state's legal system and coordination of various laws and regulations, the Chinese legal system prescribes the validity of laws or regulations at different levels: The Constitution has the supreme legal authority, and no laws, administrative regulations, local regulations, autonomous regulations, separate regulations, or rules may contravene the Constitution. The authority of laws is higher than that of administrative regulations, local regulations and rules. The authority of administrative regulations is higher than that of local regulations and rules; and the authority of local regulations is higher than that of the rules of local governments at and below the corresponding level. To guarantee the implementation of the prescription, China practices the supervisory system in respect of legislation. Administrative regulations must be filed to the Standing Committee of the NPC for the sake of maintaing accurate records; local regulations must similarly be filed to the Standing Committee of the NPC and the State Council. The Standing Committee of the NPC has the power to annul any administrative regulations that contradict the Constitution and the law, and to annul any local regulations that contradict the Constitution, laws or administrative regulations. Furthermore, the State Council has the power to alter or annul any inappropriate rules of the government departments and of local governments.
In the course of legislation, China always abides by the principle of scientific and democratic legislation, constantly strengthening the scientific and democratic degree of such legislation to improve the legislative quality. To boost the standard of democratic legislation, the legislatives at various levels are committed to adhering to following the mass line, considering the ordinary population as the participators of the legislation and actively exploring and adopting various kinds of modes to enlarge the extent of public participation. Through field surveys and by holding forums and feasibility study meetings, the legislatives at various levels have heard the opinions of the management counterparts, the implementation departments and various scholars. Bills of laws concerning vital public interests are published in full in the news media, inviting comments from the people. After being adopted, the laws and regulations are published in a timely way in gazettes of the people's congresses and governments at all levels, government websites and the mass media.
(2) A Socialist Legal Framework with Chinese Characteristics Has Been Basically Formed.
It was the New China that launched the great practice of establishing a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. After the adoption of reform and opening up, the legislation course of China was greatly accelerated. During the period from 1979 to March 2009, the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee formulated 388 laws besides the active Constitution and four amendments to the Constitution and adopted 140 decisions concerning legal issues; plus the State Council formulated 1,126 administrative laws and regulations. From 1987, when the rules and regulations filing system was established, to March 2009, the people's congresses and the corresponding standing committees of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and the 49 comparatively large cities formulated 14,515 local regulations. In addition, the departments of the State Council and the people's governments of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and the 49 comparatively large cities constituted 17,694 rules. As a result of 60 years of strenuous effort, a socialist legal framework with Chinese characteristics has been fundamentally set in place. Based on the Constitution, it takes the basic laws concerning civil affairs, criminal law, economy, administration and lawsuits as the core and comprises of the laws, regulations and rules valid at different levels.
(3) The Basic Legal System of China
During the 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the following several kinds of systems have been established and improved:
The first is the legal systems by which human rights are respected and safeguarded. The Constitution sets out the citizens' right to life, the right to personal freedom, freedom of religious belief, right to personal dignity, right to equality and freedom of speech. It also ensures freedom of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration, and provides a fundamental legal guarantee for the economic, social, cultural and other rights of Chinese citizens. The Criminal Law and General Principles of the Civil Law all include fundamental stipulations on protecting citizens' right to life. The Production Safety Law, the Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Occupational Diseases, and other laws and regulations lay down provisions for the protection of working people's life and health. The Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy prescribes that all ethnic groups in the People's Republic of China are equal. The Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and other laws stipulate that women enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life. The Regulations on Religious Affairs further guarantees religious freedom. The Labor Law, Law on Labor Contracts, The Regulations on Work-related Injury Insurance, Regulations on Unemployment Insurance, Regulations on Labor Security Supervision and other regulations and laws protect the lawful rights of employees. The Regulations on the Employment of the Disabled, Provisions on the Labor Protection of Female Employees, Provisions on the Prohibition of Child Labor and other regulations and rules provide special protection for the physical and psychological health and lawful rights of all underprivileged groups. The Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care, Law on the Protection of Minors, Law on the Protection of the Disabled and various other laws reinforce the protection of special groups. The Regulations on Special Care and Preferential Treatment for Servicepersons, and the Regulations on the Placement of Demobilized Compulsory Servicepersons, plus certain other regulations, lay down the state's special care and preferential treatment system for demobilized, injured or dead servicepersons and their families. The Compulsory Education Law ensures the equal right of all school-aged children and other teenagers to compulsory education.
The second kind is the legal system regulating the order of the market economy. During the transition from a planned economy to a market economy since the adoption of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, China has continuously strengthened its legislation in economic and related fields. A series of laws, such as the General Principles of the Civil Law, Contract Law, Security Law and Property Rights Law, have established and improved the basic civil systems. The Company Law, Partnership Law, Sole Proprietorship Enterprise Law, Law on Commercial Banks, Law on Farmers Specialized Cooperatives and other laws have improved the legal systems for market entities. The Law on Enterprise Bankruptcy set up the bankruptcy system, regulating the withdrawal from the market of market entities. The Anti-monopoly Law and Law on Countering Unfair Competition now regulate market competition behavior and have facilitated the reform of monopolized industries. The Insurance Law, Securities Law, Law on Regulation of and Supervision over the Banking Industry, Regulations on Foreign Exchange Control, and other laws and regulations have set up a financial supervision and regulation system with open, fair and just value orientation. The Budget Law, Audit Law, Government Procurement Law, Pricing Law, Individual Income Tax Law, Enterprise Income Tax Law, Law on the Administration of Tax Collection, Law on the Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and other laws have put forth provisions on macro-control in their corresponding fields. A series of laws, such as the Law on Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, Law on Chinese-Foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures, Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises and Foreign Trade Law, now provide multiple modes or organizational forms for foreigners to invest in China, and fully guarantee the lawful rights and interests of such foreigners who invest and conduct economic and trade activities in China. The enactment of laws such as the Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law and Law on Countering Unfair Competition, and the promulgation of a series of administrative regulations, including the Regulations on the Protection of Computer Software, Regulations on the Protection of Layout-design of Integrated Circuits, Regulations on the Collective Management of Copyrights, Regulations on the Protection of Dissemination of Information Through the Internet, Regulations on Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights and Regulations on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, have established relatively complete legal systems for the protection of intellectual property rights in their corresponding aspects. China adopts a law enforcement and protection mechanism for intellectual property rights through the coordinated implementation of judicial justice and administrative execution.
The third kind is the legal systems regulating administrative power. The legal systems for administrative acts have been improved. The Law on Administrative Licensing sets strict limitations and stipulations on the matters and procedures of administrative licensing. It also stipulates that the administrative licensing work conducted by administrative organs must be legitimate, open, impartial and convenient for the people. According to the Constitution and the Property Rights Law, in order to meet the demands of public interest, the State may expropriate collectively owned land, real estate and other immovable properties owned by entities and individuals according to authorization and procedures prescribed by law, but should pay adequate compensation and any other fees concerned. The Law on Administrative Penalties prescribes that where administrative penalties need to be imposed for violations of the order of administration, they shall be prescribed by laws, regulations or rules, and enforced by administrative organs according to the procedures prescribed by relevant laws, regulations or rules. The Law on Administrative Review and the Administrative Procedure Law improve the legal systems in respect of administrative supervision and remedy. A citizen, legal person or any other organization considering that his/her or its lawful rights and interests have been infringed upon by a specific administrative act may apply for administrative review to an administrative organ or institutional proceedings to a people's court to protect their legal rights and interests. The Law on State Compensation prescribes that the aggrieved person shall have the right to demand compensation when an administrative organ or its personnel has infringed upon his/her right of person or property in violation of the law when exercising administrative functions and powers. The Law on Administrative Supervision and the Auditing Law have established the special supervisery system of conducting supervision and audit on the administrative organs respectively. The Law on Civil Servants and the Regulations on Punishment of Civil Servants of Administrative Organs have defined the civil servants' qualifications, obligations and rights and legal liability. The law and the regulations have prescribed administration of civil servants by classification and a post appointment system, as well as a penalty system for civil servants in administrative organs.
III. Significant Improvement Has Been Achieved in Administration by Law and Building a Government under the Rule of Law.
The level of the administrative organs in administration by law is one of the most important criterions by which to weigh the condition of the development of the rule of law. The Chinese Government has attached great importance to and has most vigorously advanced the administration by law and made significant progress in this regard.
(1) Implementing the Fundamental Principle of Governing the Country by Law and Establishing the Goal of Building a Government under the Rule of Law
To implement the fundamental principle of governing the country by law, the State Council held the National Conference on the Administration by Law and formulated the Decision on Promoting Law-based Administration in an All-round Way in 1999, making special arrangements for the work of promoting a complete law-based administration. In March 2004, the State Council formulated and promulgated the Outline for the Implementation of Promoting a Law-based Administration in an All-round Way, setting up the goal of building a government under the rule of law. To strengthen the self-construction of the government, the State Council rectified the Working Rules of the State Council many times, stressing on each occasion the theme of promoting administration by law and building a government under the rule of law. Since 1999, the State Council has promoted the administration by law with specific emphasis. From 2000 to 2001, to meet the demand of China's entry into the WTO, the State Council cleaned up the laws, regulations, rules and normative documents related to trade collectively and amended or annulled a host of laws, regulations, rules and normative documents which were not in accordance with the rule of WTO and the commitments made by China for its access to the WTO. In 2003, special emphasis was given to the implementation of the Administrative License Law and the promotion of the transition of governmental functions and the innovation of management. From 2007 to 2008, significant efforts were made in respect of boosting the administration by law of the various local governments.
(2) Gradual Transition of the Governmental Function and Constant Innovation in the Mode of Administrative Management
With the transition of China's economic system, from the planned to the market economy, the governmental function began to lay stress on service instead of the original management and the mode of administrative management also started to transform to the principle of rule orientation. The State Council began to carry out the reform of the administrative examination and approval from 2001. The Administrative License Law further prescribed the principle and direction of the reform on the administrative examination and approval, vigorously promoting the transition of the governmental function and innovation in the mode of the administrative management. So far, the State Council has canceled and adjusted 1,992 administrative examinations and approvals in four batches and the provincial governments have annulled and adjusted over 22,000 administrative examinations and approvals, accounting for over one half of the total original examinations and approval projects respectively. The local governments have also worked hard to make innovations in the mode of the administrative management. Currently, the local governments at various levels and the departments of the State Council have established 3,300 "administrative service centers", "centers for administrative examination and approval" or "open service halls", adopting the "one-stop service" to simplify the procedures. Meanwhile, the governments at various levels now attach more importance to the adoption of such means as indirect management, mobile management and post supervision, actively bringing the modes of administrative direction and contract into full play in the administration. Since December 2000, the State Council has greatly boosted the work of government affairs transparency. It promulgated the Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information in April 2007, putting the disclosure of the government affairs on the track of standardization and legalality. The transparency of the governmental work was thus significantly elevated.
The State Council has also constantly strengthened the function of social management and continues to make great efforts to improve the management system of the emergency response mechanism. Since 2003, on the basis of summarizing the experiences and lessons of preventing and controlling SARS, the State Council has further strengthened its emergency response system. It submitted the bill of the Emergency Response Law to the Standing Committee of the NPC for approval and formulated or amended some administrative regulations concerning emergency response management, including the Regulations on Handling of Public Health Emergencies. The State Council and the local governments at various levels have vigorously advanced the construction of a system of emergency response plans. Over 1.3 million emergency response plans have now been formulated nation-wide. A comprehensive system of these emergency response plans has been basically formed, greatly boosting the ability of the whole society in coping with the national disasters.
(3) The Reform of the Administrative Enforcement System Has Been Constantly Deepened and the Administrative Law Enforcement Conduct Standardized.
The life of law is based on the enforcement of such law. Approximately 80 percent of laws, 90 percent of local regulations, and all the administrative regulations and rules are enforced by the government. Since these laws have gradually grown up, the principle of administrative law enforcement has become an important part in the promotion of the rule of law. As for the issues of "duplicate law enforcement" and "inequity between rights and responsibility", the State Council has carried out the comparatively centralized work of administrative punishment and actively organized and developed comprehensive law enforcement. So far, besides the 82 pilot cities with relatively centralized administrative punishment rights approved by the State Council, 190 governments at city level with the establishment of districts and 804 county-level governments have carried out the relatively centralized administrative punishment right, and 183 city-level governments with the establishment of districts and 830 county-level governments have also developed a system of comprehensive law enforcement work. A relatively centralized administrative punishment right and comprehensive law enforcement has been conducted in the fields of culture, tourism, security of mines, agriculture, forestry, water conservancy and traffic from the original field of urban management, effectively solving the issues of duplicate law enforcement, fighting against each other and interfering with people's normal rights. As to the problem that the administrative enforcement was not normative and the rights were not equal in respect of the responsibility in administrative enforcement, many local government agencies began to implement the administrative law enforcement responsibility system within the administrative organs. In July 2005, the General Office of the State Council issued the Several Opinions of the State Council on Pushing Forward the Administrative Law Enforcement Responsibility System, making special arrangements in this regard. The implementation of the administrative law enforcement responsibility system standardizes the law enforcement conduct and significantly harmonizes the relationships concerning law enforcement as well as promoting the elevation of the level of the administrative law enforcement most effectively.
(4) Administrative Supervision System Has Been Improved Constantly.
Power without supervision certainly results in corruption and abuse. Bearing that in mind, China established the administrative review system and the rules and regulations filing system for review. The administrative review is an important means to supervise administrative conduct. In the early period of the People's Republic of China, we preliminarily established the administrative review system, which, however, was destroyed during the chaotic period of the Cultural Revolution. After 1979, this system was gradually resumed and improved. With the formulation of the Administrative Procedure Law in 1989 and the Regulations on Administrative Reconsideration in 1990, the administrative review system entered a period of standardization and development. In 1999, China formulated the Administrative Reconsideration Law. By the end of 2008, since the implementation of the Administrative Reconsideration Law, the administrative review departments at various levels received all together 769,601 applications for administrative reviews, accepted 689,017 and handled 627,898 others, with an average handling rate of 91.13 percent. Of the total, 361571 were carried through, 114,692 were corrected and 45,515 dealt with in other ways. As a result of the administrative review, a host of illegal or unmerited administrative conducts were corrected, effectively protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the general public.
With the rapid development of the construction of the democratic legal system, the supervision of the abstract administrative action has become increasingly important. In 1987, the General Office of the State Council issued the Notice on the Filing Work of the Regulations and Rules of the Local Governments and State Council and the General Offices of the Standing Committee of the NPC and the State Council respectively issued the Notice on the Local Rules Filing Work, preliminarily establishing the regulations and rules filing system. With the successive formulation of the Law on Regulation, Ordinance concerning the Procedures for the Formulation of Administrative Regulations, Regulations on Procedures of the Rules Formulating and Ordinance on the Archivist Filing of Regulations and Government Rules, the filing work of the regulations and government rules embarked on the track of standardization and legal system, forming a complete set of systems. Currently, the regulation and rule filing rate, the filing rate in time and the standardization rate of the filing are being elevated year by year. Almost all the new regulations and rules are reported for filing after their formulation. To solve the problems entailed by the fact that the local governments once issued documents arbitrarily, the local governments at various levels, in line with the requirements of the State Council, have strengthened their supervisory managementstructure over the relevant documents, establishing a normative documents filing and supervision system of "four-level governments and three-level supervision". The people's governments of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government have now established a normative documents filing system, and over 90 percent of the city-level governments with the establishments of the districts and at least 80 percent of the county-level governments also have such a system in place.
(5) The Conception and Ability of the Staff of the Administrative Organs in Particular the Leaders in Law-based Administration Have Been Remarkably Advanced.
Since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy, China has set great store by the training of the conception and ability of the staff of the administrative organs and in particular the leaders in its law-based administration. The governments and governmental departments at various levels often hold training activities and exercises in legal public-awareness. Most local governments and the departments of the State Council have steadily established the system that the staff of the administrative organs should learn the laws. A host of local governments and departments incorporate the learning of legal knowledge into an important content for the training of the leaders and take the law-based administration condition of the respective regions and departments as a most important index for the examination of future leaders. The local governments have generally established the examination system for the employment of civil servants and a post training system for the tipstaff. The staff of the administrative organs, and in particular the leaders, now make decisions and handle affairs by law more consciously, all of which is helping to form a genuine law-based administration.
IV. The Judicial System Has been Constantly Improved and the Reform of the Judicial System and Mechanism Furthered.
In China, the people's court is the judicial organ and the people's procuratorate is the supervisory organ for law enforcement. The people's court and the people's procuratorate, in accordance with the Constitution, Organic Law of the People's Courts, Organic Law of the People's Procuratorates, Civil Procedure Law, Administrative Procedure Law and Criminal Procedure Law, independently exercise their adjudicative and supervisory power, free from any interference from administrative organs, public organizations and individuals
(1) The Modern Judicial System Has Been Gradually Established.
China has established a sound judicial system, including that of public trial, system of collegiate panels, system of people's assessors, system of defense, system of agent litigation, system of challenge, system of mediation, system of judgment of the second instance as final, and system of review of death sentence, and a supervisory system concerning public prosecution and the overall prosecution supervision. China has also established an arbitration system, attorney system, notary system, legal aid system and judicial examination system, forming a modern judicial system in line with the requirements for the building of a socialist country under the rule of law. The judicial organs perform their duties, punish criminals, protect the people and mediate contradictions and disputes, all of which aim to maintain national security and social stability and safeguard both judicial and social justice, effectively guaranteeing that the reform and opening upto say nothing of socialist reconstruction, progresses smoothly.
(2) Remarkable Achievements Have Been Made in the Reform of the Judicial System and Mechanism.
With the further building of the socialist democratic legal system and the development of the socialist market economy, many changes have occurred in the judicial system and new circumstances have thus cropped up in the judicial work. The general population have lodged a whole host of requirements in respect of judicial work. It cannot be denied that a number of incomplete and unadapted issues still exist in the judicial system, so certain reforms and improvements of the current judicial system and working mechanism are required. Since the arrangement for promoting the reforms on the judicial system on the 16th National Congress of the CPC, great progress has been made in respecting and guaranteeing human rights through the improvement of the criminal justice system involving the procedures for handling capital punishment cases, respect to minors, legal supervision of the execution of punishment and the prison system and the implementation of the pilot programs featuring reform of criminals in communities and the system of people's supervisors. Through reforming the measures on the payment of litigation fees and strengthening judicial relief and legal aid, the difficulties of filing a lawsuit and of enforcing a court's judgment has been eased. The efficiency of judicial work has been raised by reforming and improving the working mechanism and establishing a round mediation mechanism for settling conflicts of various aspects, such as public mediation, administrative mediation and judicial mediation. As restraint and supervision of judicial powers are tightened, some prominent problems affecting judicial fairness are being solved. A system of openness has been improved in relation to trials, procuratorial work, police work and prison work. Justice is further guaranteed through reforming and improving the management system of personnel and the mechanism that ensures the availability of working funds.
In the 60 years of the development of the rule of law in China, there have been many successful experiences, but some problems still exist. In this new century, China will focus on perfecting legislation, strict enforcement of the law and impartial administration of justice to implement the fundamental policy of governing the country by law in an all-round way, taking the development road of the rule of law with Chinese characteristics. By strengthening and improving legislation work, we will further improve the quality of legislation to form as soon as possible a more comprehensive socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. By strengthening the implementation of the Constitution and the law, we will safeguard people's legitimate rights and interests and social justice, and defend the uniformity, dignity and authority of the socialist legal system. By enhancing the supervision over law enforcement, we will guarantee the proper operation of power, ensure that power must be linked to responsibility and under supervision, and emphasize that offenders must be prosecuted. By carrying out intensive publicity of the law and education in the law, we will further enhance the awareness such laws and the concept of the rule of law among the public, and develop a social atmosphere of consciously studying, observing and applying the law. We are truly convinced that China will realize the goal of building a socialist country under the rule of law through the joint efforts of the whole of society.