Understanding the Chinese constitutional shakeup
While the world at large is questioning the very existence and viability of democracy in wake of populism and xenophobia, the Chinese model of governance has once again showed the world that it possesses political stability, strength and coherence.
With the US and its allies have been manipulating the situation to contain China, the dragon itself has awakened to brave the threats and the great Chinese nation has decided to take hard decisions to counter the regional, economic and global threats.
In a landmark development, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), the national legislature, in the first session of the 13th NPC last week, adopted an amendment to the country’s constitution as lawmakers at the NPC annual session agreed that the constitutional revision, which accords with the aspiration of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the people and has won approval from both inside and outside the Party, is of historic significance for ensuring prosperity and lasting security of both the Party and the country.
Revising part of the constitution is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee from the overall and strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, said Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, when joining NPC deputies in a panel discussion on Wednesday. This was the first amendment to the country’s fundamental law in 14 years.
The decision by the CPC Central Committee on deepening reform to state institutions is a welcome sign, hinting at the vigour and strong desire of the party leadership and the Chinese peoples to bring further improvement, modernisation and transformation in state affairs.
A constitutional change is either proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by more than one-fifth of all NPC deputies, and then requires the approval of two-thirds or more of NPC deputies during the annual session.
This is a part of China’s reform process commenced in year 2012. Since then, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has worked toward the overall goal of improving and developing the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, while modernising China’s system and capacity for governance.
Xi’s thought is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of the CPC and the people
China has entered a new historic juncture of development and the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has changed too. The country will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, moving on to basically realising modernisation by 2035, and then turn to making China a great modern socialist country in every dimension by the middle of the 21st century.
All these urgently require scientific setup of institutions, appropriate allocation of their functions, coordinated usage of staffing and improved systems and mechanism.
Under its reform agenda, China eyes developing a system that ensures a law-based administrative governance system with clear functions and responsibilities, a world-class armed forces system with Chinese characteristics, as well as a sound system of people’s organisations for bridging and serving the general populace.
Chinese leadership also aims at promoting coordinated actions and resultant forces among the people’s congresses, governments, political advisory bodies, and supervisory, judicial and prosecutorial organs, people’s organisations, enterprises, public institutions, and social organisations under the unified leadership of the CPC.
China has the resolve to remove institutional barriers so that the market plays the decisive role in resource allocation and the government plays its role better. The reforms plan also includes functions of macro-management of institutions allocated in a reasonable way.
Government also wants to cement the optimisation of functions of anti-monopoly and anti-fair competition. Better functions on financing management are also planned to forestall systemic financial risks and protect financial security.
Efforts would be made to further streamline administration and delegate powers. The direct allocation of market resources by the government and the direct interference in market operations would be reduced to the utmost.
Better systems of market supervision and law enforcement would be ensured too. The reform of natural resources and environmental management systems includes implementing the strictest possible systems for environmental protection and establishing regulatory agencies to manage state-owned natural resource assets and monitor natural ecosystems.
Measures to improve public services management would be adopted besides strengthening operational and post-operational oversight as well as enhance administrative efficiency and government effectiveness.
Coordinated reforms of institutions in the Party, the government, the military, and people’s organisations would also be adopted which the Communist Party believes are necessities for strengthening the centralised and unified leadership of the CPC as well as achieving the coordinated and effective functions of these institutions.
The reforms include better arrangement of Party and government organs to avoid decentralising or overlapping responsibilities, reforming the people’s congresses, political advisory bodies, and judicial organs, strengthening the role of people’s organisations as bridges linking the Party and the government with the people, leveraging the role of social organisations, making public institutions better serve public interests and deepening reform in areas covering both the military and civilian services.
China also aims at smooth and vigorous work system of central and local institutions, in which orders are executed without fail. While the central authorities would strengthen macro-management, local authorities are asked to do their jobs well on the condition of carrying out orders from the top to the detail.
The setup of local institutions must ensure effective implementation of the policies from the CPC Central Committee and national laws and regulations. Moreover, more decision making power would be granted to organs at and below the provincial level.
A lean and effective grassroots governance system would be set up to strengthen the foundation of the system and capacity for governance of the state. Grassroots authorities would not simply copy the structure of their superior level but adapt to their respective responsibilities.
Coordination between centrally administered agencies and local authorities would also be improved.
Management of all organisations and institutions in accordance with the law would be made and accelerating of the process of legalising the institutions, and their functions, powers, operational procedures as well as responsibilities would be ensured.
While stressing that the staffing rules would be strictly followed, it also called for a dynamic adjustment mechanism and requirements for timely information disclosure.
Those who fail to observe the staffing rules and legal requirements would be held accountable. The CPC Central Committee would coordinate and supervise the holistic implementation of the reform, while local authorities and departments were urged to resolutely implement the reform tasks.
Authorities at various levels would not act until their reform plans are approved by the CPC Central Committee. The CPC, the whole Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups, would rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, achieve unity in thought and action, and ensure that all tasks of deepening reform of Party and state institutions are accomplished.
Continued efforts are needed to improve the system of Party and state institutions that are well conceived, fully built, procedure based, and functioning efficiently.
The legislation also calls for hard work to secure a decisive victory in finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, to speed up the socialist modernisation and to realise the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
China’s Constitution has been developed along with the people’s practices of building socialism with Chinese characteristics under the CPC leadership.
The new amendment make the Constitution in keeping with the times by incorporating new achievements, experiences and requirements of the Party and the country’s development as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.
As an important content of the amendment, the inclusion of Xi’s thought into the country’s fundamental law reflects the common aspiration of the entire Party and all Chinese people of various ethnic groups.
Xi’s thought is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of the CPC and the people.
It has been the fundamental theoretical guide for the historic achievements and shifts made in the cause of the Party and the country since the 18th CPC National Congress.
The addition of Xi’s thought and the Scientific Outlook on Development has ensured the country’s guiding theories to advance with the times. Hence, the reform process under Xi Jinping, would continue to put China on a path to modernisation, opening up and catching up with top world economies and powers.