The current leadership has already signed onto many reforms and even adjustments in ideology that represent positive steps toward a modern system of the rule of law, said Gewirtz.
"These changes aren't just window-dressing; they reflect the leadership's recognition that it needs to improve governance, address widespread public grievances, and respond to public opinion," said Gewirtz.
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Major Steps Taken by the Party to Advance the Rule of Law Since November 2012
- The report adopted at the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012 requires accelerating the building of a socialist country based on the rule of law and promoting law-based governance of the country in an all-around way.
- Delivering a speech at a congress marking the 30th anniversary of the implementation of China's 1982 Constitution on December 4, 2012, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said safeguarding the Constitution's authority, is to maintain the dignity of the will of the Party and the people, to ensure the Constitution's implementation, and to ensure the realization of the fundamental rights of the people.
- Making comments during a national political and legal work teleconference in January 2013, Xi asked the political and legal organs to meet the people's expectations on maintaining public security, judicial justice and rights protection, build a safe society, uphold the rule of law and strengthen the internal disciplinary systems.
- In July 2013, the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs (CPLA) of the CPC Central Committee issued guidelines to prevent miscarriages of justice, emphasizing following legal procedures and conducting systematic rectifications.
- On May 31, 2013, the CPLA held a conference in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, to promote the campaign of "peaceful China," which was launched by the Ministry of Public Security to promote the rule of law.
- On October 11, 2013, a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the "Experience of Fengqiao" was held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Fengqiao, a town in the province, became known for its experiment of "letting the Party and government bear their respective responsibilities for definite work, relying on the masses, defusing conflicts, safeguarding stability and promoting development."
- On November 9, 2013, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee approved a decision on "major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms." The decision stressed upholding the unity of the rule of law, law-based governance and law-based administration, and the integral development of a law-based country, government and society as a whole.
- On December 28, 2013, the NPC Standing Committee adopted a resolution to abolish the reeducation-through-labor system.
- On January 7, 2014, Xi said at a national political and legal work conference that ensuring social stability is the basic task of the country's political and legal work, promoting social justice and equality its core value and maintaining a safe living environment its fundamental goal.
- In March 2014, the CPC Central Committee General Office and State Council General Office jointly issued a circular on the handling of lawsuit-related letters and visits, which required local government departments to establish mechanisms on handling lawsuit-related letters and visits.
- On June 6, 2014, the third meeting of the leading group for overall reform under the CPC Central Committee reviewed and adopted suggestions on issues related to judicial system reform and the plan on the pilot programs of judicial reform in Shanghai.
- On July 9, 2014, the Supreme People's Court held a press conference to make a briefing on the fourth Five-Year Reform Program of People's Courts (2014-18). This program was a programmatic document to guide the reform work of courts in the following five years. Consisting of 45 measures in eight key areas, the document put forward the goal of building a socialist judiciary power execution system with Chinese characteristics till 2018.
- On September 30, 2014, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held a meeting to review comments and suggestions solicited from some Party members and non-Party members to the decision on "major issues concerning comprehensively advancing the rule of law," and decided to hand over the document to the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee for review after amendment.
(Source: People's Daily)