Charting a New Path
A significant Party plenary session dedicates itself to lifting the rule of law to a new level across China
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Special> Fourth Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee> News
UPDATED: October 29, 2014
China to Ban Extralegal Administration with Power List

China will set list of powers for government and ban administrative authorities from any extralegal power, said a key policy document of the Communist Party of China (CPC) published on Tuesday.

The work to build a law-abiding government should be promoted with the establishment, function, power, procedure and liabilities clearly mandated in law and strictly practiced in line with law, said Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee General Secretary.

The new policy hopes to curb problems in administration and law enforcement such as failure in strictly observing or enforcing the law, putting their power above law, bending law for personal gains and power-for-money trades, Xi said.

Such problems have incurred deep resentment among the public and must be uprooted, Xi said.

According to the CPC Central Committee's decision on major issues concerning comprehensively advancing rule of law, which was passed at last week's fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, government authorities at all levels should carry out their work on track with the law while adhering to the leadership by the CPC.

A list of government powers will be introduced to squeeze out the room for power rent-seeking, or using power to influence regulations and gain business advantages, it said.

No government authority is allowed to set extralegal power. Without legal authorization they cannot make any decision that will undermine the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, corporations or other organizations, the CPC decision said.

They cannot create any additional obligations for citizens or others without due authorization.

Moreover, they must diligently practice their duties stipulated in the law, and any dereliction of duty or other misconduct must be punished, the decision said.

A system to put major decisions within the government under check and review will be established and governmental authorities will also have legal counsels to ensure their major decisions and administrative work are in line with the law.

Public participation, expert discussion, risk evaluation, legitimacy review and group discussion should be established as legal procedures for making a major decision. That is to ensure that such decisions are made in a scientific and transparent manner with due process and clear accountability guaranteed.

Officials who are responsible for serious mistakes in decision-making or serious consequences due to their failure of timely decision, will be subject to a life-long accountability system.

The governments' internal power should not be left unchecked either, according to the decision. It pledged separation of powers regarding excessively centralized departments and fiscal fund allocation, state-owned assets management, government investment and purchase, public resources transfer and public constructions, Xi said, citing the document.

The document vowed to slash unnecessary administrative enforcers while strengthening enforcement regarding food and drug safety, product quality inspections, public health, workplace safety, tourism, environment and resources, agriculture and water conservation, transportation as well as maritime and fishing law enforcement.

It also touched on the issue of city management officers or "Chengguan", enforcers criticized by many people for their lack of due authorization. The document promised to streamline the corresponding system.

The document also pledged independent audit over power use, improved system of administrative discretion as well as enhanced transparency of administrative affairs, including the publishing of the governments' power lists.

The vitality of law lies in its implementation and the authority of law is also established during the implementation, Xi said.

"No matter how many laws we have, if they are simply left on the shelf, they mean nothing," he added. "Once a law is established, any violation must be handled. Once an order is issued, it should be faithfully practiced without caprice."

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2014)

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