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Complete rule of law
China Daily
Published: Oct 28 2011 8:54
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The formulation of a complete system of laws represents a tremendous achievement well worth the praise of "milestone" status.

We have been pursuing rule of law all these years, and the evolution and buildup of the Chinese legal system has been a long and difficult process.

Now the 240 effective laws, including the current Constitution, and the hundreds of administrative regulations our national and local legislatures have enacted to date, ensure that we have executable rule of law.

Of the numerous changes in the Chinese jurisprudential philosophy, the most revolutionary has been the perception of the status of the laws themselves.

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    During the 10 years of the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976), laws and the judiciary were brushed aside. Learning the lesson of this tragic period, the nation turned from rule by law and embraced the development of a system of laws that would enable rule of law.

    The introduction of the concept of rule of law demonstrated a willingness on the authorities' part to subject themselves to the authority of the law, and ever since no authorities, institutions or individuals have been above or beyond the law. The Party's and government's pledges to operate within the limits of national laws satisfied a fundamental precondition for the establishment of rule of law.

    Particularly since the beginning of reform and opening-up, our lawmakers have filled in all the major blanks in legislation, making our legal framework all encompassing and up-to-date. From protection of overseas investments to civil rights and interests, Chinese laws now cover all our major concerns. This in itself is a feat worth celebrating.

    The introduction of such concepts as presumption of innocence in criminal justice, for instance, reflects fundamental changes in jurisprudential thinking.

    Concern for human rights has been pervasive in the process of lawmaking, and as the just-released government white paper indicates, active efforts are being made to engage the public in lawmaking.

    As the public becomes more engaged with this process, we are sure our laws will adapt to the country's changing circumstances.

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