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Xi Jinping rejects West's love of judicial independence

China's president calls to embrace rule of law while consolidating party's power and shaping new model of governance

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: February 19, 2019 08:19 AM GMT
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Xi Jinping rejects West's love of judicial independence

China's President Xi Jinping reviews a military honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP)

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China will follow law-based governance and develop its legal system in a way that best corresponds to its needs, but it will never copy the judicial independence embraced by the West, according to President Xi Jinping.

That being said, the unified and centralized leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must be constantly strengthened, and this has to take precedence over advancing the rule of law, he added.

Xi made the remarks at a closed-door meeting last year but they were not published until last month in Qiushi, the official periodical of the CCP that deals with political theory.

The Central Party School and the Central Committee of the CCP issue the periodical six times a year.

The latest issue on Jan. 16 reprinted Xi’s speech from Aug. 24 during the first meeting of the new Commission for Law-based Governance of the CCP Central Committee.

Xi ordered the panel to be set up during the 19th CCP National Congress in October 2017. He explained in his speech last August why there was a strong need for this, the first committee of its kind in the party’s history.

As head of the new committee, the Chinese leader said it aimed to improve the party's leadership by means of more legislation, while also working to develop a sound mechanism for law-based governance.

He said this was necessary for China to maintain long-term stability.

However, some local officials have strayed from this path by focusing too much on economic development, he said.

China is increasingly playing a wider role, not only in regional affairs but also on the world stage. As it wishes to take on greater responsibility and participate more in international affairs, it is necessary that it adopt the rule of law to some extent, Xi was quoted as saying.

He said that systems of global governance are changing and China should play a key role in helping to shape the future.

"We must actively participate in the formulation of international rules and become the participants, promoters, and leaders of the process of adjusting global governance," he said.

He took a note from history to illustrate his point, citing how the Roman Empire conquered the world three times: firstly by military force, secondly by the use of religion, and thirdly by the use of law.

"After the demise of the Roman Empire, relying on force has become useless; with the increase of the people's ideological consciousness and the development of science, the influence of religion has narrowed; the only lasting way to conquer the world now is through the use of law,” he said.

This methodology will also make the party a better steward of the country while consolidating its legitimacy and ruling status, he noted.

To be effective, however, China "must take the right path.”

"We must proceed from China's national conditions and reality, follow the path of the rule of law that suits us, and not copy the models and practices of other countries,” Xi said.

"We must never follow the path of constitutionalism, the separation of powers, or the judicial independence of the Western world."

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