V. Strengthening the CPC Leadership over Legal Protection of Human Rights
China is a large country with a population of more than 1.3 billion. The CPC is a large party with more than 89 million members. It plays a leading role in the political life of China. CPC leadership provides the fundamental guarantee for the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and is also the strongest means in China's fight to ensure legal protection of human rights. Since the 18th National Congress, the CPC has continuously strengthened and improved its leadership in building the rule of law by following the principle of "respecting and safeguarding human rights." It has worked hard in promoting law-based governance of the country, rule-based governance of the Party and intra-Party institution building, providing a strong political base for guaranteeing legal protection of human rights in China in all key areas.
Respect for and protection of human rights has been incorporated in the basic strategy of the rule of law. At the 18th National Congress, the CPC decided to "step up efforts to build a socialist country based on the rule of law" and made it clear that achieving the goal that "human rights are fully respected and protected" was an important part of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. At the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, the CPC decided to "promote the rule of law in the country" and emphasized the need to "improve the judicial system to protect human rights". At the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, the CPC adopted the "Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Advancing the All-round Law-based Governance". This resolution put forward 190 measures in the areas of sound lawmaking, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and common observance of the law. It also provides for: building a capable workforce dedicated to developing the rule of law; strengthening and improving the Party's leadership over efforts to advance the all-round law-based governance of the country; creating an overall plan for developing a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics; building a country of socialist rule of law, and completing specific tasks to provide "stronger judicial protection of human rights."
As stated by the central leadership at the 19th CPC National Congress, to ensure that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms as prescribed by law we must: exercise Party leadership at every point in the process and over every dimension of law-based governance; combine law-based governance of the country and rule-based governance of the Party; set up a central leading group for advancing law-based governance in all areas to exercise unified leadership over the task of building the rule of law in China; uphold the unity, sanctity, and authority of China's legal system, and strengthen legal protection of human rights, and ensure that people enjoy legitimate rights and freedoms.
Law-based governance of the country and rule-based governance of the Party have both been upheld. Rule of law is fundamental to the governance of a country. The CPC has: upheld the basic strategy of rule of law with the basic practice of law-based governance; exercised overall leadership; coordinated all efforts so as to ensure that people's congresses, governments, committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, courts, and procuratorates all perform their duties and carry out their work in accordance with the law and their charters; worked to ensure that it leads the people in enacting and enforcing the Constitution and the laws, and operated within the confines of the Constitution and the law itself. The CPC issued the "Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Strengthening the Party Leadership over Legislation", requiring that drafting of laws and regulations on politics and other major areas of the economy and society must be deliberated by the CPC Central Committee, or the Party committee or Party leadership group at the same level. Reflecting the need to better define its leadership over legislation and make it more institutional, procedure-based and democratic, the CPC also emphasized the significance and importance of following principles of democratic decision-making and collective leadership, and deciding major legislative issues through collective deliberation.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee has organized group study sessions on the rule of law. It requires that Party officials must take the lead in respecting, studying, observing, and applying the law. In addition, Party committees at all levels must ensure training in the rule of law, improve the system for studying the law, and promote awareness of the law among officials. Officials at all levels should develop their ability to think and act based on law, work to reach consensus on reform, promote procedure-based development, resolve conflict, and safeguard social harmony in accordance with the law. Since the 18th National Congress, the CPC has made or revised some key regulations of iconic significance, including the "Guiding Principles for Political Activities Within the Party in the New Era" and the "Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Scrutiny", gradually forming a system that consists of the Party Constitution, guiding principles, regulations, measures, and implementing rules. The CPC has also reviewed and reorganized its internal regulations and normative documents dating from the founding of the PRC in October 1949 to June 2012. Among 1,178 such regulations and documents, 369 were declared invalid, 322 were abolished, and 487 are still in effect.
The court and the procuratorate must exercise their power independently and impartially in accordance with the law. "The Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Advancing the All-round Law-based Governance" states that we should improve the system for ensuring the law-based, independent, and impartial exercise of judicial and procuratorial powers, and that Party and government agencies and officials at all levels should support courts and procuratorates in exercising their powers independently and impartially in accordance with the law. The CPC issued the "Regulations on Recording, Circular of Criticism and Accountability of Intervening in Judicial Activities and in Handling of Specific Cases by Officials", which stipulates that all such interventions must be recorded, officials accused of interventions must be criticized in the form of circular, and officials whose interventions have had consequences should be held accountable. In so doing, the CPC has ensured that the courts and procuratorates exercise their power independently and impartially in accordance with the law.
Scrutiny and checks on the exercise of power have been strengthened. Since the 18th National Congress, the CPC has continued to develop its institutions, strengthening scrutiny and checks on the exercise of power, granting powers of scrutiny to the public, and providing an institutional framework to manage power, personnel and activities. At the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee, the CPC adopted the "Regulations for Political Activities Within the Party in the New Era." It states that mechanisms for controlling the exercise of power must be improved, so as to establish institutions which ensure that power comes with responsibility, that the use of power comes with accountability, and that those who abuse power are held to account. It stipulates that powers must be delineated, that the process and results of the exercise of power must be made public, that accountability mechanisms for inappropriate use of power must be reinforced, and that scrutiny over officials must be strengthened. To ensure that the power granted by the people will always be exercised in their interests, it requires that Party organizations and officials at every level must act within the scope of the Constitution and other laws, that they must act within the line of authority, rules and procedures prescribed by law, and must not treat their own word as law, place their own authority above the law, break the law in pursuit of personal interests, or bend the law for favoritism.
"The Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Scrutiny" expressly stipulate that internal scrutiny is primarily targeted at the leading organs and officials of the Party, particularly top leaders. The document also states that a sound system of internal scrutiny under the unified leadership of the Central Committee should be established, comprising overall supervision by Party committees or Party leadership groups, specialized supervision by commissions for discipline inspection, functional supervision by Party organs, routine supervision by primary-level Party organizations, and democratic scrutiny by Party members. As stated in the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, we will improve the supervision systems applying to the Party and the state, further reform the national supervision system, and conduct nationwide trials. We will establish supervisory commissions at national, provincial, prefectural, and county levels, ensuring that supervision covers all public servants who exercise public power. We will formulate the National Supervision Law, which will define duties and powers of these supervisory commissions, and their means of investigation. The practice of shuanggui [A form of intra-Party disciplinary action of the CPC that requires a Party member under investigation to cooperate with questioning at a designated place and a designated time.] will be replaced by detention.
We have fought resolutely against corruption in order to guarantee people's interests. The CPC has shown zero tolerance in the fight against corruption. It has revised codes about clean conduct, and regulations on disciplinary punishment, accountability, intra-Party scrutiny, and inspection tours, creating a framework for systematically preventing and combating corruption. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has investigated more than 440 Party-member officials at or above the provincial level and other officials registered at and supervised by the CPC Central Committee. Commissions for discipline inspection and departments of supervision around the country have dealt with 1,537,000 people, including 8,900 at bureau level and 63,000 at county level, and 58,000 cases of suspected criminal activity have been transferred to the judiciary.
This strong enforcement has acted as a powerful deterrent. In 2016, 57,000 Party-member officials took the initiative toconfess their violations of Party discipline. From the beginning of 2014 to August 2017, more than 6,100 Party committees or Party leadership groups, general branches and branches, more than 300 discipline inspection commissions or teams, and more than 60,000 Party-member officials were held accountable throughout the country. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has organized 12 rounds of inspection tours, including inspection of Party organizations in 277 local governments, departments and entities, "return inspections" of 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, and "flexible inspections" of four entities. For the first time in its history, the CPC achieved full coverage of central inspection tours during a single term of office of central leadership. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection set up 47 dispatched resident teams, covering all the 139 central-level departments of the Party and the government. According to a 2016 surveyof the National Bureau of Statistics, the CPC effort to improve Party conduct, uphold integrity, and combat corruption saw the index of public satisfaction with this initiative rise from 81 percent in 2013 to 92.9 percent in 2016.