China media expect party to strengthen 'rule of law'

The rule of law is expected to take centre stage at the plenum in Beijing Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rule of law is expected to take centre stage at the plenum in Beijing

Media in China expect an important meeting of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to help strengthen the rule of law and adopt a tougher stance on high-level corruption.

According to China Daily, the plenary session of the party's Central Committee, which began in Beijing on Monday, will "set the tone for the CPC to promote the rule of law in China in an all-rounded manner, under new circumstances".

This is the first time that the rule of law will be the main theme of a plenary session, commentators note, recalling that such meetings usually dwell on internal party affairs.

The People's Daily predicts that officials might discuss reform in different areas, including the judicial system, the disciplinary system within the party, as well as anti-corruption measures.

"The Party's relentless high-pressure anti-graft effort has deterred officials from corruption. Observers say that the session will roll out plans to create a system to stop corruption. The anti-corruption effort may enter a new phase that will target the real causes of corruption," says the daily. It adds that no news will be released to the public before the end of the meeting on Thursday.

Jiang Ming An, a law professor at Beijing University, tells the People's Daily overseas edition that the government should "streamline administration and decentralise". It should also allow the people to "supervise the administration".

"The rule of law is more than a national policy. It is an indication of capability and an all-round update of the system of governance", argues the English-language Global Times.

"That all people are equal before the law is no longer an ideal or a slogan, but the demand of mainstream public opinion in China… More emphasis has been put on the restraint of power," adds the daily. It notes that the "imperfect" judicial system has been a "target of strong criticism, intensifying conflicts and contradictions".

Calling for limits on the power officials yield, an article in the Xinhua's new media platform Thinker points out that although China has a "comprehensive legal system", it is not highly trusted.

"The abuse of power, not the violation of law by ordinary people, is causing fairness and justice to retreat," it argues.

"This is because our society believes in power and money, so it is difficult to place trust in the law... In some places, the law has become the tool of the powerful," says the article in Thinker. It adds that "idolising power" and "the distrust of law" have hindered the creation of a law-based society.

However, an article in the domestic edition of the People's Daily praises the country's current leadership for bringing "rule-based governance" to "unprecedented heights". Another commentary in the same paper hails the central authorities for promoting fairness by using "strict law enforcement" and controlling powers by placing them "in the cage of a system".

Hong Kong protests

Meanwhile, papers continue to slam protesters in Hong Kong for "hurting the rule of law".

Qiang Shiong, a law expert at Beijing University, tells the People's Daily that opposition groups in Hong Kong are "deliberately breaking the law" by using the "extreme" Occupy Central movement.

A report in the China News Service opines that the "illegal movement" is becoming "more and more violent" and is far from a peaceful protest.

Smog problems

And finally, newspapers defend the organisers of the Beijing marathon who were heavily criticised for refusing to postpone the event after smog engulfed the city.

Thousands took part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon on Sunday, but organisers only warned participants to expect slight or moderate levels of smog.

The US embassy in Beijing, however, said air quality early on Sunday was "hazardous".

The Beijing News argues that it is difficult to change the date of the race as it is an international event that involves many parties.

"There were many participants, only a few wore the masks… Many who were leading in the race did not even put a mask on," notes the article, adding that "it is up to you whether you run the race or not".

The Beijing Times says it was impossible to postpone the event and urges everyone to make it their own responsibility to fight pollution. Curbing it is "another challenging marathon", concludes the paper.

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