Full rule of law is still a distant goal: official

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am

Legal chief seeks progress on raft of reforms by 2010

China has a long way to go before fully attaining the rule of law as the central government stated in its 11th Five-Year Programme, a senior official said.

Cao Kangtai, director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, said the government had to achieve 'breakthrough progress' by 2010.

Speaking to the People's Daily, which carried his remarks in a report yesterday, Mr Cao said the central government had made 'important progress' and had seen 'distinct results' in the past five years towards becoming an administration that supports and was governed by the rule of law.

'But there is still a huge gap to what was proposed in the 11th five-year plan as to fully effecting an administration in accordance with the law and accelerating the development of a rule-of-law government,' said Mr Cao.

The central government introduced guidelines in 2004 detailing its shift to rule of law.

'Time is tight and workloads are heavy. The 11th five-year plan (2006 to 2010) is a key period to attain these goals,' he said.

In the guidelines, the State Council outlined targets for the next decade: a separation of government and enterprises; a set of administrative and local rules in line with the constitution and legal procedures; a fair and transparent system with which the public can reflect its views; an efficient and low-cost system to solve social conflicts; a separation between administration power and profits and an administration to support and respect the rule of law.

Mr Cao said one of the top priorities in the next five years was accelerating management reforms within the administration to streamline the role of each unit.

Without elaborating further, Mr Cao said Beijing would also raise efficiency in the administrative approval procedure.

The government would also reduce the number of administratively charged projects, which in the past have resulted in wastage and bucked market demand.

The 11th five-year plan is not only deemed key for developing the rule of law, but also the 'peak period for trying corrupt officials', said China Academy of Social Sciences researcher Shao Daosheng in a separate article in the Xinmin Weekly yesterday.

Mr Shao said the next few years were the time to prosecute corrupt officials, following the peak in graft activities in the 1990s.

'Since the 21st century, corruption within the party has reduced, decelerated and abated. The anti-corruption fight is going towards the positive side' said Mr Shao.

While saying that public satisfaction on the effort of leaders on combating corruption was on the rise, he stressed thesituation was still 'grim' and there was still a long way to go.

Meanwhile, a county party secretary in Sichuan province was injured in what was believed to be an attack by thugs in retaliation for reporting corruption to the authorities, the Chongqing Morning Post reported yesterday.

Gong Yuanming is in hospital under 24-hour protection after three strangers severed his leg tendons on April 3.

His wife Li Yacheng said she suspected the attack was linked to Mr Gong's report made to the central government and Sichuan authorities in July last year about several county leaders breaching the law and party discipline.