No Communist Party members are above the law and only the party has the power to lead revision of the constitution, President Jiang Zemin said. At a meeting to solicit support from 'friendly' political parties for changes to the constitution, Mr Jiang said the party, which was at the 'forefront of drawing up and implementing' the constitution, was also 'held in check' by it. 'The party has no special interests of its own and will not allow any of its members to enjoy special rights,' said the President, who is also the party's General Secretary. The party and its members must act as 'models' in abiding by the constitution, Xinhua quoted him as saying. He admitted that blatant violations of the law existed, but said that times like the Cultural Revolution, when the constitution was violently trampled on, would 'never happen again'. He added: 'But we must also realise that in reality, the authority of the constitution has not been fully established and we still have problems relating to the implementation of the constitution.' He said few officials 'even overtly defied' the constitution and abused their power for personal gains. 'In some areas and departments, there existed serious problems of protectionism and other deep-rooted problems of corruption,' the President said, adding such behaviour could not be tolerated. 'The people have expressed strong disapproval and they must be dealt with seriously.' He reiterated that no individuals were above the law, saying all state organs and personnel must always follow stipulations laid down in the constitution and the law. At an earlier meeting also on changes to the constitution, Mr Jiang said the changes proposed reflected Beijing's determination to push through reforms. 'The move is China's declaration to the world that, supported by the constitution, the Chinese people will unswervingly push ahead with building socialism with Chinese characteristics.' Adopted by the National People's Congress last week, the amendments proposed by the party's Central Committee would enshrine the key role of the private economy, strengthen the role of the law and elevate the capitalist-style theories of late leader Deng Xiaoping to the status of state ideology, alongside Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought.