Economic reforms are not panaceas to all problems on the mainland and constitutional reform will be the way out, a Shenzhen law professor said. Speaking at the University of Hong Kong yesterday, Zou Pingxue said constitutionalism on the mainland - ruling the country with the constitution as the highest authority and strictly implementing its provisions - would only be a 'matter of time' and was 'bound to happen'. 'After the two-decade-long economic reforms, which have borne fruit, many people tend to think that [economic reforms] can be used to cure all problems. But today, this does not work any more. The most fundamental [task] is to carry out political reforms,' he said. Professor Zou teaches at Shenzhen University Law School and is a director at the university's research centre of constitutionalism and human rights. He said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao - unlike leaders like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping who established a strong leadership through their military and party achievements - had to build up their authority through the rule of law instead of personal charisma. Professor Zou said the path to constitutionalism would need to overcome a number of obstacles, including the lack of an independent judiciary, an underdeveloped market economy and a lack of supervisory powers over the Communist Party. 'In the whole constitution, [the section] on the leadership of the Communist Party is basically blank. We cannot find a line saying that. So how should we control [the party's power]?' Professor Zou said. In the preamble and Article 5 of the constitution, there are references to the need for 'all political parties' to abide by the constitution and the law. 'The ruling party is completely different from other parties. We should have specific rules targeting the Communist Party as it holds huge power. If such power is not restricted, it means [we] cannot control it if there are power abuses.' The absence of effective mechanisms to check the constitutionality of government acts and laws also posed difficulties, he said, calling for an independent constitutional court to be set up to handle such breaches.