Beijing vowed to strengthen law enforcement - aiming to build a more accountable, transparent and cleaner government - amid growing public discontent and social conflict. A document on rule of law, issued by the State Council, is the latest effort to enhance the ruling Communist Party's legitimacy and the government's credibility, without committing to Western-style democracy. China must strengthen law enforcement, promote transparency and internal democracy in policymaking and make officials more accountable to defuse the social strains unleashed by rapid economic growth, the document says. It says all restructuring should stick to the principle of Communist Party leadership and one-party rule, calling on government officials to learn the 'concept of socialist rule of law under the basic principle of Communist Party leadership'. Professor Liu Kang, a China-watcher at America's Duke University, said the document reflected officials' and intellectuals' view that rule of law should come before Western-style political reform, as well as government concern about the mainland's law-enforcement system. 'Law enforcement is high on the agenda because of the compelling needs of Chinese society, particularly in areas where public interests clash head on with those of 'special interest groups' within the government and businesses,' Liu said. The document was posted on the central government's website yesterday. It says: 'There are growing challenges as the domestic and international environments are becoming increasingly complicated and our economic and social development is now entering a new phase. 'Development between urban and rural areas and among regions is unbalanced, income distribution inequities and disparities are growing, there are profound adjustments in the social structure and array of interests, social conflicts have increased in some regions and sectors, mass incidents sometimes break out, and corruption remains widespread.' 'Mass incidents' refers to riots, protests and other forms of collective unrest. They have increased significantly in recent years. The State Council is also trying to encourage officials to stick impartially to laws when making decisions. It called for public participation in legislation, saying people's opinions, reasonable needs and legitimate interests should all be considered. It said the legislative process should not be influenced to favour the interests of one sector or protect local interests. And all government information - aside from that involved in state, commercial or private secrets - is required to be open to the public. Government departments will also be required to reply to public requests for the release of government information within a certain time and improve the handling of government affairs, it says. Analysts said Beijing was hoping administrative reform and the rule of law could improve its governance in the absence of any meaningful Western-style political reform. 'It is interesting to note that the issue of political reform is phrased as 'building a government of rule of law', rather than emphasising the rights of citizens,' Liu said. He said it reflected 'the incremental and pragmatic view of political reform that the tougher issues of rights and democratic elections will take a much longer time while the urgent problems of law enforcement must be tackled immediately.' Hopes the party may finally edge forward on political reform, 30 years after launching economic reform, have been running high recently after a string of calls from Premier Wen Jiabao . The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo brought more calls for political reform - from within and outside the establishment. Professor Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University, said political change was the ultimate solution to the mainland's economic problems, not rule of law. 'Without any meaningful political reform, efforts to improve governance and build a cleaner and more accountable government through reinforcement of rule of law are doomed to fail,' Zhang said. Since the military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989, the Communist Party has rejected any notion of embracing Western-style democracy, with officials pointing to the turmoil that has afflicted some former soviet-bloc states and developing countries.