Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping pledged yesterday to uphold the constitution and promote rule of law during a Politburo seminar, according to state media. "No organisation or individual should be put above the constitution and the law," Xinhua quoted Xi as telling members of the 25-seat body, the decision-making body for the Communist Party. He also stressed the need for government to be administered in accordance with the law, while similarly developing the country and society as a whole. It was the second time in less than three months that Xi has made remarks stressing the importance of the constitution and law, following comments on December 4 during a conference commemorating the 30th anniversary of the constitution. Judicial organs at all levels should give priority to resolving deep-seated problems that impede justice and the judicial process, and they should ensure that defendants and plaintiffs are treated fairly, Xi said while presiding over the seminar, which was not a formal meeting. He urged judicial staff to uphold justice for the people, to improve the way and efficiency in which staff members do their jobs, and to effectively resolve the issue of litigation that has long presented hurdles and difficulties to the common people. Xi also stressed that extra efforts should be made to ensure that more legal assistance is given to people facing economic hardship, in order to safeguard their rights. And he called on judicial officials to keep in close touch with the public, to improve judicial transparency and to live up to the people's expectations of being fair and open. In an apparent effort to implement rule of law, the country's new security czar, Meng Jianzhu , promised last month to reform the notorious system of re-education through labour, which has been in place for more than half a century. Xi won himself some praise from legal experts and the public for trying to consolidate the application of the constitution. He also called for public education on laws, for cultivation of the rule-of-law spirit and for the promotion of a social environment in which all people abide by the law and settle their problems by legal means.