Build legal bulwark against moral decline

16:33, April 19, 2011      

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A series of recent food safety scandals has alarmed us that we do need to take some prompt actions, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, commenting on the incidents of high-profile chenbuterol, better known as "lean meat powder," and tainted steamed buns.

The comments are targeted at the deterioration of social ethics. However, Premier Wen's other comment also requires our attention when he mentioned that China needs to closely combine the rule of law with moral construction as well as deepen political, economic, cultural, judicial restructuring. Furthermore, it is necessary to ensure businesses and individuals who abide by moral standards are protected by law and respected, while those with corrupt morals should be punished according to law and cast aside by the people.

Wen's remarks were not only directed at the food safety incidents but are also relevant to the cultural reconstruction in China as it is undergoing social transformation. It also touches upon the reconstruction of credibility, responsibility and morality, which need support from socialist rule of law.

Without improvement of national quality and moral strength, a country could not be strong and win respect from other countries. The questions now are how to make those unscrupulous merchants conscientious of their shameful deeds, how to hold regulatory bodies responsible and how to make profit-driven business credible. Persuasion and education are not enough.

It is not real to talk about morality when the rule of law still has loopholes. Man is partial and selfish, and tends to seek personal profits, protect private interests and avoid punishment. Without rigid discipline, man is usually driven by lust. Therefore, he abandons moral standards and makes reckless moves all for personal gains.

The unscrupulous and profit-driven merchants must have learned about credibility and morality. Their words are full of virtuous phrases, but in their hearts is nothing but lust and cupidity. They even escape punishment through power-and-money deals.

The loopholes in the legal system greatly impair social morality and mislead social orientation and public confidence. On one hand, people are encouraged to be credible, open-minded and responsible. On the other hand, those who violate the law and neglect their duties can escape the punishment. In this sense, man is the biggest loser in the social conflicts and moral disputes.

Cultural construction, the moral culture construction in particular, is still an Achilles' heel for us, despite China's rapid economic development. Improving the system of law is the best way to eradicate profit-before-everything mentality, entrapment and cheating, embezzlement and corruption. This will maintain sustainable development and ensure that moral development grows at the same rate as the GDP.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online

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