Leading cadres must submit to rule of law

16:37, May 23, 2011      

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Leading cadres' awareness of consciously learning and using the law has been greatly increased after 25 years of national legal publicity and education work. However, it is undeniable that some leading cadres still hold the old concept of substituting one's words for the law and abusing power to crush the law. The actions of some cadres have totally deviated from the concept of governing the country according to law.

These leading cadres are not ignorant of the law. China has implemented five "five-year national legal publicity and education plans" in succession since 1986 and has been focused on the education of leading cadres. Various regions in China also introduced measures such as the legal knowledge inspection system and various legal knowledge competitions to popularize legal knowledge among cadres.

Therefore, leading cadres certainly know what actions are allowed and what actions are not allowed. The "ignorance of the law" is just an excuse. The real reason is that some leading cadres have poor respect and reverence for the law. They regard the law as a tool for ruling ordinary people. They believe they hold the power and "truth" in their hands, and it is a matter of course to rule the people according to the will of officials.

The country will be strong if law-enforcers are strong, and the country will be weak if law-enforcers are weak, according to "Hanfeizi," a great piece of work from the legalist school in ancient China. Leading cadres are the key to transform the concept of "governing the country by men" to "governing the country according to law." The legal quality of leading cadres directly affects whether a region or a department can act according to the law. If leading cadres are ignorant of the law, ignore or even break the law, the degree of harm will be far more serious than that of ordinary citizens breaking the law.

Therefore, the central government has repeatedly stressed the establishment of a law-based government that aims to provide grounds for endowing administrative power, regulations for executing administrative power and effective supervision for administrative power. It also aims at regulating the power of leading cadres according to the law in order to prevent the loss and abuse of administrative power, and its goal is ultimately to encourage the whole of society to respect the law, abide by the law and safeguard the law.

2011 is the first year of the sixth "five-year legal publicity and education plan" and the "Decision on Further Strengthening the Legal Publicity and Education" recently approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress again stressed that leading cadres should be made the most important aspect of legal publicity and education work.

Establishing leading cadres as the main target of legal publicity will enable them to be familiar with legal provisions and also help them to further raise their awareness of the rule of law, consciously restrain their power and perform their duties according to law.

Leading cadres cannot build the awareness of the rule of law without respect for the law. If leading cadres fail to take the lead in observing the law, they will lose their reputation in the eyes of ordinary law-abiding citizens over time and even cause the people to believe in violence instead of the law. Leading cadres must be aware that no one is above the law and the activities of any organization and individual must be subject to the law. They have no privileges above the law and must exercise their power according to statutory power and procedures rather than follow their personal will or the administrative orders of their superiors to manage economic, social and cultural affairs.

Leading cadres cannot establish the awareness of the rule of law without awe in the majesty of the law. Standing in awe of the law will become empty words if leading cadres receive no punishment when they violate the law, lack restrictions on exercising their power, face too low of a cost for crimes or even avoid punishment at the price of losing their power. Leading cadres’ abuse of power and violation of laws must be seriously punished so they can weigh the gains and losses and not try their luck while respecting the majesty of the law.

The rule of law should start with exercising power by law. In the on-going process of the formation of a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, accelerating the transformation from the administrative means-based management to the legal means-based management, forming the habit of "learning the law before researching issues, making decisions according to the law and solving issues by law" during the cultivation of leading cadres has indeed become a urgent task in legal publicity and education work.

By People's Daily Online

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