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Draft constitutional revision to ensure China's prosperity, lasting security

(Xinhua)    09:00, March 08, 2018

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The draft revision to China's Constitution, which is under deliberation and discussion at the ongoing national legislative and political advisory sessions, has won support from Chinese leaders, lawmakers and political advisors.

Joining a panel discussion with deputies to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) Wednesday, President Xi Jinping said that he totally endorsed the draft constitutional amendment.

Revising part of the Constitution is a major decision made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) from the overall and strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, stressed Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).

Hailing it a major move to advance law-based governance and modernize China's system and capacity for governance, Xi said the drafting process of the bill has fully practiced democracy, pooled wisdom from various sectors and embodied the common will of the Party and the people.

Other Chinese leaders, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also expressed their endorsement of the draft while joining NPC deputies in panel discussions Wednesday.

The lawmakers and political advisors agreed that the constitutional revision, which accords with the aspiration of the Party and the people and has won approval from both inside and outside the CPC, is of historic significance for ensuring prosperity and lasting security of both the Party and the country.

The current draft was proposed by the CPC Central Committee and adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in January.

It was submitted to the first session of 13th NPC for deliberation on Monday and is scheduled to be put to vote on March 11.

If adopted, this will be the Constitution's first amendment in 14 years.

The bill suggests giving Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era constitutional authority.

NPC deputy Li Jiancheng believed enshrining Xi's thought as a new guiding theory for the country is a core revision in the draft amendment.

"The Thought is vital for the nation's future and destiny," Li said.

The following sentence is also supposed to be included in the Constitution: "The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

For Long Xiang, another NPC deputy, the addition has strengthened the CPC's leading status in the country from the perspective of the very nature of China's socialist system, laying down a fundamental institutional guarantee for upholding and strengthening overall Party leadership.

A revision to a clause concerning the Chinese President's term of office was also in the draft.

"Such a revision doesn't mean there will be a change in the retirement system of the Party and state leaders or a lifelong tenure for these officials," said Lyu Hongbing, a political advisor at the ongoing session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"This institutional arrangement is conducive to upholding and strengthening the overall Party leadership, improving the leadership system of the Party and the country, and safeguarding the authority of the CPC Central Committee as well as its centralized and unified leadership," said Lyu, vice head of the All China Lawyers Association.

According to the bill, a new section about supervisory commissions is suggested to be added to lay down a constitutional basis for an upgraded anti-graft taskforce under the CPC leadership.

Other additions for inclusion are the goal of a "great modern socialist country"; an oath of allegiance to the Constitution; a vision of a community with a shared future for humanity; core socialist values; and granting more cities legislative power.

The bill proposed enriching clauses about the patriotic united front, harmonious relations among ethnic groups, and peaceful foreign policies.

It also adds a new vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development for everyone; and the five-sphere integrated plan for coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement.

Deputies from the PLA and the armed police Wednesday also expressed their firm support to the bill during their panel discussions.

"The draft revision is significant for ensuring the Party and the country's sound governance and lasting security," said Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the CMC.

Xu called for thorough implementation of the constitutional spirit in the military, and advancement of law-based and strict governance of the armed forces.

A constitutional change is either proposed by the NPC Standing Committee or by more than one-fifth of all NPC deputies, and then requires the approval of two-thirds or more of NPC deputies during the annual session.

The PRC enacted its first Constitution in 1954. The current Constitution was formulated in 1982 and amended in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

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