BEIJING, (Xinhua) — As China marks its third Constitution Day that falls on Sunday, it is prudent to remember that is not just a day for pomp and ceremony, but an opportunity for all Chinese to celebrate the rules that govern the nation.
The Constitution is nothing without the heartfelt support of all Chinese. Its power lies in the fact that people believe in what it stands for.
This belief in the Constitution has not come naturally or easily.
The current Constitution was adopted 34 years ago on Dec. 4, 1982. It has been a long, arduous journey.
The quashing of the conviction of Nie Shubin on Friday, 21 years after he was executed for rape and murder, shows that the country is committed to purging the judicial system of undesirable behavior and righting the wrongs of the past.
In December 2013, China abolished reeducation through labor after several highly controversial incidents drew nationwide attention. In one case, village official Ren Jianyu in Chongqing Municipality was put in the program for two years for “spreading negative information and inciting the subversion of state power” in 2011, and later released after he had served half of the sentence.
In 2009, Tang Fuzhen, 47, from Sichuan Province set herself on fire over the forced demolition of her house. Such violent and deadly protests against land seizures got people’s attention. In 2010, “administrative forced demolition” was banned.
A regulation on homeless people in cities was implemented in 2003 after Sun Zhigang, 27, was beaten to death in an asylum.
Behind such individual incidents, however, was the country’s commitment and systematic top-down design to shore up the Constitution’s authority and pursue the rule of law.
Eying more effective supervising mechanisms ensuring the Constitution’s implementation, the top legislature adopted the People’s Congress Supervision Law and revised the Legislation Law, to enable its lawmakers to better supervise the government.
In a legal reform blueprint adopted at a key Communist Party of China (CPC) session in 2014, the CPC vowed to enforce a constitutional supervision system under the National People’s Congress (NPC) and to support all organs to better interpret the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the top legislature exercised constitutional stipulations on amnesty, and improved the recording and review system for normative documents to ensure regulations, judicial interpretations, and other normative documents, which conflict with the Constitution or any other law are rescinded or corrected.
Constitution Day has been celebrated since Dec. 4, 2014, and all elected or appointed officials must swear a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution.
The life of Constitution lies in its implementation.
The authority of the Constitution is defended, not only through a ceremonial day, but also through its implementation.
The people must understand that the Constitution is not only a code of conduct that must be followed by all citizens, but also an “amulet” that safeguards their rights.