A backstage glimpse at the Plenum “Decision” - China Media Project
By Qian Gang | Posted on 2014-11-10
"As I wrote last week, the terms “ruling the nation in accord with the constitution” (依宪治国) and “governing in accord with the constitution” (依宪执政) — which had for a time disappeared from China’s official discourse — reemerged in the “Decision” released by the recent 4th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the CCP.
On Thursday, November 6, 2014, Guangzhou Daily, the official Party paper of the Guangzhou city leadership, published an interview with Mr. Hu Yunteng (胡云腾), a member of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court who took part in the drafting process of the plenum “Decision.”
In the interview, run on page 6 of the newspaper, Mr. Hu reveals that “ruling the nation in accord with the constitution” and “governing in accord with the constitution” were “for a time taken out” of the “Decision.”
According to President Xi Jinping’s explanation of the plenum, the drafting process of the “Decision” went on for eight months. At the end of January 2014, the Central Committee of the CCP issued “Notice Soliciting Opinions Concerning the Question of the Party’s Comprehensive Promotion of Rule of Law” (关於对党的十八届四中全会研究全面推进依法治国问题徵求意见的通知). In mid-February, the drafting process for the “Decision” began in earnest. The drafting team (起草组) was divided into eight separate research groups (调研组) , which were dispatched to 14 cities and provinces for the purpose of research.
Hu Yunteng informs us:
Once the draft of the ‘Decision’ was complete, the opinions of 118 Central and regional departments were again sought, and the drafting group gave these opinions earnest consideration. Changes went back and forth for many of the opinions. For example, everyone paid a relatively substantial degree of attention to two phrases in the ‘Decision’: “Rule of the nation by law means, first and foremost, ruling the nation in accord with the constitution,” and, “The crux in governing by laws is to govern in accord with the constitution.” These two sentences were included in the original draft of the ‘Decision,’ and then some departments were of the view that much of the content already showed [these concepts], and so for a time these two phrases were taken out.
Mr. Hu does not reveal who he is referring to when he says “some departments.”"
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