“Rule of Law” as CPC Being above the Law, and Its Bad Consequences

Zhang Kai


Rule by Man but Not by Law

On 23-26 October 2014, the Communist Party of China held the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee to resolve the Explanation Concerning the CPC Central Committee’s Decision Concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Forward Governing the Country According to the Law”, stating that it must push forward the rule of law. The ultimate aim is to build Chinese law system which makes China a country of law. Thus it must strengthen the leadership of CPC. That means CPC continues to control the law and its power is above the law.

        The Article of No.5 of China’s Constitution states that “All state organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all enterprises and institutions must abide by the Constitution and the law”, meaning nationalization of the military. Now, the Decision reinstates that CPC absolutely dominates the military, “people’s army is the armed force which carries out the political task of CPC”. It implies that the army is under the command of CPC but not the state which obviously violates the Constitution.

        Zhang Qianfan, professor of the School of Law of Peking University, well-known scholar of constitution and politics studies, remarks, “if CPC insists to dominate everything, it will be rule by man but not by law”, and “if there is rule by law, it should go back to the Report of the 13th CPC National Congress, prepared by Zhao Ziyang in 1987, which required the separation of the Party and the state.” (quoted from Ming Po, 4 Dec 2014). What CPC has done is exactly falling behind.

        A lot of evidences prove that officials from high ranking to district level have supreme power. It seems that “they are the Law”. Once the rich colludes with the powerful, they not only violate the law, but also exploit and oppress the people.

        Obviously, many dissidents, human rights defenders and lawyers are always charged with false accusations of “creating disturbances”, “crime of assembling a crowd to disturb order at public places”, “crime of incitement to split the state”, “the offence of inciting subversion of state power”, “being a spy for foreign countries”, among others. They are wrongly detained and abused during investigation. For example, Gao Zhicheng, human rights lawyer, has only a slice of vegetable and one bun for daily meal. Many innocent people suffer seriously in prison, and worse still, are sent to death. According to statistics, there are more than 100 innocent people wrongly sent to prison. They are put under house arrest even when they are released from prison.

        On 6 November, when attending Dameisha Forum in Shenzhen, Hu Deping, son of Hu Yaobang (former CPC General Secretary), and former standing committee member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, pointed out, “if CPC does not obey the law even after seizing power, the people of the whole country will suffer”, and “if people’s democratic authoritarianism is not abided by law, the general people will suffer from some people’s authoritarianism, and worse still, people of the whole country will be oppressed by its own people’s authoritarianism” (quoted from Ming Po, 13 Nov 2014).

        According to Wen Wei Po, dated 31 October 2014, the Research Institute of Rural China of Central China Normal University released the political volume of the report on “Development of Chinese Peasant Situation” in Wuhan, Hubei province. It stated that 70% of peasants criticized that ‘power is above the law’ and ‘money is above the law’ in reality. They had great doubts on legal authority and effectiveness. So some peasants chose to use violence once their own rights were violated. Mass incidents happened a lot. The report was based on the interviews of 4126 peasants from different provinces in mainland China.


Massive Resistances

        From 12 days before the opening of the fourth plenary session of 18th CPC National Congress up to now, there have been many cases of strikes, demonstrations, and massive resistances.

        On 11 October, in Sanhui County of Guizhou province, thousands of people went on street demonstrations. They protested against the unfinished project of ‘merging townships for building one city’, which led to low compensation for land confiscation and a setup of an administration centre. The police brutally suppressed the mass demonstrations. At least one student was beaten to death. At last the township government suspended temporarily the project. On 14 October, village people of Jinning County, Kunming City, Yunnan province, resisted illegal land confiscation by the local government. They had serious conflicts with the armed police and paid mafia. Eight people died and 18 people were injured. The struggle has already lasted for two years. On 15 October, in Guangzhou city, thousands of taxi drivers went on strike. Their salaries have not increased for the last 20 years. Every year government issues unlimited licenses to make profit. On 31 October, in Dongxing City, Guangxi province, an anti-smuggling police unit refused to rescue a motor-cycle driver who was knocked down. This led to serious conflicts between thousands of people and the police. Nine police vehicles were destroyed. The incident lasted for 5 hours.

        On 1 November, in New District of Pudong, Shanghai, 4,000 people went on demonstration. They protested against government policy that invited a battery factory to move in. The authorities were forced to announce an emergency notice of cancellation of the project. It was the third battery factory which was kicked away under public pressure in Shanghai. On 17 November, in Shaodong city, Heilongjiang province, eight thousand secondary and primary school teachers went on strike. They complained that their salaries were lower than other places and pension fund was deducted as well, even though the local economy was good enough. On 18 November, in Sanjiang Township, Haikou city, Hainan province, tens of thousands of people went on strike, against the building of a leprosy hospital. There were serious conflicts. 20 vehicles were destroyed. The situation was under control only when the project was suspended by the local government. On 21 November, in Nanpo Village, Shouyang Township, Longxi County, Dingxi City, Gansu province, over 1000 policemen and attackers confiscated land by force. More than 20 villagers were injured. 4 December is China’s first Constitutional Day. Thousands of civil rights victims gathered in Beijing. Six policemen were wronged and committed suicide to protest. All these criticized CPC’s violation of the law. On 11 December, in Jinjia Village, Shiquan Township, Guixi City, Jiangxi province, about 200 villagers protested against forced land confiscation of 2500 mu. They were brutally suppressed by the police. On 13 December, over 1000 workers of Taiwanese Liangwei Technology Company, located in Baoan County, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, went on strike. They protested against low salary, bad benefits, and deduction of overtime pay. The strike carried on. On 22 December, nearly 1,000 teachers of Gushi County, Henan province, went on strike. It was because the government’s promise of salary increase was never implemented and even worse, they got 18% deduction of salary. On 16 December, “Reporters Without Borders” released the Report 2014, stating that China is the No.1 country which sent the highest number of reporters and media workers to prison. Press freedom and reporters’ status are getting worse and worse in China. This shows that reporters do not enjoy freedom of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and do not have any legal protection.

        People’s discontents were aggravated. It easily triggered collective action even out of a small incident. The above reports of mass resistances happened recently. It is believed that more protests outbreaks. The existing rulers of China have continued to suppress social demonstrations. However, where there is oppression, there is resistance; there is large-scale oppression, there is large-scale resistance. It is the basic rule of social movement. China is no exception!

                                 23 December 2014