Chinese Constitution Day

Chinese Constitution Day: more than just a celebration, it is an affirmation of President Xi’s promotion of the Rule of Law

(Beijing, China)

As trained lawyer and a legal commentator on CGTN, I have been fortunate enough to witness first-hand the importance of the Chinese Constitution.

I do not make this statement glibly, I have seen its direct positive impact on foreign and Chinese resident in China. I have seen its results with both foreign and Chinese businesses. All of this has been through the lens of working with Chinese law firms, the Chinese judiciary (at all levels), Chinese law schools, and almost every stripe of the Chinese administrative agency through the years.

Today, December 4th may seem like an ordinary day, but it is in fact extraordinary as it is Constitution Day in China.  I believe we should all take time to recognize the National People’s Congress, the world’s largest parliament, and principally President Xi Jinping who has stressed in both words and deeds the importance of the following the rule of law in China. The Chinese constitution plays an integral vital role in the Chinese legal system.

I myself was delighted when President Xi Jinping directly called for more efforts to promote the rule of law and the development of high-quality legal talent during his visit to the China University of Political Science and Law, a place where I have lectured post-graduates in law over the years.

The comprehensive advancement of the rule of law and the Chinese Constitution is a long-term and significant historic mission and is related to the Party’s success in governing and rejuvenating the country. It is, of course, also related to the people’s happiness (as well as us foreign residents and foreign businesses) and the development of the Party and country.

As a lawyer and a foreign expert appointed to examine these issues under the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs in Beijing, I agree wholeheartedly with President Xi and the NPC, the country should look ahead to the future, lay out a good foundation and establish a good system while advancing the rule of law. This includes the Chinese Constitution.

What I have found remarkable as a legal commentator/legal service provider is that President Xi also urged authorities to focus on key areas and emphasize on current issues to promote the rule of law.

President Xi has also recognized something that is near to my heart: that the comprehensive advancement of the rule of law would not have been achieved satisfactorily without efforts to cultivate and maintain legal talent, which has been my long-term goal working with Chinese lawyers.

President Xi called for universities and colleges to step up research on the rule of law and other fundamental matters that involve legal issues to help improve the nation’s socialist system with Chinese characteristics. Constitution Day is a way for citizens to understand there is a document easily understood as a road-map to celebrate.

No doubt, the country should also further improve its system of legal theory, and use Chinese wisdom and practice to contribute to the world’s civilization on the rule of law. Chinese judgements are enforceable in some other jurisdictions with equal force such as Russia and Poland, both places along the One Belt One Road initiative.

I am certain China might actively learn from the achievements of other countries in the rule of law, but should also absorb and transform them selectively, to avoid blind borrowing and imitations.

I was fortunate enough to be a foreign commentator on CGTN helping to explain all this when the Party convened a plenary meeting of its central committee in October 2014 to promote the rule of law. That was historic as it was the first time that a plenary session of the CPC Central Committee had taken this topic as its central theme. The positive results have been tangible which this Constitution Day celebration affirms.

It was then I appeared on CGTN to explain to viewers world-wide that the Party announced its further emphasis of the role of the Constitution in China’s legal system. As a commentator and as a legal professional, I have also witnessed progress in judicial independence, procedural justice, professionalism of judicial officers, and in building a law-abiding government.

As I recall, President Xi urged the countries youth to use their time for study and to “absorb knowledge like sponges”. As a long time lecturer in Chinese law schools, I am pleased to report that in my observation, the students are meeting that high standard and studying the laws, policies, and regulations of the country with passion and a sponge-like capacity for sure. So to the youth: this is a crucial time celebrate and study the Constitution in this country as a nation which promotes the rule of law.  Young people should learn the Constitution, maintain their sensitivity to new things and explore new practices and truths in a daring way to further the promotion of the Chinese constitution and the Rule of Law throughout the society.

About the author: Edward Lehman 雷曼律师 is a Beijing based legal expert working with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) 国家外国专家局. Mr Lehman 雷曼律师 has been a Legal Affairs Commentator for CGTN 中央电视台 for many years.

He is the managing director of Lehman, Lee & Xu a leading Chinese law firm, legal adviser to the World Bank, and a founder and stakeholder in LehmanBush a boutique Private Equity Firm.

Edward Lehman 雷曼律师

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Wechat 微信: 13511020522

Published by Edward E. Lehman on December 4th, 2017 tagged Uncategorized

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