Constitutional Change

Modernization, socialism and the people’s will at core of China's constitutional amendment.
by Lan Xinzhen
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The third plenary meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

China’s National People’s Congress, the national legislature, adopted an amendment to the country's Constitution on March 11.This is the Constitution’s first amendment in 14 years.

A country’s constitution can have sustained viability only by adapting to new situations. This is why many countries across the world amend their constitutions and China is no exception.

Ever since China’s Constitution was enacted in 1954, it has been revised and improved upon multiple times. The current Constitution was passed and enacted by the 5th NPC on December 4, 1982. It has subsequently been revised by the NPC in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004 under the leadership of the CPC to meet the needs of China’s reform, opening up and modernization drive.

Now over a decade has passed since the last changes to the Constitution and China’s social and economic development has undergone a number of important and profound changes, particularly since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. With Xi Jinping at the core, the CPC Central Committee has united and led people of all ethnic groups to unswervingly uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, forming a series of new concepts, thoughts and strategies regarding national governance. The Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics was identified as the guiding ideology of the CPC at the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017, making it the guiding thought for the development of the nation and the Party’s undertakings.

“The CPC Central Committee’s decision to revise the constitution was made after careful and thorough consideration. The revision is intended to enable the Constitution to better reflect the people's will, to give fuller range to the advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics and to better meet the needs of modernizing the national governance system and its capabilities,” Wang Chen, Vice-Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said in an explanation of the draft amendment made to the first session of the 13th NPC on March 5.

Enshrining in the Constitution the major theories and policies which reflect the new achievements, experiences and requirements of the nation and the Party formed at the 19th CPC National Congress will provide strong constitutional support for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

This article is reprinted from Beijing Review.