Why such an emphasis on the rule of law? “The rule of law” is not a new term in China. During the Cultural Revolution in China, the legal system was abandoned, which contributed to chaos in the country. Drawing lessons from that experience, efforts started in the 1980s to build a framework in which society has laws to go by that must be observed and strictly enforced with law breakers reliably prosecuted. At the center of the rule of law is governing through rules.
Another push came in 1999 when a new amendment of the constitution was adopted, which for the first time included the term of “the rule of law.” It marked a major turning point in China indicating that the country is determined to move in a direction where the past wrongdoing would not reoccur. China has had a long history and a tradition of rule by man. Turning towards rule of law takes time and arduous effort. Now, 15 years after the constitutional amendment, the country still falls short of achieving its target of rule of law. Though the legal framework is in place and there are laws covering almost every aspect of social life, they are not all forcefully implemented.
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Some government agencies do not follow what the law requires or are not doing so in strict terms. So, as the society has moved forward, it has become more urgent than ever that China makes greater efforts to promote rule of law in order to better coordinate the society, balance interests and set standards for social behavior. The hope is that the Chinese society will grow both with vitality as well as with order. In short, the advancement of country should be rooted in the authority of law. This is a natural development in China as it is progressing forward.