China’s Minister of Justice Zhang Jun stressed the importance of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership of lawyers, calling it the “soul of the country’s legal system.”
Zhang’s remarks, made at a recent forum for lawyers, were published in Friday’s edition of the People’s Daily, the CPC’s flagship newspaper.
Strengthening Party leadership of the work of lawyers is by no means just a slogan, nor a matter of expediency, Zhang said. It is consistent with the national conditions and an arrangement of the political system on the long-term development of the role of lawyers, said Zhang.
Such remarks, though rarely heard in China’s legal system, is quite necessary as China has a very different legal and political environment than Western countries that hold multi-party politics or stress the separation of power, Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.
Lawyers and law firms eyeing sustainable growth in China in the future must uphold Party leadership, which is also beneficial for their development in the country, according to Zhi.
The 19th CPC National Congress set the direction for reform and the role of lawyers, Zhang said. The report to the national Party congress in October 2017 stated that “the Party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country.”
Zhang said that Party leadership is the most fundamental nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the basic guarantee for socialist rule of law.
In this regard, strengthening Party building among lawyers is “the core part and fundamental measure” in deepening reform of the legal system, the minister said. As socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, it is foreseeable that Party leadership will be stressed more often in the legal sector in the future, Zhi said. In August 2017, China had more than 330,000 lawyers and over 26,000 law firms.—Xinhua