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The 180-plus reforms put forward in the Fourth Plenum

The list of reform items below summarizes most of the major reform proposals advanced in the Decision of the Party Congress’s Fourth Plenum. This post is aimed at expanding the resources and opportunities for collaboration on China Law Translate by facilitating conversation on specific reforms

It is our hope that this feature will be used to provide commentary and links relevant to each reform, making it a sort of ‘checklist’ for the Fourth Plenum, and allowing us to all review and consider its implementation.

Table of Contents

Improve the Socialist system of rule of law with Chinese characteristics having the Constitution as its center, strengthening the implementation of the Constitution

Deeply advance administration in accordance with law, speeding up the construction of a rule of law government

Ensure the fair administration of Justice, raising the credibility of the judiciary

Increase all people's concept of law, promoting the establishment of a rule of law society.

Strengthening and improving the Party's leadership over advancing governance in accordance with law

The following content made with consultation of Guangmingwang's infographic:

Improve the Socialist system of rule of law with Chinese characteristics having the Constitution as its center, strengthening the implementation of the Constitution

constitutionImprove systems for constitutional implementation and oversight

  1. Improve systems for constitutional supervision by the National People's Congress and its standing committee, complete procedural mechanisms for constitutional interpretation
  2. Strengthen the establishment and capacity for the review and recording system
  3. National Constitution Day System
  4. Constitutional Oaths System

Improve the legislative systems

  1. Strengthen mechanisms for Party guidance of legislative efforts
  2. Complete institutional leadership mechanisms for people's congresses with legislative powers
  3. Increase the proportion of standing committee members with experience in rule of law practice
  4. Establish and complete systems for expert consultation in legislation
  5. Improve mechanisms for public participation in government legislation
  6. Bring in third party appraisals on major legislative matters where contention among departments is relatively large.
  7. Endow districted cities with local legislative powers in accordance with law

Deeply promote scientific legislation and democratic legislation

  1. Complete legislative opinion mechanisms for consulting with lower level people's congresses
  2. Establish basic level legislative contact point systems
  3. Complete systems for soliciting the opinions of people's congress delegates on drafting of laws, regulations and rules
  4. Improve systems for collection and debate on legislation projects
  5. Explore entrusting third parties to draft laws and regulations
  6. Complete mechanisms for communication between legislative organs and the public
  7. Explore mechanisms for debate and consultation on adjustments involving major interest
  8. Complete mechanisms for releasing laws, regulations and rules for solicitation of comments and giving feedback to the public on whether they are adopted
  9. Improve procedures for voting on draft laws, allowing voting on important individual articles

Strengthen legislation in key fields

  1. Complete property protection systems with fairness as the core principle
  2. Strengthen legislation on social responsibility of enterprises'
  3. Improve property systems for stimulating innovation
  4. Improve systems for protection of intellectual property rights
  5. Improve institutional systems for transforming scientific achievements [for market applications]
  6. Strengthen the construction of a market legal system, compiling a civil code, formulating and improving the development plans, laws in areas such as investment management and regulations, promote the free flow of goods and, promote the free movement, fair trade and equitable use of goods of goods and elements
  7. Lawfully strengthen and improve macroeconomic regulation and control and market supervision , maintaining the fair competition and marketplace order
  8. Increase civil-military integration to deeply develop rule of law guarantees
  9. Persist in and improve the people's congress system
  10. Uphold and improve upon the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the communist party
  11. Adhere to and improve the system of ethnic autonomous regions
  12. Adhere to and improve the basic level public self-government system
  13. Develop systems for industry self-discipline
  14. Improve the organic law for national institutions
  15. Promote anti-corruption legislation
  16. Improve legal systems for punishing corruption and bribery crimes, expanding the object of bribery crimes from property to property and other property type interests
  17. Formulate law on public cultural services
  18. Formulate a law on advancement of cultural production
  19. Develop a law on national medals and honorary titles
  20. Strengthen laws on the internet
  21. Accelerate the construction of innovative legal systems to guarantee and improve people’s livelihoods and move social governance forward.
  22. Formulate a Community Corrections Law
  23. Accelerate the establishment of rule of law in national security , releasing a wave of urgently needed laws such as on counter-terrorism
  24. Establish and complete legal systems for natural resource property rights
  25. Improve legal structures in the area of State land exploitation and protection
  26. Formulate and improve laws and regulations for ecological compensation and environmental protection
  27. Realize linkages between legislation and reform decision-making, ensuring that major reforms have a legal basis

Deeply advance administration in accordance with law, speeding up the construction of a rule of law government

Fully perform government functions in accordance with law

  1. Improve legal systems for administrative organizations
  2. Improve legal systems for administrative procedures
  3. Advance a system of listed government powers
  4. Improve legal systems for governmental duties and responsibilities at different levels of government, and especially for central and local governmentscaged power
  5. Strengthen the central government’s macro-level management, formulate and establish duties and necessary law enforcement powers
  6. Strengthen the duties of provincial governments to comprehensively plan and move forward the equalization of basic regional public services
  7. Strengthen city and county governments’ implementation of duties

Complete mechanisms for decision-making in accordance with law

  1. Improve legally prescribed procedures for major decision-making
  2. Promote a system of government legal advisors
  3. Establish systems for life-long pursuit of responsibility investigation and responsibility investigation mechanisms for major decision-making

Deepen Reform of Administrative Law Enforcement

  1. Advance comprehensive law enforcement
  2. Straighten out the system of administrative compulsory enforcement
  3. Clean up the city management law enforcement system
  4. Implement the administrative law enforcement personnel credential and qualification management system
  5. Strictly implement a system separating issuing and collecting fines from payments and expenses into two distinct lines
  6. Complete linkage mechanisms between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice

Persist in strictly regulated, just, and civilized law enforcement

  1. Improve law enforcement procedures, establish systems for recording the entire course of law enforcement
  2. Establish and perfect the system of norms for administrative discretion
  3. Strengthen informatization and information sharing in administrative law enforcement
  4. Comprehensively put in place an administrative law enforcement responsibility system


Strengthen restraint and oversight of administrative power

  1. For departments and positions with a concentration of powers, affairs are to be separated in the exercise of power, positions are to be separated in the establishment of power, and there must be a hierarchy for the authorization of power, there must be regular rotations, strengthen control over internal workflows
  2. Improve government internal oversight between levels and special oversight
  3. Improve error correction and accountability mechanisms
  4. Expand the scope of auditing
  5. Strengthen leadership of higher-level auditing bodies over lower-level auditing bodies.
  6. Explore the uniform management of the human, financial and material resources of local auditing bodies below the provincial level
  7. Promote the establishment of professionalization in auditing

Comprehensively advance openness in government affairs

  1. Promote and improve openness in government affairs
  2. Promote government information disclosures in key fields
  3. Promote a system of administrative law enforcement announcements
  4. Promote the informatization of openness in government affairs

Ensure the fair administration of Justice, raising the credibility of the judiciary

lawhammerImprove systems to ensure the lawful, independent and justice exercise of judicial and procuratorate powers

  1. Construct recording, reporting and responsibility systems for leading cadres interfering with judicial activities or meddling with the handling of specific cases.
  2. Complete systems for administrative organs appearing in court to respond to litigation in accordance with law, supporting the court in accepting administrative cases, and respecting the enforcement of court rulings that have taken effect
  3. Improve statutory provisions for punishing those with unlawful and criminal activity such as obstructing judicial organs' lawful performance of their duties, refusing to enforce effective judgments and decisions, and showing contempt for court authority.
  4. Establish and complete protection mechanisms for judicial personnel in the performance of their legally prescribed duties

Optimize allocation of judicial duties

  1. Complete institutional mechanisms for cooperation and mutual checks between public security, procuratoratorates, and courts.
  2. Promote the implementation of reform pilot projects on relative separation of adjudication and enforcement powers
  3. Improve criminal enforcement systems, unifying systems for criminal enforcement
  4. Reform personnel and property management systems for judicial organs explore implementing a separation of adjudication and procuratorate powers from administrative management in courts and procuratorates.
  5. The Supreme People's Court will establish Circuit Tribunals
  6. Explore the establishment of people's courts and people's procuratorates that cross administrative regions, and handle cases that cross administrative regions.
  7. Improve institutional mechanisms for administrative litigation, reasonably adjusting the jurisdiction system for administrative litigation
  8. Reform the system for case acceptance by the courts, changing the case filing review system into a case filing registration system
  9. Increase the degree of punishment for false litigation, malicious litigation, and unreasonably entangling litigation conduct
  10. Improve the system of leniency for those who confess in criminal procedures.
  11. Perfect trial level systems
  12. Improve judicial oversight systems for administrative compulsory measures
  13. Strengthen procuratorates supervision of administrative organs' performance of their duties
  14. Explore establishing systems for procurators to raise public interest lawsuits
  15. Complete internal oversight and restriction mechanisms for judicial organs
  16. Establish systems for recording and pursuing responsibility where judicial personnel insert themselves into cases
  17. Improve case-handling responsibility systems, so that whoever handles the case is responsible for it
  18. Increase management of leads on crimes abusing public office, completing systems for their acceptance, diversion, investigation, and response
  19. Clarify case handling standards and procedural links between disciplinary inspection and criminal justice

Promote a strict judiciary

  1. Strengthen and regulate judicial interpretations and case guidance, unifying legal application standards
  2. Advance litigation system reforms making trial the center, fully implementing the principle of evidence-based judgments, and improving systems for appearances by witness and expert evaluaters
  3. Implement lifetime responsibility systems for case-handling quality and systems for investigation and accountability for wrongfully decided cases.

Ensure the people's participation in justice

  1. Improve the people's assessor system
  2. Build mechanisms for a sunshine judiciary, advancing judicial openness
  3. Strengthen the interpretation of law and explanation of reasoning in judicial opinion documents
  4. Establish a system for uniformly placing effective judgment documents online and an open inquiry system

Strengthen judicial safeguards of human rights

  1. Strengthen the safeguards for the procedural rights of parties and other litigation participants during the course of litigation
  2. Complete and implement legal systems for principles such as requiring crimes be provided for by law, not punishing in cases in doubt, and the exclusion of illegal evidence
  3. Strengthen prevention at the source for confessions extracted by torture and illegally acquired evidence, completing effective systems for preventing and prompt correction of unjust, false and wrongfully decided cases
  4. Formulate laws on compulsory enforcement, accelerating the establishment of legal systems for credit supervision, deterrence and punishment of people who have not complied with judgments
  5. Put in place a final appeals and finality in litigation system, separating litigation and petitioning
  6. Gradually implement a system for having lawyers represent in appeals

Strengthen oversight of judicial activities

  1. Improve legal systems for procuratorates' exercise of supervision powers
  2. Improve the people's supervisor system
  3. Regulate media reporting on cases
  4. Lawfully regulate judicial personnel's contacts and interactions with parties, lawyers, persons with special relationships, and intermediaries
  5. Prohibit judicial personnel who were dismissed from office for violations of law or discipline, and lawyers or notaries public whose licence has been revoked, from working in the legal professions for life

Increase all people's concept of law, promoting the establishment of a rule of law society.

Promote rule of law awareness in the entire society

  1. Bring the Constitution and the laws into the content of central Party Committee (Party group) study groups, and classify them as mandatory courses in Party Schools, administrative academies, cadre academies and Socialism academies.fazhi
  2. Bring rule of law education within the people's education system
  3. Complete mechanisms for popularization of law publicity and education
  4. Implement legal popularization systems in State organs where "whoever enforces the law also popularizes it."
  5. Establish systems for explaining the law through cases
  6. Strengthen the construction of legal popularization tutor groups and legal popularization volunteer teams.
  7. Complete systems for public interest popularization of law by the media
  8. Strengthen the establishment of social creditworthiness, complete legal compliance credit records of citizens and organizations
  9. Strengthen the establishment of civic morals

Advancing governance in accordance with law across multiple levels and fields

  1. Bring into play the active role of social norms such as public conventions, village rules, industry regulations, and group charters in social governance
  2. Bring into play the active role of mass organizations and social organizations in the construction of a society ruled by law
  3. Supported social organizations like industry associations and chambers of commerce to play a role in industry self-discipline and professional services
  4. Strengthen the management of foreign non-governmental organization in China

Build a complete legal services system

  1. Advance the establishment of a public legal services system, increasing legal services in fields that effect the people's livelihood
  2. Improve legal aid systems
  3. Develop legal services such as lawyers and notaries
  4. Complete a uniform management system for judicial forensic evaluations

Complete mechanisms for lawful protection of rights and dispute resolution

  1. Establish and complete early warning systems for social contradictions, mechanisms for expressing interests, mechanisms for negotiation and communication, and mechanisms for relief and assistance
  2. Bring petitions within the track of rule of law
  3. Complete prevention and resolution mechanisms for social contradictions, and improve diverse dispute resolution mechanisms
  4. Strengthen the construction of industry specific and specialized people’s mediation organizations, perfect interconnected work systems for people’s mediation, administrative mediation and judicial mediation.
  5. Improve systems for administrative arbitration
  6. Complete administrative adjudication systems
  7. Promote comprehensive security management, complete the implementation of leadership responsibility systems
  8. Strengthen governance of key problems such as harm to food and drug safety, impacts on production safety, harm to the ecological environment, and undermining network security

Strengthening and improving the Party's leadership over advancing governance in accordance with law

xibookPersist in ruling in accordance with law

  1. Complete systems and work mechanisms for party leadership of governance in accordance with law
  2. Principle responsible persons in Party and government must bear the duty of being the primary responsible person for rule of law construction
  3. Uphold the leadership of political-legal committees over political and legal work; political-legal bodies’ Party organizations must establish and complete systems to report major affairs to the Party Committee

Strengthen the intraparty system of regulations

  1. Improve internal Party institutional mechanisms for formulating regulations; increasing the force of internal party recording, review and interpretation of regulations;form complete complementary systems for internal Party regulations
  2. Perfect and strictly implement regulatory structures for leading cadres in terms of politics, work and remuneration, strive to deal with all sorts of acts of privilege

Increase the Party Cadre's rule of law thinking and ability to handle matters in accordance with law

  1. Bring effectiveness in establishing rule of law within the government work performance evaluation index system

Advance the legalization of governance at the basic level

  1. Strengthen the construction of basic level rule of law bodies, strengthen basic level rule of law teams, and establish rule of law working mechanisms where the focus and force is shifted downwards

Deeply advance strict governance of the military in accordance with law

  1. Deepen reform of military leadership and command structures, force composition, policy structures and other such areas
  2. Complete military regulatory structures and systems that are adapted to the construction of a modern military and the demands of waging war, strictly standardize the powers and procedures to formulate military regulations and structures
  3. Increase the force of implementation of military regulations, clarify law enforcement responsibilities
  4. Complete systems for legal work in military affairs
  5. Reform military justice system mechanisms
  6. Establish systems for military legal consultants
  7. Reform systems for military discipline inspection
  8. Establish systems for increasing the legal awareness of soldiers, strengthen soldiers rule of law notion and character
  9. Perfect military legal talent training mechanisms. Strengthen research on military rule of law theory.

Ensure the practice of "One Country Two Systems" in accordance with law and advance the unification of the motherland

  1. Improve systems and mechanisms related to the implementation of basic laws
  2. Use rule of law methods to consolidate and deepen the peaceful development of relationships across the Taiwan Straits, perfect Taiwan-related laws and regulations
  3. Strengthen law enforcement and judicial cooperation between the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan

Strengthening legal work involving foreign interests

  1. Improve foreign-related legal and regulatory systems, promote the construction of new open economic systems
  2. Actively participate in the formulation of international rules, use legal methods to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security and development interests
  3. Strengthen legal services involving foreign parties or interests
  4. Deepen international cooperation in the justice field , improving judicial assistance system in our country
  5. Strengthen international cooperation on fighting corruption
  6. Actively participate in international cooperation on law enforcement and security
  7. Complete mechanisms for unified leadership by Standing committee and mechanisms for responsibility in all aspects of work, and for putting into place officials's responsibility.
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