Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (Amended March 11, 2018) (Mainland China)

Joline Chen

Following the previous amendments adopted during the Second Session of the Tenth National People’s Congress on March 14, 2004, the amendments to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China were adopted during the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 11, 2018.  The amendments adopted this time are highlighted below:

1. The philosophy of scientific development and the guidance of a socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the national politics and social life in the Xi Jinping era are confirmed. There shall be a push for the harmonized development of material, political, spiritual, social and ecological civilizations to develop China into a strong, modernized, prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful socialist country and realize the Chinese people’s return to greatness.

2. The expression “the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the most essential characteristic of socialism with Chinese characteristics” is added to Article 1 of the Constitution. The existing CPC leadership foundation is further enhanced to fully demonstrate the fundamentality, comprehensiveness, and contemporariness of the CPC’s leadership.

3. The reform of the supervision system is deepened. The constitutional amendments added a special section concerning the Supervisory Committee with respect to state agencies in order to combine anti-corruption resources and enhance the CPC’s centralized leadership in anti-corruption work. The Supervisory Committee is constituted by and answers to the National People’s Congress. The term of the Chairperson of the Supervisory Committee shall be the same as each term of the National People’s Congress and not exceed two consecutive terms. The National Supervisory Commission is the highest supervisory entity guiding the work of all levels of supervisory commissions, with a superior supervisory commission guiding the work of its subordinate supervisory commission.  Supervisory entities shall work with and serve as a check against judicial, procuratorial, and law enforcement agencies in the handling legal violations or criminal offenses committed in the course of duty.

4. The requirement that the President and Vice President of the People’s Republic of China shall not serve over two consecutive terms is abolished. As neither the constitution of the CPC limit the Secretary General of the CPC’s Central Committee and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission to no more than two consecutive terms, and as the “trinity” leadership system and format are drafted and established based on the CPC’s successful experience in its long-term governance of this country, this shall be favorable to the improvement of the country’s leadership system and to the long-term stability of the party and the country.

5. It is clearly stated that state officials shall publicly take the constitutional oath upon taking office. The purpose is to educate and motivate officials to be loyal to and uphold, respect and safeguard the authority of the Constitution.

6. More provisions are stipulated regarding the local legislative power of a city with districts. The people’s congress and its standing committee in such cities may, pursuant to law, formulate local laws and regulations that will become effective after they are approved by the standing committee of the people’s congress of the province or autonomous region.