Revision of oath to Constitution proposed

Officials who pledge allegiance to the Constitution while assuming office will have to follow a revised oath if a draft bill is approved by the top legislature.

While most parts of the oath would remain unchanged, the last phrase would be changed to say "to work for a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful", according to the draft submitted to a session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for review on Friday.

The adjectives "great", "modern" and "beautiful" are newly added to align the oath with the development goal envisioned by the Communist Party of China at its 19th National Congress in October, said Zhang Yong, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

In addition, all oath takers should be required to sing the national anthem, he said.

China introduced oaths for officials in January 2016, based on a legislative decision passed in 2015.

All officials elected or appointed by people's congresses and their standing committees at national and local levels, as well as State functionaries appointed by people's governments, courts and procuratorates at all levels, should take a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution when assuming office, according to the decision.

At the national level, these people include the president and vice-president; chairman, vice-chairpersons, secretary-general and all members of the NPC Standing Committee; the premier, vice-premiers, state councilors, ministers, the governor of the People's Bank of China and the auditor general of the National Audit Office; the chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Central Military Commission; and the heads of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Briefing lawmakers on Friday, Zhang said that apart from these leaders and officials, senior members of supervisory commissions at all local levels and those of an upcoming national supervisory commission should also be required to take the oath upon assuming office to support the ongoing reform of the supervisory system.

Since November, pilot reform of the supervisory system in Beijing and in Shanxi and Zhejiang provinces has been expanding nationwide.

Sharing offices and staff with Party disciplinary inspectors, the new supervisory commissions incorporate existing supervisory, corruption prevention and control agencies within governments and procuratorates.

By mid-February, at annual legislative sessions of provincial people's congresses, chiefs of 31 provincial-level supervisory commissions had been elected and senior officials appointed. By the end of this month, supervisory commissions at city and county levels should be established.

"Most officials of supervisory commissions elected or appointed by local people's congresses have taken the oath," Zhang said.

The upcoming plenary session of the 13th NPC, which is to open on March 5, will elect new State leaders, according to a decision adopted at an NPC Standing Committee session on Jan 30.

A total of 2,980 deputies to the 13th NPC have been elected, and their names will be made public in a full list on Saturday.

Senior NPC deputies have said that pledging allegiance to the Constitution is important to the rule of law and to raising public awareness of the Constitution.

The Constitution was adopted on Dec 4, 1982. It is expected to be amended for the fifth time in March when the 13th NPC convenes its first session.

Xinhua - China Daily


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