Critically assess the changes that have been made since that date to China's legal system as a whole

Essay by punditUniversity, Master'sB+, August 2004

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The development of the rule of law in China since 1978 can be divided into three stages1. The first stage began from 1978 to 1982. The concept of the citizen right and freedoms and ruling the country by law were recognized by China. In 1982, the PRC Constitution of 1982 was promulgated. In the previous three Constitutions, which are the Constitution of 1954, the Constitution of 1975 and the Constitution of 1978, it was stipulated that only citizens and government employees must comply with the Constitution and the other laws2. However, in Constitution of 1982, it was stipulated, "All state organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public organizations and all enterprises and undertakings must abide by the Constitution and the law". Besides, "no organization or individual may enjoy the privilege of being above the Constitution and the law"3.

The second stage lasted from 1982 to 1991; there was further development on the legal system.

It mainly focused on the development of civil and economic legislation. In 1986, the first comprehensive civil legislation, General Principles of Civil Law, was promulgated. Although it was not detail enough, it formed the framework of the fundamental operating rules for the transition to market economy. In 1991,the State Council published a white paper titled " The Situation of Human Right'. It implied that China officially accepted the concept of human rights.

The third period began from the early 1992, Deng Xiaoping emphasized that the objective of China's economic reform was to develop a socialist market economy. There was an acceptance of the socialism with market economy. It was required that changes in legal system would inline with the corresponding transition. Many promulgated laws to serve in the centrally planned economy would be either amended or abolished. On the other hand, a number of...