The following is a partly direct, partly indirect translation / reflection of Zhou Yongkang‘s speech at University of Political Science and Law, on May 9, 2012, in front of teacher and student delegates – as (far as) published by People’s Daily online. The PD publication may or may not contain Zhou’s speech in full.
I will start with the direct translation of several paragraphs, to catch some of the speech’s “mood” or “atmosphere”. After that, I’ll turn to more indirect reflections of Zhou Yongkang’s speech. Links within blockquotes added during translation. Subtitles are not part of the original People’s-Daily publication.
Zhou Yongkang is the CCP’s Politics and Law Committee’s secretary, member of the CCP politbureau’s standing committee, and oversees China’s security forces and law enforcement institutions.
Translated off the reel, and posted right away.
Main Link 1: Opening Remarks and a General Description
On the occasion of the China University of Political Science and Law’s 60th anniversary, I, together with comrades in charge at the CCP Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, the ministry of education, the ministry of justice, and Beijing City, have come to this university especially to meet teachers and students.
In 1952, to respond to New China’s need for the construction of a rule by law*), the China University of Political Science and Law came into being. For sixty years, under the warm care of the Central Committees’ collective leadership, led by Comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin at the core, the University of Political Science and Law acted in accorance with the university’s spirit of “rich ethics, clear law, and principles, commitment to the public”, constantly improved educational quality, made great efforts to develop law research, actively participated in national legislation and popularization of law, served the practice of administration of justice on its own initiative, successively educated more than 200,000 law talents of all kinds, produced lots of noted academic masters, outstanding talents of politics and law, created a set of values, influential legal research achievements to promote government of the country in accordance with the law, to serve the economic development with outstanding contributions, thus developing into a domestically famous, internationally noted institution of higher eductation for legal education, becoming known as “the cradle of the People’s Republic’s cadres of politics and law”. The University of Political Science and Law’s course through the past sixty years of history reflects the colossal development of our country’s cause for legal education and research, and proves the colossal progress of the building of socialism-with-Chinese-characteristics rule by law. I herewith, on behalf of the Central Committee, the State Council, and Secretary General Hu Jintao, express warm congratulations on the occasion of the university’s 60th-anniversary celebrations, and sincere greetings to the entire university’s teachers, students, staff, and friends at home and abroad!
At present, our national economy maintains its steadily rapid development, the society’s is generally harmonious and stable, and the overall situation is good. Having gone through more than sixty years of construction and development since the establishment of New China, and especially during the more than thirty years of reform and opening, our cuntry’s socialist modernization and construction has achieved successes which have caught the eyes of the world, has strengthened our country’s comprehensive strength, our international influence has rapidly risen, socialism with Chinese characteristics has been tested in the sudden global changes, and shown strong vitality. At the same time, we have to see clearly that our country remains in the initial stage of socialism, that there are imbalances, uncoordinated and unsustainable problems that keep emerging within development, with existing substantial factors which affect social harmony and stability. Especially under the conditions of all the aspects of opening to the outside world and social informationalization, domestic and international issues influence each other, economic and social issues and political issues are interlinked, and supposed and real society interrelate with each other. We are facing unprecedented challenges, and we are shouldering colossal tasks.
Government in accordance with the law is our party’s basic strategy to lead the people and to rule the country. To build a country with socialism-with-Chinese-characteristics under rule by law is the goal the entire people is unswervingly striving for. In history, the Chinese people suffered more than two-thousand years of despotic feudalist rule, in more recent times, they bore the misery of Western great powers’ bullying and humiliation, and even the most basic rights to life were not guaranteed, not to mention exaggerated talk about democratic and lawful rule. […]
Zhou describes “the road of socialist rule by law, found through the efforts of several generations of people” after 1949, as the answer to the “national conditions” (and implicitly, probably, the past).
But building a socialist country ruled by law is a long-term and formidable, major, historical task which cannot be accomplised at one stroke. Comrade Deng Xiaoping said that “Old China bequeathed many feudal, despotic traditions on us, but very few democratic and legal traditions”. Our country, with many inhabitants but uneven economic and social development, inevitably has to face difficulties and challenges in the process of building a legal system. Comrade Jiang Zemin emphasized that “socialist democracy must be broadened step by step, and a legal socialist system, a country ruled by law, a socialist country ruled by law, must be built step by step. This goal must unswervingly be implemented. Secretary general Hu Jintao demanded that we must “adhere to the basic strategy of a country ruled by law, establish a socialist concept of rule by law, and realize the rule by law, and safeguard the citizens’ legal rights. Comprehensive implementation of the basic strategy of rule by law and the acceleration of a socialist rule-by-law country is the party’s and the state’s established policy, striven for by the entire people. We must insist on these goals without letting our guard down, and unremittingly maintain forge ahead.
In the following paragraph, and the first of three enumerations, Zhou points out the importance that the party and the state council had attached to legal education of the young, and refers to a speech Hu Jintao held during the CCP Youth League’s 90th anniversary celebrations. The style of the very long paragraph following that mirrors the less informative passages of central party documents, in that it describes the steps of strengthening socialist legal construction, but without actually specifying such steps.
The second item of three is about innovation, solid (academic) support for socialist rule of law, and correct political direction. This bit could be meaningful:
[…] Currently, our national economy’s and society’s development and legal construction encounters many practical problems, and there is an urgent need for answers from theory. For example:
how to maintain the party’s leadership, the people as the masters of their own matters, governance of the country in accordance with the law with organic unity, the acceleration of building a country under the rule by law, how to continuously perfect the legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to provide more powerful legal guarantees for ecomomic and social scientific development and improved livelihood of the people, how to strengthen and innovate social management, […]
Main Link 3: Outlook
Zhou’s third point refers to the future roles of today’s students, and their future responsibilities to achieve the described goals. At the second paragraph on the third online page of Zhou’s speech as published by People’s Daily, there is another reference to Hu Jintao’s CCP Youth League 90th anniversary speech (this time, Zhou refers to it as Hu’s May-4 speech), and points out the need for talented lawyers not only in China’s more developed regions, but its western regions, too.
Finally, I want to express my heart-felt wish that the University of Political Science and Law will maintain Deng Xiaoping’s Theories and [Jiang Zemin’s – name not mentioned here] “Three Represents” as major ideological guidance, at the thorough implementation of scientific development, under the leadership of the Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the Secretary General. From these celebrations of the university’s 60th anniversary, and at the starting point of another sexagenary cycle, keep working for a strong, globally first-class socialist law university with Chinese characteristics!
*) “Rule by law” is only one of many possible translations – I chose this option in previous translations, too. “Rule of law” would be another.