Three Supremes

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The Three Supremes (Chinese :三个至上; pinyin :Sān ge Zhìshàng) is a doctrine first articulated by CPC General secretary, Chinese president Hu Jintao in December 2007, which requires the judiciary to subordinate the written law to the interests of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the maintenance of "social stability." [1] As Hu Jintao put it during the National Conference on Political-Legal Work, "In their work, the grand judges and grand procurators shall always regard as supreme the party's cause, the people's interest and the constitution and laws." [2]

The “Three Supremes” are as follows: 1. “Supremacy of the business of the CCP” (党的事业至上) 2. “Supremacy of the interests of the people” (人民利益至上) 3. “Supremacy of the Constitution and the laws” (宪法法律至上) [3]

In March 2008 Party functionary Wang Shengjun was confirmed as the president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC). Unlike predecessors who had placed emphasis on legal training, the tenure of Wang Shengjun (who has no formal legal training himself) has been defined by mandating the study of the Three Supremes theory, and by his emphasis on the need to uphold the leadership of the Communist Party.

The launch of the Three Supremes, and corresponding appointment of Wang Shengjun to the SPC, has been viewed by some legal scholars as an example of backsliding in the development of an independent, autonomous, and competent legal community. Many legal scholars in China believe that the Three Supremes serves to "enshrine the notion that the law must serve the basic strategic interests of the CCP by taking into primary consideration the CCP’s own notion of pressing national priorities, interests and realities." [3]

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References

  1. Human Rights Watch, China: Events of 2009
  2. Jerome A. Cohen, Body Blow For The Judiciary, South China Morning Post, October 18, 2008 (full article)
  3. 1 2 'Media Dictionary:Three Supremes 三个至上', University of Hong Kong Chinese Media Project.