September 30, 2014 / 12:28 PM / in 3 years

China announces date for key Communist Party meeting

China's President Xi Jinping walks during a memorial ceremony, during which Chinese leaders placed wreaths at the Monument of People's Heroes, ahead of China's National Day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, September 30, 2014.China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party will hold a key meeting from Oct. 20 focusing on the rule of law, state media reported on Tuesday, as part of President Xi Jinping's two-year long an anti-corruption drive.

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced that the fourth plenary session of the Party's 18th central committee will be held in Beijing from Oct. 20-23, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Party will "establish a complete, efficient system of laws and regulations, a system of strict rule of law and supervision" and "persevere in ruling the country according to law", Xinhua said.

Xi has made fighting corruption a cornerstone of his presidency, vowing to take down corrupt officials from high-flying "tigers" to lowly "flies".

It is the first time rule of law has been made a theme of such a Communist Party plenary session, Xinhua said, but many experts question the efficacy of China's legal reforms without true changes to one-Party rule.

At the Party's third plenum last fall, Xi announced ambitious economic reforms that signaled a shift of China's economy from infrastructure- and export-fuelled growth towards a slower, more balanced and sustained expansion.

The government has since carried out a handful of economic reforms, though some critics argue implementation has not been fast enough.

Since Xi took over in March 2013, authorities have intensified Internet censorship and presided over the worst crackdown in recent memory on journalists, lawyers and rights activists, an indication that the Party will not tolerate challenge to its rule.

"China faces two main problems in its legal system right now. The first is the judicial system and the other is the Party and government, specifically how the Party's leaders respect the law," Gan Chaoying, a law professor at Peking University told Reuters.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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