CPC strives to better itself
By Wang Aihua,Tan Yixiao (China Features)
As the 96-year-old Communist Party of China (CPC) prepares to hold its 19th national congress later this year, the world is watching how the long-ruling party will remain vigorous in the future.
In fact, the CPC's efforts in self-reform since its 18th national congress held five years ago have provided answers to that question.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses the opening session of a workshop in Beijing, capital of China. A workshop for provincial and ministerial officials was held from July 26 to 27,2017, in preparation for the 19th National Congress of the CPC. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
Xi Jinping, who took office as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in 2012, has led the efforts to fight corruption, calling on the whole Party to stay fully alert and describing corruption as a threat to the Party's very survival.
Nothing is off-limits in the anti-corruption efforts, and zero tolerance has been shown toward corruption, Xi said at the seventh plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) earlier this year.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
On Dec. 4, 2012, the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee convened a meeting to deliberate on the eight-point frugality code to address "si feng," or "four forms of decadence" -- formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.
According to the CCDI, as of the end of May, a total of 170,400 violations against the eight-point frugality code had been investigated across the country, with 231,100 people punished, including 20 ministerial-level Party officials.
Yang Xiaodu, deputy secretary of the CCDI, said, "The tests we are facing now are no less challenging than those in war times, only in different forms. If our Party members can't resist the risks of corruption, they could end up using power for illegitimate purposes."
Chang Xiaobing, former chairman of China Telecom, stood trial at the Intermediate People's Court of Baoding City, north China's Hebei Province, for graft on May 31, 2017, and was sentenced to six years in prison. (Xinhua)
On April 19, 2013, the Politburo decided to launch education activities within the Party.
The "three stricts and three earnests" campaign, advanced by Xi in 2014, urges officials to be strict in morals, power and self-discipline, and to be honest in decisions, business and behavior.
The Party also advanced a campaign for members at all levels to study the theoretical and practical issues of Party building in an effort to strengthen ideology and Communist beliefs while serving the people.
The Party has shown hardened resolve in the fight against corruption when the Central Committee decided to investigate and punish senior officials for discipline violations, including Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Ling Jihua and Su Rong.
The Party not only exercises self-discipline within the country, but also reaches abroad to hunt down fugitives.
Yang Xiuzhu, who was once number one on the list of China's top 100 fugitives released in an Interpol "red notice," turned herself in to the country in November 2016 after 13 years on the run.
So far, over 40 fugitives on the Interpol red list have either voluntarily returned or been extradited to China, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
DISCIPLINARY INSPECTION AND SUPERVISION
In November 2013, the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee required innovation in the disciplinary inspection system, focusing on problems related to corruption, Party rules and regulations as well as the Party's leadership.
The CPC has carried out inspection work covering CPC organizations in provincial-level regions, central CPC and government organs and major state-owned enterprises, according to Li Xiaohong, an official with the central inspection group.
According to the CCDI, from 2012 to the end of 2016, 240 centrally administered officials were investigated, with 223 receiving punishments. A total of 57,000 Party members took the initiative to confess to their wrongdoings in 2016.
Liu Xiuwen, deputy director of the Budgetary Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee and Fu Wenjie, inspector of the Bureau of Secretaries of the NPC Standing Committee attend a press conference on the NPC's supervisory work for the fifth session of the 12th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, March 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)
Meanwhile, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, approved a pilot reform program to establish an integrated supervision system that will see the establishment of local supervisory commissions at three levels -- province, city and county.
Supervisory commissions have been set up in Beijing Municipality and the provinces of Shanxi and Zhejiang this year as the initial step toward establishing a national supervisory commission.
Besides supervising the performance, integrity and ethical conduct of civil servants, the commission will also investigate and punish anyone implicated in corruption or other job-related offenses. Any serious cases will be transferred to procuratorates for criminal investigation.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of the entire Party, the Party's discipline has been strengthened, Xi said, adding that "the spread of corruption has been effectively contained and the battle against corruption has gained crushing momentum."
"The objective of ensuring officials do not dare to be corrupt has been basically achieved," Xi said, concluding that a new atmosphere is emerging in political life within the Party.
INNOVATE OFFICIAL APPOINTMENT
In December 2014, Xi proposed "Four Comprehensives," a four-pronged strategy to create a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance rule of law and strengthen Party governance.
Having realized that the core of governing while deepening reform is the selection and appointment of officials, the Party issued guidelines to make the process more democratic, giving more weight to public opinion about the candidates.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, several scandals involving bribery by officials for votes have broken out across the country, shocking the public.
Wang Qingfu (right), a village Party head of Wuyishan City, east China’s Fujian Province, and his colleague (left) were answering the questions of the masses at a party branch meeting on September 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun)
Wang Weiping, an official with the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the Central Committee has learned lessons from the scandals and required organization departments to strengthen gathering of knowledge about officials in major posts from different sources.
The guidelines tackled an long-standing difficulty in lowering the official ranks of Party officials. As of the end of 2016, 60,845 officials had been appointed to other posts because they had been deemed inappropriate for their previous jobs.
The guidelines also explicitly specified that officials whose spouses have moved overseas will not be promoted. For officials who do not have spouses, if all of their children have moved overseas, they will not be promoted either. Enditem