Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Saturday, Nov 5, 2016

Xinhua Insight: With new rules, China on the way to build a cleaner Party

(Xinhua)    10:13, November 05, 2016

BEIJING, Nov. 4  -- Qu Ying is not a Party member, but she feels that the new Party documents issued on Wednesday affect her as much as Party members.

"The new regulations serve the interests of ordinary people," said the restaurant owner in the city of Houma, north China's Shanxi Province.

Qu used to complain about IOU slips. "In the past, some Party members, a few of whom were officials, would come here to have dinner, before handing us an IOU. Many restaurants had the same problem."

It's a small restaurant but the IOUs could amount to several thousand yuan in a year. "They were officials and I couldn't displease them."

Two documents -- the norms of political life within the Party under the new situation and a regulation on intra-Party supervision -- were released following the sixth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC) last week.

According to the 12-part norms, Party members are asked to maintain "flesh and blood bonds with ordinary people," and may not "impair nor infringe the interests of people."


China has about 88 million Party members, more than the total population of Germany. For decades, the CPC has been stressing the political life of its members.

According to Dai Yanjun, deputy director of the Party-building department at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, the earliest proposal to regulate political life within the Party came in 1929, only eight years after the Party was founded.

In that year in Gutian Township, Fujian Province, Mao Zedong presided over a historic conference that established the principle of the Party's absolute leadership over the army. He also called for "politicizing and scientizing the thought of Party members and their life within the Party through education."

Between 1942 and 1945, during the Rectification Movement in Yan'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Mao's maxim, "seek truth from facts" prevailed, and Party members were told to combine theory with facts, build close links with the ordinary people and practice criticism and self-criticism.

The highly disciplined Party won people's support in wartime, even if the tradition and style of the Party were damaged during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Norms of political life within the Party were first declared in 1980.

"Norms were ranked as the second among Party documents, next to the Constitution," Dai Yanjun said. "Political life is the basis of resolution of other problems."

A regulation on intra-Party supervision came into force in 2003, but Dai believed it was "not practical enough, and some items were not quite specific."

"We have seen many corruption cases within the Party over the past years because supervision didn't work and the regulation needed amending."


Given new conditions and tasks, it became imperative to introduce new norms and regulations.

The new norms increase supervision while limiting individual powers, restating that Party members should be honest and upright.

Wang Yukai, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, sees the documents as a turning point. "China's treatment of corruption has moved on from attacking the symptoms to curing the disease."

Since the campaign shifted up a gear in late 2012, people have seen some changes. Li Disheng, an official with the water bureau of Guichi District, in Chizhou City of Anhui Province, received a warning in March for accepting an invitation by a company to a restaurant and bath house.

"Many people were surprised because he hadn't taken any bribes and it was normal to have dinner with businessmen," said Ke Sheng, deputy head of the organization department of the CPC Guichi District Committee. "But a big mistake always starts with a small one."


Office worker Sun Yue, 26, from Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, walks past a five-story building every day on her way to work, but until April, she didn't know what it was like inside.

"The restaurant used to be among the most expensive in Zhengzhou," she said. Dinner for two usually cost 1,000 yuan (147 U.S. dollars), but the restaurant had plenty of customers: businessmen and officials. In April, it became a hotpot restaurant and Sun has visited twice.

In the run up to the sixth plenary session, an eight-part documentary, "Always on the Road," was widely watched. It touched upon many high-profile corruption cases.

Bai Enpei, a former senior national lawmaker and also former Party secretary of Qinghai and Yunnan provinces, had his wife accept bribes. The son of Liu Tienan, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, used the illicit money his father took to buy sports cars.

"Leaders and cadres should educate their relatives and subordinates and make sure that they behave well," say the new norms.

A construction company manager, who only gave his surname as Zhang, said he found government procedures were always "pending" as no one would accept gifts any more, and therefore had no reason to do their job.

"In the past, we would have solved our problems with some small cash gifts, but now, we have no choice but to wait," he said.

In the new norms, Zhang found some hope. CPC members must work to dispel difficulties for the public, and be criticized or even penalized for unsatisfactory service.

"Beyond written rules, effective supervision and enforcement are vital," said Koh Chin Yee, CEO of Longus Research Institute, a think tank in Singapore. "Having rules that are loosely enforced ... is worse than not having any."

According to Koh, the rules and guidelines reflect social values and expectations.

"Prevailing societal norms are important to keep governments clean and honest. Expectation and intolerance builds a self-reinforcing virtuous circle," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

Add your comment

Related reading

We Recommend

Most Read

Key Words