Drive is to erad­i­cate graft at the roots

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Com­pared with 2014 when many cor­rupt se­nior of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang, faced in­ves­ti­ga­tion or were pros­e­cuted, 2015 sawfewer such cases. There are two rea­sons for that. First, the two years of anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign be­fore 2015 had curbed cor­rup­tion to a cer­tain ex­tent. As a re­sult, fewer big “tigers”, or cor­rupt se­nior of­fi­cials, were hunted in 2015. Un­like in 2014 when three vice-state level of­fi­cials be­sides Zhou were put un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for sus­pected cor­rup­tion, in 2015 Guo Box­iong, for­mer vice chair­man of the Cen­tralMil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, was the only of­fi­cial of that level to face a probe.

Sec­ond, hav­ing suc­cess­fully de­terred many of the “tigers” from making money il­lic­itly, the top lead­er­ship turned its at­ten­tion to “flies”, or cor­rupt lower-level of­fi­cials. The “flies” may ex­er­cise less power, but they can be as greedy as the “tigers”. And since they deal di­rectly with or­di­nary peo­ple, their cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties pose an even greater threat to the credit of the Party and gov­ern­ment.

This has been high­lighted in the up­dated dis­ci­plinary mea­sures of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, which many say is “the strictest” in the Party’s history. Party dis­ci­pline chiefWang Qis­han has even said that Party mem­bers have to abide by stricter dis­ci­pline even if they come at the cost of cer­tain rights and free­dom.

That is to­tally jus­ti­fi­able: since the CPC is the coun­try’s pi­o­neer­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion, its mem­bers and of­fice bear­ers have to ful­fill higher re­quire­ments. The CPC is the rul­ing party of China and most of the coun­try’s of­fi­cials are its mem­bers. So it is nec­es­sary that the of­fi­cials fol­low higher dis­ci­plinary stan­dards, which will en­sure that they stay clean.

An­other ob­vi­ous move of the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the Party’s top anti-graft watch­dog, is strength­en­ing self-reg­u­la­tion, for which of­fi­cials at var­i­ous lev­els of dis­ci­plinary com­mis­sions are re­quired to be es­pe­cially cau­tious and to stay clean.

Some weeks ago, Liu Xiang­dong, for­mer dis­ci­plinary in­spec­tion team leader ofNorth China’s Shanxi prov­ince, and a sim­i­lar of­fi­cial in Cen­tral China’s An­hui prov­ince were put un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­leged cor­rup­tion. This is a very im­por­tant move be­cause if of­fi­cials fight­ing cor­rup­tion are them­selves cor­rupt, they will ruin the po­lit­i­cal ecol­ogy like HIV ru­ins the im­mune sys­tem of a hu­man body. There is no al­ter­na­tive to erad­i­cat­ing cor­rup­tion from dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees, be­cause anti-cor­rup­tion agen­cies will be dis­cred­ited if even one of its mem­bers is cor­rupt.

Th­ese trends are ex­pected to con­tinue in 2016, as the top lead­er­ship will fo­cus more on the “flies” that di­rectly com­pro­mise or­di­nary peo­ple’s in­ter­ests, and more strictly en­force dis­ci­pline so that peo­ple don’t feel the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign has eased.

Also, the on­go­ing ef­forts to re­struc­ture the anti-graft agen­cies could be ex­pe­dited. This year has seen dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees at var­i­ous lev­els get­ting more power to fight cor­rup­tion in­de­pen­dently; the com­ing year might see more em­pha­sis be­ing laid on the co­or­di­na­tion of other de­part­ments with them.

The top lead­er­ship might also re­viewthe re­sults of the anti-cor­rup­tion drive in the past years and de­vise bet­ter mech­a­nisms to reg­u­late power, which would be a key step to­ward in­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing the anti-cor­rup­tion ar­range­ments in or­der to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion from the roots, in­stead of just curb­ing it.

Du Zhizhou is a pro­fes­sor at and deputy di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for In­tegrity Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion at Bei­hang Univer­sity. This is an ex­cerpt from his in­ter­view with China Daily’s Zhang Zhoux­i­ang.

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