The watch­dogs’ watch­dog

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - — PEO­PLE’S DAILY

In a re­cent in­ves­tiga­tive tour of East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince, Wang Qis­han, head of the Party’s top anti-graft watch­dog, stressed that to ad­vance stricter self-gov­er­nance of the Party, its dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion de­part­ments at var­i­ous lev­els should make them­selves an ex­am­ple by putting their power in an in­sti­tu­tional cage. Such a move is nec­es­sary, given that many peo­ple have been won­der­ing who are the watch­dogs keep­ing an eye on the watch­dogs. Some cor­rup­tion cases in­volv­ing dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion of­fi­cials in the past demon­strate that not all dis­ci­plinary of­fi­cials are im­mune to the lure of il­licit gains.

Due to the power they wield, peo­ple usu­ally do not dare to of­fend or crit­i­cize them, which pos­si­bly em­bold­ens some of them to dis­re­gard the Party dis­ci­pline and laws that they are sup­posed to be up­hold­ing.

For ex­am­ple, af­ter be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in 2004, Peng Jiny­ong, then chief of the anti-graft watch­dog in Changde, Hunan prov­ince, ad­mit­ted that as a top lo­cal dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion of­fi­cial no one dared to raise ob­jec­tions to him in his daily work, which en­cour­aged him to vi­o­late Party rules and the law.

With­out ef­fec­tive con­straints, the power to su­per­vise in the hands of dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion of­fi­cials may be abused like power in the hands of any other of­fi­cials. This has been re­peat­edly proved by a se­ries of anti-graft cases that have brought down other high-rank­ing dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion of­fi­cials.

That a large num­ber of dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion of­fi­cials have been pun­ished since 2012 re­flects the Party’s re­solve to firmly pro­mote self­su­per­vi­sion and self-cor­rec­tion.

But self-su­per­vi­sion alone is not enough for clean gov­er­nance. The Party’s vast dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion sys­tem should also in­crease the trans­parency of its work, re­move its mys­te­ri­ous veil, and vol­un­tar­ily bring its work un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the pub­lic.

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