Which way will su­per­vi­sion re­form move?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

China launched a pi­lot pro­gram for su­per­vi­sion re­form in Bei­jing, Shanxi and Zhe­jiang prov­inces in Novem­ber with the aim of set­ting up anti-cor­rup­tion bod­ies es­tab­lished by pro­vin­cial-level peo­ple’s con­gresses that will jointly work with Party dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees at the same level.

The ef­fort to com­bine dif­fer­ent tools and in­sti­tu­tions to com­bat cor­rup­tion is a wel­come move as it will not only put more of­fi­cials un­der su­per­vi­sion but also strengthen su­per­vi­sion, mak­ing the fight against cor­rup­tion more ef­fi­cient and au­thor­i­ta­tive. The pi­lot pro­gram will move from “strictly reg­u­lat­ing Party mem­bers” to “strictly reg­u­lat­ing all civil ser­vants”, in­clud­ing non-Party mem­bers.

For long, Party dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees at var­i­ous lev­els have played the key role in pre­vent­ing and curb­ing cor­rup­tion, by mainly ed­u­cat­ing Party mem­bers to stay clean and launch­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions against those sus­pected of cor­rup- tion. The method has been ef­fec­tive, but it has two prob­lems.

First, most of the Party mem­bers are hon­est and prin­ci­pled; only a few are cor­rupt. So it will be a big waste of anti-cor­rup­tion re­sources if dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees tar­get only Party mem­bers. And sec­ond, some of­fi­cials who are not Party mem­bers, too, could abuse their pow­ers. So it is equally im­por­tant to pre­vent non-Party-mem­ber of­fi­cials from fall­ing to the lure of cor­rup­tion. How­ever, the Party dis­ci­plinary bod­ies can hardly do any­thing against them be­cause they are not Party mem­bers.

Cor­rup­tion hap­pens when peo­ple who wield power are not su­per­vised or mon­i­tored, no mat­ter whether they are Party mem­bers or not. There­fore, the dis­ci­plinary su­per­vi­sion bod­ies should over­see all civil ser­vants, rather than just Party mem­bers.

The ex­ist­ing govern­ment su­per­vi­sion or­ga­ni­za­tions have tried to plug the loop­holes by also mon­i­tor­ing of­fi­cials who are not Party mem­bers. But in the past they were not given enough power and their du­ties were rather lim­ited. As a re­sult, most of the cor­rup­tion cases in­volv­ing nonParty mem­bers were de­tected by procu­ra­tors rather than govern­ment su­per­vi­sion bod­ies in the past.

That’s why the re­form is nec­es­sary. The anti-cor­rup­tion com­mit­tees es­tab­lished by the pro­vin­cial-level peo­ple’s con­gresses have more power and their of­fi­cial level is the same as that of the ju­di­ciary.

More im­por­tantly, the new com­mit­tees have the power to su­per­vise all public ser­vants, as is clearly stated in the pi­lot scheme. All em­ploy­ees in govern­ment agen­cies, public funded in­sti­tu­tions and State- owned en­ter­prises are sub­ject to the su­per­vi­sion of the new com­mit­tees.

And the fact that the new com­mit­tees will work with Party dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees at the same level shows the re­form is aimed at mak­ing fight against cor­rup­tion more ef­fi­cient. Since many of­fi­cials are Party mem­bers, both com­mit­tees are au­tho­rized to su­per­vise them; and by work­ing to­gether, they will avoid repet­i­tive work and can­not shirk re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Be­sides, there are mul­ti­ple de­part­ments that can su­per­vise of­fi­cials, and their ef­forts need to be in­te­grated un­der the lead­er­ship of the Party, so as to more ef­fi­ciently com­bat cor­rup­tion. Of course, the de­sign needs to stand the test of prac­tice and time, and that’s why the pro­gram is on a dry run in Bei­jing, Shanxi and Zhe­jiang. Hope­fully, it will pro­vide pre­cious ex­pe­ri­ence to strengthen the fu­ture fight against cor­rup­tion.

The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor of an­ti­cor­rup­tion stud­ies at the Zhou En­lai School of Govern­ment, Nankai Univer­sity.

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