Draft gives anti-graft fight a shot in the arm

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

The draft of a na­tional su­per­vi­sion law was sub­mit­ted to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, the coun­try’s top leg­is­la­ture, for re­view at its session late last month. The leg­is­la­tion is aimed at build­ing a unified, au­thor­i­ta­tive and ef­fi­cient su­per­vi­sion sys­tem.

A pilot pro­gram for the na­tional in­sti­tu­tional su­per­vi­sion sys­tem has been im­ple­mented in Bei­jing, and Shanxi and Zhe­jiang prov­inces, and su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions at three lev­els — pro­vin­cial, mu­nic­i­pal and county — are al­ready in place to mon­i­tor all public of­fice hold­ers.

As an in­sti­tu­tional in­no­va­tion mech­a­nism in the na­tion­wide anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, the pilot pro­gram makes clear these com­mis­sions’ su­per­vi­sory role and their obli­ga­tion to com­bat cor­rup­tion. The new com­mis­sions are ex­pected to be in­de­pen­dent of the govern­ment, the court and the procu­ra­torate, and the job of its staff mem­bers, ap­pointed and su­per­vised by the top leg­is­la­ture and its lo­cal branches, will in­clude that of the su­per­vi­sory of­fi­cials af­fil­i­ated to the govern­ment, the procu­ra­torate and ad­min­is­tra­tive au­dit or­gans which scru­ti­nize those as­sum­ing and leav­ing of­fice.

These ar­range­ments, in part, ful­fill the need to em­ploy Party dis­ci­pline and na­tional laws to com­bat cor­rup­tion. Be­sides, the in­de­pen­dent su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions un­der the lead­er­ship of the Com­mu­nist Party of China and the NPC are in line with the solemn prom­ise to put power un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the peo­ple.

The es­tab­lish­ment of the new su­per­vi­sion sys­tem is in­tended to con­sol­i­date the Party’s ab­so­lute lead­er­ship in the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, which is not just about ful­fill­ing its su­per­vi­sory and dis­ci­plinary du­ties but also about en­sur­ing the en­force­ment of Party dis­ci­pline and laws is cor­rup­tion-free.

The slew of cor­rup­tion cases un­earthed in re­cent years shows that an ef­fi­cient, and unified su­per­vi­sion of public power could have curbed cor­rup­tion. Pre­vi­ously, lo­cal “tigers” (se­nior cor­rupt of­fi­cials) man­aged to find su­per­vi­sory loop­holes and pull some strings to evade lo­cal su­per­vi­sion and in­spec­tion. Not any more. The wrong­do­ers will face stream­lined pun­ish­ments from de­ten­tion to “res­i­den­tial sur­veil­lance”, in­stead of just hav­ing to explain them­selves.

The na­tional su­per­vi­sion sys­tem will also in­ject fresh im­pe­tus into the anti-cor­rup­tion drive. The Party dis­ci­plines and rel­e­vant laws will be en­forced in a more syn­er­gis­tic man­ner to add le­gal teeth to the NPC su­per­vi­sion. And gov­ern­ments at all lev­els have been urged to ful­fill their obli­ga­tions to su­per­vise and be su­per­vised, while the ju­di­cial and procu­ra­torate or­gans will be sub­jected to checks and bal­ances.

Ide­ally, the new su­per­vi­sion sys­tem could help im­prove na­tional gov­er­nance, by purg­ing la­tent abuse of power from it, as the su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions are ex­pected to have the right to in­ves­ti­gate, au­dit, warn and sug­gest when it comes to pre­vent­ing cor­rup­tion. In par­tic­u­lar, the in­tro­duc­tion of preven­tive su­per­vi­sion could dis­suade would-be cor­rupt of­fi­cials from tak­ing the wrong steps.

On the one hand, the sys­tem calls for procu­ra­torates’ in­ter­ven­tion to hold de­fen­dants crim­i­nally ac­count­able. On the other, it al­lows the de­fen­dants to ap­peal the non-crim­i­nal penal­ties handed down by the su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions to the court. Also, the com­mis­sions will have ac­cess to ev­i­dence of cor­rup­tion that the cus­toms, po­lice, or au­dit­ing au­thor­i­ties have.

Un­der the new ar­range­ments, the su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions will work closely with their coun­ter­parts un­der the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the Party’s top anti-cor­rup­tion body, and their co­op­er­a­tion will add more flex­i­bil­ity and ef­fi­ciency to the mis­sion of elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion.

... the in­de­pen­dent su­per­vi­sory com­mis­sions ... are in line with the solemn prom­ise to put power un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the peo­ple.

The au­thor is di­rec­tor of the China Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ju­di­cial Re­search Cen­ter.

SONG CHEN / CHINA DAILY

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