Fo­cus of Sixth Plenum on Party dis­ci­pline

Su­per­vi­sion must be very strict In­ten­sify drive against graft Ex­pose du­al­ity of of­fi­cials Turn­ing point in Party his­tory Steps to­ward clean gov­er­nance Ex­plain facts of tran­si­tion Road ahead full of chal­lenges New­con­sen­sus on re­form needed

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

Ed­i­tor’s note: The po­lit­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant four-day Sixth Plenum of the 18th Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee ended on Thurs­day, high­light­ing the chal­lenges the Party faces and how it in­tends to strengthen strict Party gov­er­nance. Fol­low­ing are the views of me­dia out­lets and com­men­ta­tors on the plenum:

The Sixth Plenum of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, held on Oct 24-27, re­flected the coun­try’s top lead­er­ship’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to strictly reg­u­late Party mem­bers, says an opin­ion ar­ti­cle in Qiushi mag­a­zine, adding that the on­go­ing crack­down on cor­rup­tion will be­come a per­ma­nent mea­sure. Ex­cerpts:

The on­go­ing anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign shows the top lead­er­ship’s firm de­ter­mi­na­tion to elim­i­nate cor­rupt prac­tices from pol­i­tics. But the mis­sion can­not be achieved overnight, be­cause cor­rup­tion has ex­isted in po­lit­i­cal sys­tems for thou­sands of years. The top lead­er­ship needs to make con­tin­u­ous and hard ef­forts to root out cor­rup­tion from the po­lit­i­cal field. It is ex­actly what the Sixth Plenum fo­cused on.

The top lead­er­ship will take com­pre­hen­sive steps, in­stead of a sin­gle mea­sure, to strengthen Party dis­ci­pline. Since the lat­est na­tion-wide anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign was launched in 2012, mul­ti­ple mea­sures, in­clud­ing reg­u­lat­ing power, strength­en­ing of­fi­cials’ po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and pro­mot­ing trans­parency, have been taken in the fight against cor­rup­tion. In the fu­ture, these mea­sures will be­come more com­pre­hen­sive and co­he­sive.

Also, the mea­sures will be­come a per­ma­nent, as op­posed to tem­po­rary, course of ac­tion. Some call the cur­rent anti-cor­rup­tion ef­forts “a storm”, but the storm will never pass. The mea­sures may be rather strict, but they are nec­es­sary. Only with the firm de­ter­mi­na­tion can the Party root out cor­rup­tion from so­ci­ety and en­sure the longterm pros­per­ity of the na­tion.

China has made un­prece­dented progress on the eco­nomic and so­cial fronts, but the wealth gap that has emerged poses a chal­lenge to the Com­mu­nist Party of China in its fight against cor­rup­tion, says Gong Yun, a re­searcher in­Marx­ism at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, in an ar­ti­cle on gmw.cn. Ex­cerpts:

Strict dis­ci­pline has al­ways dis­tin­guished the CPC from all other po­lit­i­cal par­ties. It was strict dis­ci­pline and its stern im­ple­men­ta­tion that helped the Party lead the rev­o­lu­tion in 1949 and achieve rapid eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment over the past more than three decades.

China has been build­ing a so­cial­ist mar­ket econ­omy, which is an un­prece­dented en­deavor. The goal is glo­ri­ous, but be­cause of the new con­di­tions to­day, the Party faces a huge chal­lenge in strictly reg­u­lat­ing its mem­bers, es­pe­cially of­fi­cials at var­i­ous lev­els who wield power.

Given the eco­nomic pros­per­ity of the coun­try, Party of­fi­cials may fall prey to the lure of the lu­cre, es­pe­cially when bribes in mil­lions of yuan can be made.

Be­sides, some busi­ness­peo­ple earn astro­nom­i­cal amounts of money. They, along with those white-col­lar work­ers with huge in­comes, have fur­ther widened the wealth gap in so­ci­ety. These facts, too, could in­flu­ence Party of­fi­cials to trade power for money.

The so­lu­tion to this prob­lem lies in strength­en­ing Party dis­ci­pline. So it is time for the Party to re­it­er­ate the im­por­tance of po­lit­i­cal dis­ci­pline to its mem­bers. For ex­am­ple, Party dis­ci­pline re­quires var­i­ous lev­els of Party or­ga­ni­za­tions to hold reg­u­lar meet­ings so that they can point out each other’s mis­takes. But in some places such meet­ings have be­come mu­tual-praise gath­er­ings. The good, old tra­di­tion has to be re-em­pha­sized to let ev­ery Party mem­ber re­al­ize the im­por­tance of dis­ci­pline.

The “de­pra­va­tion dairies” of many se­nior cor­rupt of­fi­cials high­lighted in the re­cently aired eight-part doc­u­men­tary, Cor­rup­tion Fight is Al­ways Un­der­way, add weight to the fact that there is no haven for the cor­rupt, says Xin­hua News Agency. Ex­cerpts:

There is no “safe haven” for crim­i­nals. That some dis­graced of­fi­cials have even­tu­ally turned them­selves in and re­gret­ted flee­ing the coun­try to es­cape pun­ish­ments un­der­scores this vi­tal point.

They might have as­sumed that flee­ing to a for­eign coun­try would help them get away with their mis­deeds. But their fan­tasy has proved wrong. In his con­fes­sion, Wang Guo­qiang, a for­mer top of­fi­cial in Fengcheng, North­east China’s Liaon­ing prov­ince, de­scribed his stay in the United States as a cor­rupt out­law as “des­per­ate”, be­cause he feared be­ing caught when­ever he was in a pub­lic place. He turned him­self in two years af­ter he fled in 2012.

Other in­ter­viewed cor­rupt of­fi­cials who were once at large nar­rated sto­ries sim­i­lar toWang’s. Con­stant fear and guilt aside, those who are yet to be caught have more rea­sons to face due pun­ish­ments, as China dou­bles its ef­forts to get the cor­rupt fugi­tives repa­tri­ated by in­ten­si­fy­ing its co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries to end cross­bor­der crimes and cor­rup­tion.

Hold­ing cor­rupt of­fi­cials ac­count­able is in the in­ter­est of both China and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s global man­hunt for fugi­tives is be­ing sup­ported by an in­creas­ing num­ber of coun­tries, be­cause none of them would like to be called a haven for crim­i­nals.

And of­fi­cials should re­mem­ber, no one is above the law how­ever high his or her rank is.

The Sixth Plenum of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee has in­jected fresh mo­men­tum into the coun­try’s anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign in the con­text of in­tra-Party su­per­vi­sion, says Li Yongzhong, for­mer vi­cepres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion and Su­per­vi­sion, in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on news.ifeng.com. Ex­cerpts:

The plenum ap­proved two doc­u­ments on the norms of po­lit­i­cal life within the Party and in­tra-Party su­per­vi­sion, in or­der to en­sure power wielded by of­fi­cials is in­deed put in the in­sti­tu­tional cage.

Power, with­out checks, leads to cor­rup­tion. In other words, no mat­ter how many cor­rupt of­fi­cials are ar­rested and pun­ished, more will emerge un­less the power struc­ture and per­son­nel man­age­ment sys­tem are over­hauled.

That the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign has had a “freez­ing im­pact” on many of­fi­cials and made them “lazy” at work may be just ru­mors. But more mea­sures tar­get­ing “lazy” work­ers should be taken as part of the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, says a com­men­tary on the web­site of the over­seas edi­tion of Peo­ple’s Daily. Ex­cerpts:

The vow of the Sixth Plenum of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee to strengthen Party gov­er­nance and its re­view of two im­por­tant doc­u­ments aimed at reg­u­lat­ing in­tra­Party dis­ci­pline sym­bol­ize the fight against cor­rup­tion launched by the Party af­ter its 18th Na­tional Congress in late 2012. The cam­paign has en­tered the stage of in­sti­tu­tion build­ing, and the Party is hon­or­ing its com­mit­ment to grad­u­ally shift the fo­cus from the “sur­face” to the “roots” to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion from so­ci­ety.

While vig­or­ously ad­vanc­ing the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, the top au­thor­i­ties have also paid great at­ten­tion to some of­fi­cials’ “in­ac­tion”. InMay, com­ment­ing on the lack of en­thu­si­asm among some of­fi­cials to­ward work, top leader Xi Jin­ping said the mat­ter was of ex­treme im­por­tance and was yet to be solved. Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang, too, has said that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials’ fail­ure to ful­fill their du­ties is a kind of cor­rup­tion.

For some of­fi­cials, “in­ac­tion” is the re­sult of their lack of mo­ti­va­tion to per­form their du­ties that ear­lier could fetch them some il­le­gal ben­e­fits. Other of­fi­cials have cho­sen “in­ac­tion” to pas­sively op­pose the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign.

Ei­ther way, such of­fi­cials have shown they would rather in­dulge in cor­rup­tion to make il­licit gains, which proves the soil that breeds cor­rup­tion has not been cleansed.

Since some of­fi­cials have cho­sen to be “lazy” to avoid com­mit­ting “mis­takes” and be­ing caught in the act, the au­thor­i­ties should strengthen the anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures to iden­tify the guilty and bring them to book. And this is pre­cisely what the Sixth Plenum has vowed to do to reg­u­late in­tra-Party po­lit­i­cal life and strengthen in­tra-Party su­per­vi­sion.

Cor­rup­tion Fight is Al­ways Un­der­way, a doc­u­men­tary that was aired one week be­fore the Sixth Plenum of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, re­veals the other side of cor­rupt of­fi­cials, says a com­men­tary in China Youth Daily. Ex­cerpts:

While they held im­por­tant po­si­tions, cor­rupt of­fi­cials were ei­ther us­ing emo­tional ar­tic­u­la­tion or were pre­tend­ing to be self-right­eous to prove their hon­esty. Even in the new era of strict Party gov­er­nance, some cor­rupt of­fi­cials still wear the mask of hon­esty and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Al­though they do not re­ceive spe­cial train­ing, some of­fi­cials of­ten be­lie their sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity through their oral and writ­ten ex­pres­sions while ad­dress­ing sub­or­di­nates or grass­roots peo­ple. The same of­fi­cials, how­ever, be­have dif­fer­ently in front of their su­pe­ri­ors; they be­come the epit­ome of hu­mil­ity.

Some peo­ple climb up the ca­reer lad­der by talk­ing big. How do such peo­ple suc­ceed in their en­deavor? Of­fi­cials have summed up their own ex­pe­ri­ences and their road to suc­cess: not speak­ing the truth. So the higher au­thor­i­ties should take mea­sures to pre­vent such of­fi­cials from us­ing fal­sity and clichés, and en­cour­age peo­ple to speak up.

At im­por­tant events, cor­rupt of­fi­cials sur­pris­ingly speak like or­di­nary peo­ple, rarely veer­ing from the truth. The need is to ex­pose such of­fi­cials and bring them to book.

The im­pli­ca­tions of the Sixth Plenum on China’s po­lit­i­cal fu­ture will be huge, says Chan­nelNews Asia, an English lan­guage Asian TVNews chan­nel based in Sin­ga­pore. Ex­cerpts:

The Sixth Plenum of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee has tra­di­tion­ally fo­cused on re­in­forc­ing the Party’s po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy. At the just-con­cluded Sixth Plenum, top leader Xi Jin­ping sought to have his gov­ern­ing phi­los­o­phy writ­ten into Party doc­u­ments.

Xi has vowed to re­move cor­rupt of­fi­cials from the Party since his first day in of­fice, and his anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign has ac­counted for tens of thou­sands of cor­rupt of­fi­cials. The crack­down has been so se­vere that it has caused a dra­matic drop in lux­ury spend­ing. As such, the Sixth Plenum will make sure Xi’s cam­paign to clean up the Party’s rank and file will be re­mem­bered as a turn­ing point in the Party’s his­tory.

The pas­sage of two doc­u­ments by the Sixth Plenum aimed at reg­u­lat­ing in­tra­Party po­lit­i­cal life and strength­en­ing in­tra­Party su­per­vi­sion will help fur­ther im­prove Party reg­u­la­tions, fa­cil­i­tate the Party to ad­vance “stricter gov­er­nance” and con­sol­i­date its cam­paign to root out cor­rup­tion, says a re­port on Sin­ga­pore-based za­obao.com. Ex­cerpts:

Im­me­di­ately af­ter tak­ing of­fice, top leader Xi Jin­ping launched an un­prece­dented cam­paign against cor­rup­tion, en­snar­ing “tigers” (cor­rupt se­nior of­fi­cials) such as for­mer se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang, for­mer vice-chair­men of the Cen­tralMil­i­tary Com­mis­sion Guo Box­iong and Xu Cai­hou, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Gen­eral Of­fice of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Ling Ji­hua, and many other min­is­ter- and prov­ince-level of­fi­cials. But no mat­ter how many “tigers” and “flies” (cor­rupt lower-level of­fi­cials) are brought down, cor­rup­tion can­not be rooted out of so­ci­ety un­less the soil breed­ing cor­rup­tion is cleansed.

Wang Qis­han, chief of the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the Party’s top anti-cor­rup­tion body, said in 2013 that Party mea­sures aimed at elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion need time to prove ef­fec­tive. So, in its re­lent­less cam­paign to trap “tigers”, the Party has also is­sued sev­eral or­di­nances aimed at pro­mot­ing clean gov­er­nance.

Af­ter al­most four years of ef­forts, bri­betak­ing by bu­reau­crats has con­sid­er­ably re­duced, as very few of­fi­cials now dare to in­dulge in cor­rupt prac­tices. This re­mark­able achieve­ment of the coun­try’s lead­er­ship has also won pub­lic sup­port.

Xi has said the top lead­er­ship will now re­strain the use of power by of­fi­cials by put­ting power in the “cage of in­sti­tu­tion”, in or­der to es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism to pre­vent cor­rup­tion.

The Sixth Plenum, bring­ing se­nior of­fi­cials in­clud­ing the mem­bers of the Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and the Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau Sanding Com­mit­tee un­der su­per­vi­sion, is a big key step to­ward build­ing a com­pre­hen­sive cor­rup­tion-preven­ta­tive mech­a­nism.

What could the Sixth Plenum come up with re­gard to pol­icy? Rais­ing this ques­tion be­fore the plenum, The Tele­graph fo­cused on its pos­si­ble im­pact on econ­omy. Ex­cerpts:

State­me­di­a­have said “the com­pre­hen­sive and­strict­man­age­mentof theParty” will be the fo­cus, sug­gest­ing thatXi Jin­ping will use the plenumto fur­ther en­force his wide-rang­ing waron­cor­rup­tion. China’s top leader has con­sol­i­dated his power on the back of the cam­paign, and will seek to strengthen his hand fur­ther with a new “in­tra-Party su­per­vi­sion reg­u­la­tion”. Ex­perts also be­lieve of­fi­cials would dis­cuss changes in the Chi­nese econ­omy which have sur­faced fol­low­ing the global slow­down. “China is clearly in a tran­si­tion mo­ment,” said Kerry Brown, a for­mer Bri­tish diplo­mat in China. “But peo­ple want to know to what they are tran­sit­ing. So for pol­icy, there needs to be some­thing on the is­sues of slower growth in the rest of the world and how China can start re­ly­ing more on its own in­ter­nal sources of growth, what it is do­ing about in­equal­ity, and how it in­tends to man­age the tran­si­tion to a mid­dle in­come coun­try.” In­ter­na­tional in­vestors were deeply con­cerned about the out­comes of the four-day Sixth Plenum and their im­pact on the econ­omy in the next five years as China seeks to de­pend much more on do­mes­tic con­sump­tion for growth amid con­cerns over its debt sus­tain­abil­ity, said a re­port on cnbc.com. Ex­cerpts:

Chong Ja Ian, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore, said ob­servers are watch­ing for the po­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics at play, in­clud­ing move­ments in the man­age­ment of State-owned en­ter­prises and how the cen­tral au­thor­i­ties deal with lo­cal gov­ern­ment debt.

Of­fi­cially, the Sixth Plenum fo­cused on Party dis­ci­pline. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment ramped up sup­port for its anti-cor­rup­tion move­ment in the run-up to this year’s plenum, with a re­al­ity TV se­ries be­ing aired last week — the se­ries chron­i­cled sen­sa­tional life­styles of cor­rupt of­fi­cials who have since fallen from grace and their con­fes­sions. High­lights in­clude ded­i­cated ser­vants for pets (es­pe­cially, a tor­toise) and jade jew­elry worth mil­lions of dol­lars.

“It’s been the big­gest, the most com­pre­hen­sive, the most far-reach­ing anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign we’ve seen in China in mod­ern times. It’s go­ing to be more of the same; they are just go­ing to put the foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor more,” said Ge­off Raby, a for­mer Aus­tralian am­bas­sador to China, who is now the chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of his name­sake Bei­jing-based busi­ness ad­vi­sory.

The lead­er­ship headed by Party chief Xi Jin­ping has a lot of chal­lenges ahead, says a re­port of As­so­ci­ated Press. Ex­cerpts:

The Sixth Plenum was held amid re­ports that Xi Jin­ping had be­come the most pow­er­ful leader since Deng Xiaop­ing in China. Yet Xi’s do­mes­tic chal­lenges are le­gion, rang­ing from slow­ing eco­nomic growth to mas­sive lay­offs in an ef­fort to re­duce in­dus­trial over­ca­pac­ity. The State sec­tor still plays an out­size role in the econ­omy, debt is soar­ing and the po­ten­tially volatile wealth gap con­tin­ues to widen.

The past year has seen a num­ber of re­tired and serv­ing Party big-wigs fall, in­clud­ing for­mer top gen­eral Guo Box­iong. That fol­lowed the down­fall ear­lier… of pow­er­ful of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing for­mer Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau Stand­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber Zhou Yongkang. And more than 1 mil­lion of the Party’s 88 mil­lion mem­bers have been meted out pun­ish­ments since 2013, ac­cord­ing to the Party cor­rup­tion watch­dog, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion.

Top leader Xi Jin­ping has to carry for­ward the re­form, and the world will have to re­spond ac­cord­ingly, said wsj.com. Ex­cerpts:

As China’s ca­pac­ity for growth de­clines, mon­e­tary and fis­cal stim­u­lus have cre­ated as­set bub­bles. Real-es­tate prices in ma­jor cities have soared in the past year, and new mort­gage lend­ing has climbed by 111 per­cent. The fren­zied buy­ing of hous­ing units is in­creas­ing so­cial ten­sion by mak­ing it harder for mid­dle­class fam­i­lies to af­ford a home. As with the stock mar­ket in 2015, in­vestors will blame the in­evitable cor­rec­tion on the gov­ern­ment.

Xi in­her­ited many prob­lems, in­clud­ing ris­ing debts and slow­ing eco­nomic growth. The best path for­ward (for him) would be to build a new con­sen­sus for re­form.

MA XUEJING / CHINA DAILY

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