Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Emerging Forms of Chinese Anti-Corruption Institutions

Xi Jingping has been moving aggressively to reform the operations of the Chinese Communist Party over the last year. Particularly important has been his efforts to bring politics back into the CCP and to assert, in a more public and open way, the leadership role of the CCP in the eveolution of the principles and rules through which  the political, social, and economic goals of the Chinese state are to be realized.  

 ("Xi Jinping calls for greater austerity with 'eight rules' on official behaviour."  hi  Jiangtao, Xi Jinping's guidelines to cut back extravagance go into effect Provinces agree to heed new party chief's call for greater austerity but sceptics question who has the authority to enforce new rules, South China Morning Post, Oct. 10, 2013; Photo: Xinhua)

To that end, it has been necessary to confront the issue of corruption within the CCP, and to an equal extent, its reflection in the action of administrative officials  at all levels of government. The CCP indicated the importance of this issue in Hu Jingtao's last Report to the 18th CCP National COngress in November 2012.

And the whole Party is confronted with increasingly grave dangers of lacking in drive, incompetence, being out of touch with the people, corruption and other misconduct. We should steadily improve the Party's art of leadership and governance; and increase its ability to resist corruption, prevent degeneration and ward off risks – this is a major issue the Party must solve in order to consolidate its position as the governing party and carry out its mission of governance. (Hu Jingtao, Report to the 18th CCP National Congress, Nov. 2012, at Part XII). 
Now we begin to see some of the manifestation of this work of developing institutional structures to strengthen the CCP apparatus and better discipline its cadres. This post provides a report by Shan Gao, an SJD candidate at Penn State's Law School of some of the most recent efforts to institutionalize CCP anti-corruption efforts.

The New face of Chinese Anti-Corruption Institutions and New rules regarding State and Party Conference Budget Management 
Shan Gao

In this report:

· Briefly introducing new features of the anti-corruption agency website

· Select citation of new Measurements of the Conference Budget Management

As part of lager anti-corruption campaign by China’s new leadership, the opening of new website for China’s Anti-Corruption agency was a big thing in the eyes of Forbidden City. The national evening news program spent 3 minutes detailed explained the function of this website to nationwide audience. Moreover, the Secretary of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and one of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, Wang qishan personally visited the headquarter of the new website for China’s Anti-Corruption agency[1]. All these facts signaled China’s new leader’s ambitions on cracking corruptions. From personal inspection of China’s daily news, for the past 6 months, news on the fall of high level officials had higher frequency than before. Also, the number of criticisms as well as severity of the tone in those criticisms had significant decreases. For China’s observers, the new face of China’s Anti-Corruption agency website and other anti- corruption measurements are worth for us to take a look:

(Pix: The screen shot of the new face of the Anti-corruption website

Note: the top left reads: Central CPC Commission of Discipline and Inspection with the Party logo, the right top reads: Ministry of Supervision with state logo. This website could be accessed through two domains. One is “www.” CCDI is the abbreviation of Central CPC Commission of Discipline and Inspection. The other domain is “www.” MOS is the abbreviation of Ministry of Supervision. The design of the website, two domains and the organization and operation of this anti-corruption agency all perfectly indicated the characteristic of Chinese Anti-corruption framework under China’s unique Party-State system.

Based on the information provided by the new website, Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection and Ministry of Supervision are working together as one aggregate unit for China’s anti-corruption issues. Prior to the establishment of PRC, Central Commission for Discipline was created in 1927 by CPC’s 5th Annual congress to deal with Party corruption issues. The Ministry of Supervision, on the other hand, was created much later after the fall of Gang of Four by the 6th Standing Committee of National People’s Congress in 1986.[2] The Ministry of Supervision I mainly dealing with government employee’s corruption issue under the leadership of State Council. Although these two institutions had its own specification and jurisdictions, in 1993 the Central CPC and State Council jointly agree to incorporate with each other as one unit and keep their original institution structure[3]. The following diagram from the website indicated the structure after their merge. As you can tell from this complex diagram, CCDI & MOS is basically consisted by three branches. The Internal Agency is the main agency that dealing with the investigation:

Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection (CCDIC) and Ministry of Supervision (MOS)

Internal Agency diagram 1:

Internal Agency diagram 2:

The website for CCDI and MOS has also published the standard procedure for handling reports from the people. There are 4 ways of reporting or filing a case to the authority. Personal visitation to the headquarter, write letters to report a case, make a phone call (12388) and report a case on the website. There are also four steps for answering each report. First step is preliminary work. The CCDI & MOS would sterilize, categorize and reorganize each complaint or report. The second step is accepting and registering the case. Workers would read letters, online filings, interview people who made complaints. The third step is processing the complaints. Based on the rules and details of each case, the authority will make decision for how to process each case. The last step is to give a feedback to the person who files the complaints or reports to the authority.

It is clear that, the authority trying to lunch a fresh looking website with easy accessing information and simple instructions for the public to file complaints over officials’ inappropriate or illegal activity.



Measures for Central CPC and State Agencies’ Conference Budget Management

Xi had lunched his “eight rules” as part of his “Anti-Corruption” and “Anti-bureaucracy” campaign at the beginning of this year. Media and courts are quite busy since the beginning of this year. (The "eight rules" are listed below at [4]). News about trials or investigations on some officials’ inappropriate behavior or illegal activity is frequently jumped on the top of the news line. As part of eight rule campaign, Measures for Central CPC and State Agencies’ Conference Budget Management was released by state agency Ministry of Finance. The new measurements will be officially executed next year April 1st, the starting date of each fiscal year. This new measures designed to eliminate any extravagant spending on the conference, which is consisted with Xi’s new campaign of anti-extravagant spending behavior. Moreover, these measures applied to both CPC agencies as well as State agencies. It also specifically requiring different levels of conference or meeting has different restrictions over the number of participants, number of dates, budget for housing and transportation. The South China Morning Post reported: "The rules adopted by the new 25-member Politburo early last month appear aimed at appeasing mounting popular anger over an avalanche of social ills, with official corruption and injustice among the top public concerns." [5]
Here I have few highlights for the rules: 
· The rules applied to both State and CPC agencies;

· Detailed list different levels of conference and meeting had different standards of budget;

· The participants for second level meeting or conference are limited to 300 and last less than 3 days. The third level meeting should be limited to less than 150 people and last for less than 2 days. The Fourth level meeting should be limited to less than 50 people.

· Except first level meeting, other levels of meeting or conference should be held in hotels less than 4 stars. It’s prohibited to hold conference in any natural resorts that on the black list of State Council.

· Reporting system and publication system for conference budget management should be gradually established. When the conditions are meet, report it to the public.

Under Article 2 of this measurement, Central CPC means all Central CPC departments. State agencies means all State Council departments, General Office of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, General Office of Standing Committee of National People’s Consultative Conference, Supreme Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate and other Democratic Party’s central institutions and All- China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

The measurements detailed listed four kinds of conference. Fist level conference is held under the name of State Council and Central CPC, which requiring the presentation of Provincial, autonomous region, municipality directly under the Central Government or municipality listed separately under the State plan (local government)’s leader. Second level conference is held by departments or institutions under Central CPC or State Council, Supreme Court Supreme People’s Procuratorate and other Democratic Party. Third level conference is held by internal agencies of Central CPC or State Council, Supreme Court Supreme People’s Procuratorate and other Democratic Party. The fourth level conference covered other conference besides the one mentioned in first, second and third level conference.

Expect the first level conference could have more flexibility in the length of the meeting. The second, third and fourth level meeting must be limited within 2 days. Preparation must be limited within one day.

The article 11 and 12 specifically requiring officials use video conference to limit their conference budget. For meetings only deliver higher authority’s orders, the host should choice video conference when this is available. Moreover, second, third and fourth level conference must be host in hotels under four star (including four star). If participants of the conference are mainly located in Beijing, the conference shall not be held outside Beijing. Also, the conference cannot be held in resorts that on the Central CPC and State Council’s black lists.

Article 14 and 15 detailed the scope and limits for the conference budget. For example, the conference budget shall only cover participants’ housing and dinning, rent for conference room, traffic expense and medical expense. The scope and limits for the conference budget are:

Third and Forth

Article 27 further requiring that all agencies shall not organize any kind of banquet in the name of conference. No luxury suit or hotels is allowed for the conference room. Banquet is not recommended and luxury food as well as cigarette and alcohol are prohibited. The host shall not arrange flowers and background board and fruits for the conference. Furthermore, it is prohibited to use conference budget to purchase computer, printer and fax machine or purchase any gifts or gift cards. It is not allowed to have any high level luxurious entertainment activities or fitness activities.


[1]CNTV. Sep. 02. Wang qishan inspecting the opening of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and Ministry of Supervision website (中央纪委监察部网站正式开通 王岐山赵洪祝到网站调研)

[2] People’s Daily, 1986 Sep 3. The standing Committee of National People’s Congress decide to establish Ministry of Supervision.

[3]Wikipedia, Ministry of Supervision
[4]"Eight-point regulation," CPC Encyclopedia lists the eight points as follows:
1. Leaders must keep in close contact with the grassroots. They must understand the real situation facing society through in-depth inspections at grassroots. Greater attention should be focused on places where social problems are more acute, and inspection tours must be carried out more thoroughly. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited. Leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at the grassroots, and people's practical problems must be tackled. There should be no welcome banner, no red carpet, no floral arrangement or grand receptions for officials' visits.

2. Meetings and major events should be strictly regulated, and efficiency improved. Political Bureau members are not allowed to attend ribbon-cutting or cornerstone-laying ceremonies, or celebrations and seminars, unless they get approval from the CPC Central Committee. Official meetings should get shortened and be specific and to the point, with no empty and rigmarole talks.

3. The issuing of official documents should be reduced.

4. Officials' visits abroad should only be arranged when needed in terms of foreign affairs with fewer accompanying members, and on most of the occasions, there is no need for a reception by overseas Chinese people, institutions and students at the airport.

5. There should be fewer traffic controls when leaders travel by cars to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public.There should be fewer traffic controls arranged for the leaders' security of their trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public

6. The media must not report on stories about official events unless there is real news value. The regulations also ban worthless news reports on senior officials' work and activities and said such reports should depend on work needs, news value and social effects.

7. Leaders should not publish any works by themselves or issue any congratulatory letters unless an arrangement with the central leadership has been made. Official documents without substantial contents and realistic importance should be withheld. Publications regarding senior officials' work and activities are also restricted.

8. Leaders must practise thrift and strictly follow relevant regulations on accommodation and cars.

[5] Shi  Jiangtao, Xi Jinping's guidelines to cut back extravagance go into effect Provinces agree to heed new party chief's call for greater austerity but sceptics question who has the authority to enforce new rules, South China Morning Post, Oct. 10, 2013.


News update from CCDI& MOS concerning Party officials’ reporting system; and abolishing old outdated Party rules

According to the public news sources (most of them from Oct 12) , the Law and Regulation office of CCDIC&MOS and Office of Supervision of CPC Department of Organization are jointly issuing a new comprehensive measure on reporting official leaders’ personal matters. The compressive measurements were believed still under the process of creation, and no further information regarding the details of the measurements were released. Current Reporting Rule was created in 2010 and issued jointly by CPC General Office and General Office of State Council, which means the reporting rules apply to both Party and Government leaders. The latest update from the CCDI & MOS also indicates that the agency recently issued Notice on the Second Phase of Abolishing Old Party rules and Laws. Based on the public news:

1. The first phase of “Spring cleaning” started from Oct 2012 had already examined Party rules and laws that issued or jointly issued by CCDIC or Central CPC or Central CPC General Office between 1978 to 2012 June.

2. The second phase of “spring cleaning” will start from October 2013 until 2014 June. The target is Party rules and Laws made between 1949 and 1978.

3. The “Spring Cleaning” designed to abolish outdated old Party rules or laws that conflict with current standard.


Comprehensive Measures on Reporting Relevant Personal Matters by Official Leaders 2010


The Article 2 of the 2010 rule provided that the target officials of the rule are Party, State administrative position, state judicial and legislative positions.

· Officials at the deputy county or division level or above in Party organs,

· people's congresses, administrative organs, people’s political consultative conferences, , and democratic party organs at all levels;

· judicial organs, procuratorial organs;

· Officials holding posts in the people's organizations or public institutions, equivalent to leading posts at the deputy county and division level or above; and

· Medium level or above leaders in large SOEs and members of leader groups in medium size SOEs.

According to Article 3, the reporting matters are including changes of:

· Marital status

· Passports

· Traveling outside the board of PRC

· Offspring’s marriage to foreigners or citizens of Hong Long, Macau, and Taiwan.

· Matters of spouses or offspring moving aboard (gaining foreign citizenship or passport or residence), their employment at both home and abroad and their posts and information relating to their criminal records.

Article 4, it also including report any incomes from:

· Investments (securities, sticks or equity incentives, insurance, financial wealth management products)

· Real property owned by themselves, their spouses, or children living with them;

· lecturing and teaching, writing, consultancy, proofreading, painting and calligraphy

No comments: