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More Party regulations to tighten up discipline

By Yang Zekun | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-11-14 07:22
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Continuous reform, attention to public are central to CPC's national success

The Communist Party of China believes that its commitment to continuously improve conduct and enforce discipline is a major reason it has won the full support of the people.

In a report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, the Party said that it will take steps to improve conduct and enforce discipline, reflecting its firm determination to ensure full, rigorous Party governance.

According to Xiao Pei, deputy head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and vice-chairman of the National Commission of Supervision, this is the Party's strategic plan.

Full, rigorous self-governance began with the formulation and implementation of the central leadership's Eight-Point Decision on improving conduct, shortly after the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012.

It tasks officials with practicing frugality and eradicating undesirable work styles, including doing better research and analysis and understanding actual conditions when doing grassroots-level studies, streamlining meetings and improving the way they are conducted, making documents and briefing papers more concise and improving writing style.

Over the past decade, disciplinary inspection authorities have investigated over 761,000 cases in violation of the eight-point frugality code, including cases related to 265 officials under the management of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.

"From the strict ban on using public money to send gifts, eat, drink or travel, we have resolved one problem after another in the past decade, and the disciplinary watchdogs have provided full disclosure of their investigation and handling of violations every month," Xiao said.

Authorities have also worked on eliminating pointless formalities and bureaucratism, including the chanting of slogans without taking action and endless paperwork and meetings, he said.

From the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017 to the end of August 2022, disciplinary and supervisory organs nationwide investigated 273,000 issues related to pointless formalities and bureaucratism, punishing about 410,000 people, according to the CCDI.

In addition, they have penalized cadres at the grassroots level who capitalized on their positions to create obstacles or demand bribes, or to treat the public in an indifferent, insolent or perfunctory manner, he said.

"The eight-point frugality code is an iron rule that will be in place for a long time, and we will prevent the reappearance of resolved problems, as well as variations on them," he said.

On Oct 25, three days after the end of the 20th CPC National Congress, the Political Bureau of the 20th CPC Central Committee deliberated on detailed rules for implementing the frugality code on work conduct.

The report to the 20th CPC National Congress points out that some Party members and officials lack a sense of responsibility, the capacity to grapple with tough challenges and the readiness to work. Pointless formalities and bureaucratism remain a pronounced problem.

It also states that the Party will implement the frugality code on improving conduct and ensure that leading officials set an example for those below them, and continue to tackle pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, which are known as the "Four Forms of Decadence", with a focus on the first two.

Yang Weidong, a professor at the School of Law-based Government at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that the problem of the Four Forms closely relates to Party conduct building, and that good and positive Party conduct is conducive to good conduct in the government, society and the public, and vice versa.

The CPC attaches great importance to good conduct, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, and the CPC Central Committee implemented the Eight-Point Decision and tackled the Four Forms of Decadence to great result, he said.

Tackling decadence is critical to improving Party conduct and enforcing Party discipline and is included in the Regulation of the Communist Party of China on Accountability, making it a long-term process, Yang said.

Targeting decadence

Ji Naili, a professor at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that the Party has always opposed pointless formalism and bureaucratism, and will continue to do so, and has kept improving regulations.

In mid-September, the general office of the CPC Central Committee issued a document to improve the mechanism for selecting and appointing leading officials, selecting outstanding individuals for positions or awards, while filtering out mediocre candidates.

The CPC Central Committee asked for the creation of guidelines for assessing the performance of officials that elevates the competent, rewards the outstanding, demotes the mediocre and dismisses the incompetent. Mediocre and incompetent officials are chiefly those prone to formalism and bureaucratism, he said.

"When it comes to the strict crackdown on corruption, some officials may not have committed corruption, but are unwilling to perform their duties or make improvements. They shirk principled struggle to protect their personal interests, and avoid incurring trouble. Formalism and bureaucratism are two prominent means mediocre officials use to avoid liability," Ji said.

According to Yang, as the situation changes, some variations of decadence have emerged, such as officials flaunting their official prestige and only superficially treating the public properly, not performing their duties or prevaricating in resolving problems, which is a variation of bureaucratism.

"Taking targeted measures to tackle these variations, authorities should establish a concept of self-reform among all Party members, instructing them not to forget their original aspirations while exercising power," Yang said.

"The Party has kept improving supervisory mechanisms to ensure public power is used within the framework of regulations. I think more sophisticated systems will be introduced, such as to what extent the responsibility of a post should be fulfilled, so that work styles can be evaluated and problems properly corrected," he said.

The essential purpose of such systems is to urge officials to fully perform their duties, serve the people and properly use their power, he said.

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