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Corruption fighters may include outsiders

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily USA | Updated: 2015-02-02 07:33

Top reform group led by Xi approves option for making watchdogs more effective at all levels

China's top-level policymaking group on reform pledged to reach outside the existing disciplinary organization for qualified officials to lead anti-corruption organizations at all levels.

Typically, under current practice, leadership posts at the watchdogs have been filled by promotions from within. Now, talent can be drawn from other fields. It's the latest in a series of moves aimed at enhancing the Party's anti-graft effectiveness.

An action plan was also approved on Friday for "further deepening judicial and social system reform" in line with decisions of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in October.

The Leading Group for Overall Reform, led by President and Party chief Xi Jinping, was set up in December 2013 to be in charge of mapping out reform missions. Initiatives unveiled at its meetings have been widely taken as reference points by observers worldwide.

Xi demanded concrete efforts by localities to make sure reforms "live up to expectations and tackle problems in real and concrete terms".

With Friday's decision, the Party will "expand the channels for selecting and deploying" talented and reliable disciplinary inspectors. The heads and deputy heads of the Party's anti-graft commissions can be selected from "both within and outside the disciplinary system".

The disciplinary bodies oversee the behavior of Party members and investigate wrongdoing, including economic crimes.

Previously, the disciplinary commission chiefs were generally chosen from within, a practice many observers said led to problems such as dysfunctional internal oversight.

Zhan Zhongle, a law professor at Peking University, said personal connections within the disciplinary architecture may "lead to abuse of power" or "diminish the anti-graft efforts within the watchdog itself".

Introducing outsiders to top posts will "expand the selection pool, improve the quality of appointments and boost the efficiency of the watchdog quickly", Zhan said.

A successful fight against graft relies on the Party itself and its members. Ideal watchdog officials should be defined as those who have the courage to "show daring, conduct oversight and take responsibility", the Leading Group said.

The Friday meeting brought the approval of three pilot initiatives related to nominating and checking chiefs of disciplinary watchdogs at provincial level and at ministries and State-owned companies.

The action plan that was approved for judicial reform detailed the policy objectives, allocation of duties, time schedules and the expected fruits of the effort.

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