Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Structural balance to curb graft

By Li Yongzhong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-20 07:52

Triumph in the fight against corruption depends on well-designed mechanisms to check power rather than on power itself

During its over 90 years' history and 65 years' governance, the Communist Party of China has always considered corruption a fatal disease and tried to curb it. However, most of its efforts against corruption in the past relied on the power of higher authorities to strike against the corruption of lower officials, which proved efficient in certain cases but ultimately unsustainable because it depended on the personal will and style of the top leaders.

Absolute power leads to absolute corruption, and the mode of higher power curbing the corruption of lower power does not involve limits on power itself, thus it cannot break the vicious circle.

That's also one of the reasons why corruption has spread; even though the CPC has launched one anti-graft campaign after another, still corruption is rampant enough to pose a fatal threat to the Party's governance, even survival.

The top Party leadership has realized that permanent systems to regulate and supervise power - "a scientific power structure" as President Xi Jinping called it - are necessary to curb corruption.

In China's political system, decision-making and the power to execute decisions, as well as "guidance" for disciplinary supervision of power, are concentrated in Party committees at various levels.

Meanwhile, the Party secretary as the head of the committee is in turn the most powerful individual in the group. In the past hardly any system was designed that could effectively supervise this monopoly over power.

However, at the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee last year, the central leadership vowed to strengthen supervision by the disciplinary inspection commissions of Party committees at the same level. That's a meaningful action because it aims at limiting and supervising power.

In order to make the supervision effective, a lot of reforms are needed to modify the power structure and many have raised suggestions or conducted trials over the past year.

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