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Supervising the supervisors

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-08 07:52

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, approved extending a pilot corruption supervision program nationwide as part of the vow to "put the supervisory power in the cage of institutions".

It means that by early 2018, supervisory commissions will be set up by the people's congress at provincial, city and county levels across the country to ensure that all public servants exercising public power are subject to supervision. Such a program has already been piloted in Shanxi and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Beijing, since early this year.

According to the program, the relevant functions of administrative supervisory organs and anti-graft agencies will be integrated into the supervisory commissions, which, being directly responsible to same-level people's congresses, are endowed with supervision, investigation and other powers.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the country's top disciplinary watchdog has launched an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign nationwide. However, how rigorous and effective supervision can be exercised over the anti-graft personnel themselves had also become a conspicuous issue. Currently, supervision over discipline officials is mainly from within the discipline inspection system itself, while supervision from other parts of society remains inefficient, lags behind or is even absent. This has resulted in the scenario that "even the sharpest sword cannot cut its own handle", as experts have cautioned.

As General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping pointed out, no one is privileged to have power beyond the law. This explains the authorities' efforts to extend the corruption supervision pilot program as a step to impose institutional restraints over those with anti-corruption power.

The establishment of supervisory commissions nationwide, which will help resolve the long-thorny problem of "who supervises the supervisor", marks China's first and also necessary step toward bringing its power onto a track of institutionalized use and putting it in a cage.

-Southern Metropolis Daily

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