Xi calls for CPC self-reform at top discipline organ plenum

BEIJING: Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Monday called for advancing the Party’s self-reform and winning the tough and protracted battle against corruption.

Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while addressing the third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

After persistent anti-corruption efforts over the past 10 years of the new era, an overwhelming victory has been achieved in the fight against corruption, with the gains fully consolidated, Xi said.

“But the situation remains grave and complex,” Xi noted.

“We should be fully aware of new development in the fight against corruption and the breeding grounds and conditions for corruption,” Xi said, urging more efforts to win the tough and protracted battle.

Analysts noted that 2023 was the first year of implementing the guiding principle established at the 20th National Congress of the CPC.

The critical meeting held in October 2022 urged central and local commissions for discipline inspection to work to improve the systems and regulations for the Party’s self-reform and called for efforts to develop a team of discipline inspection and supervision personnel who are loyal, upright, and responsible, according to media reports then.

It is of utmost importance to severely punish corruption involving collusion between government officials and business people, and to resolutely crack down on power-based profit-seeking behaviors. It is crucial to prevent various interest groups and powerful entities from infiltrating the political sphere, the plenary session emphasized, and efforts should be made to deepen the rectification of corruption in areas with concentrated power, intensive capital, and abundant resources, such as finance, State-owned enterprises, energy, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure projects.

In 2023, unprecedented efforts were made and notable progress was achieved, analysts said, citing as an example the fact that neither high-ranking “tigers” nor lower-level “flies” can escape punishment.

In the first nine months of 2023, Chinese discipline inspection and supervision agencies filed around 470,000 cases, Xinhua reported Friday. Among them, 65,000 were township- and section-level officials, 46,000 incumbent or former Party chiefs of villages or heads of villagers’ committees.

Of the 405,000 individuals who were punished for misconduct, 54,000 were township- and section-level officials.

In 2023, the CCDI and the National Commission of Supervision (NCS) announced investigations into a total of 45 officials registered at and supervised by the CPC Central Committee, the largest number in the past decade.

Bad apples are being cleared out of the discipline inspection and supervision team, as in the first half of last year, 18,700 cases of “inside problems” were handled nationwide, with 1,647 officials punished and 73 transferred to judiciary authorities.

Adhering to principles of zero-tolerance, continued high pressure and unremitting self-reform, anti-graft drives made achievements in several key sectors such as finance, sports, healthcare, and State-owned enterprises, Zhang Xixian, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times on Monday.

Typical cases included the fall of Chinese Football Association (CFA) president Chen Xuyuan among other CFA officials, the 13-year sentence for Hu Wenming, former chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Company Limited, for bribery and abuse of power, and the probe into Zhang Hongli, former vice president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, over suspected severe violations of Party discipline and laws.

Zhang Xixian also emphasized the enhanced anti-corruption efforts from a fundamental perspective, through “improving the systems and regulations for the Party’s self-reform,” as described by the report to the 20th CPC National Congress.

The revised Regulations on CPC Disciplinary Action was unveiled on December 27. This was a timely modification after the 20th CPC National Congress and a tangible effort to translate the Party Constitution into actionable disciplinary regulations, Xinhua reported.

The revision made up-to-date adjustments to stipulation of discipline violations and introduced new provisions to tackle pointless formalities and bureaucratism.

Serving as a fundamental framework to govern Party organizations and their members, these regulations have great significance in making sure all Party members closely follow the CPC Central Committee in terms of political stance, orientation, principles, and path, according to Xinhua.

Analysts also mentioned the normalized routine disciplinary inspection, cross-inspection arrangement and coordination of different inspection organs, which constitute a more comprehensive mechanism to ensure effective, high-quality discipline work.

There have been heated online discussions of the new anti-corruption documentary “Continued Efforts, Deepening Progress,” which was aired in the first weekend of 2024 on China Central Television (CCTV) during prime time. Anti-graft efforts in the field of soccer was included in the series.

Such documentaries can usually make a splash on social media, which shows that the public cares about and supports the anti-corruption efforts. Yang Xuedong, a professor from the department of political science at Tsinghua University told the Global Times that anti-graft work is not only about government officials, but also related to various sectors concerning people’s everyday lives.

Anti-corruption is a long-term and arduous task and the Party is making ceaseless efforts to practice self-revolution and improve self-governance, so as to continue on the great journey of leading the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Yang said.

For anti-corruption work in the future, the CPC top leadership made clear at a December meeting that efforts should be made to tighten political oversight, advance the fight against corruption, deal a heavy blow to pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, make oversight more effective, and develop a team of discipline inspection and supervision personnel who are high-caliber and professional.

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