The size and reach of the Chinese Communist Party’s discipline and inspection organs at various levels has increased during the decade of Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s leadership. At the top is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection . Not to be ignored are its provincial/muncipal and city/county counterparts — the agencies at the Center in Beijing are reflected downwards in the hierarchy by similar organizations at lower levels under the sometimes nominal supervision of their functions by the agency at the next higher level but dependent on the local leaders for budget support. This dual leadership system 双领导制度, especially in the absence of federal institutions that have branch offices around the country, has given local Party and government officials great flexibility in dealing with local problems.
The Center may know of problems but keep quiet until it is in a position to do something about it lest it appear weak. Local officials may try to keep the Center from knowing about their local problems although the Center has many channels and networks of personal contacts to learn about what is doing on. An inspector from the Party Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection told me many years ago that he would go into a locality undercover in the guise of a wealthy real estate developer in order to sniff out corruption at high levels in various provinces. In the late 90s a provincial environmental official told me “We don’t have much contact with the environmental officials in Beijing. They come around once a year to give us a report card.”
Some environmentalist even said that corruption is the worst pollution and at the root of some of China’s environmental problems. Corruption in government is a problem everywhere. It seems that where a dictatorship (even one of the proletariat) represses free speech and media freedoms and where the government cannot be held accountable by fear of being replaced in the next election, corruption becomes an even more serious problem.
When Xi Jinping came in, he increased the size of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and provided for the Commission to set up permanent branch officies in some provinces. This served the purposes both of cracking down on chronic corruption and on consolidating his personal political power: both are true, you can assess the relative weight of each prupose based on your own cynicism. I remember the mid 90s best-selling banned novel The Wrath of God 天怒
“But we can’t not have an anti-corruption campaign. Not only will the masses not allow us not to do anti-corruption work but the State itself could fall as corruption deepens. Therefore, if we don’t do anti-corruption work, the State will collapse. If we fight corruption, the Party will fall; if we do not fight corruption the State will fall. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place; we can only fight corruption for a time and then let up for a while. This is the only way to save both the Party and the State. We try to survive and develop within the cracks of a policy that is constantly wavering between the left and the right.”天怒 The Wrath of God see 1997: PRC Anti-Corruption Novel “The Wrath of God”: Insights into Official Corruption online in Chinese
The Wikipedia article on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) gives some detail on changes under Xi Jinping:
The CCDI underwent another round of reforms under general secretary Xi Jinping, elected in the immediate aftermath of the 18th National Congress in 2012. Xi and CCDI Secretary Wang Qishan further institutionalised CCDI independence from the day-to-day operations of the party, improving its ability to function as a bona fide control body. At the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Central Committee in the fall of 2013, the party declared that it would “strengthen the ‘dual leadership’ system [over the CCDI] by making it more defined, procedure-oriented, and institutionalised.” In practice, this signalled the intention of the leadership that CDIs across the country operate separate from the party apparatus, with local CDIs responsible to higher-level CDIs in nearly all substantive respects. Beginning in 2014, CDI chiefs across the country began to shed concurrent executive positions which could create conflicts of interest (for example, a CDI chief also serving as a vice-mayor or department head); CDI personnel also began removing themselves from “leading groups” and similar policy-coordination and consultation groups. These changes were intended to free CDI resources to “solely focus on the work of enforcing discipline”.From Wikipedia article “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection”
Creating a good political ecology is a fundamental and regular work of the political construction of the Party. If the political ecology is good, the party will be full of righteousness; if the political ecology is bad, the party will be evil. Discipline inspection and supervision organs are party supervision organs. Accurate analysis, comprehensive understanding of a region, department and unit — both the “trees” and the “forest”, timely detection of problems and promoting rectification, and promote the political ecology research normalization, institutionalization, to promote comprehensive From strict governance of the party to deepen the development, to create a clean political ecology and development environment is of great significance.
Seeking to strengthen the analysis of and judgments about political ecology
The Guizhou Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision insists on taking the important remarks of General Secretary Xi Jinping on the construction of political ecology as guidance, insists on studying, researching, working and summarizing, takes improving the institutional mechanisms as a breakthrough point in our efforts, establishes the political ecology analysis and research mechanism, and promotes the systematization and normalization of political ecology analysis and research through the integrated coordination of system construction, information sharing and collaboration.
- Build a unified party committee to lead the analysis and research mechanism. Actively assist and promote the work of the Provincial Party Committee toward issuing “Opinion on Guiding the Establishment of the Party’s Political Ecology Analysis and Judgment Mechanism“, build up a unified leadership of the provincial party committee, ensure the comprehensive coordination of [work at the provincial level] : the provincial Discipline Inspection organs, the Provincial Party Committee Office, the Organization Department, the Propaganda Department, the United Front Work department, the Political and Legal Affairs committee, the Inspection Office and other joint participation of the provincial party political ecology analysis and judgment mechanism.
- Provide political ecology analysis and judgments to the provincial party committee in order to fulfill the main responsibility of strict governance of the party system. Improving the analysis and judgment index system, on the basis of the “four consciousness”, “key minority”, responsibility implementation, selection, corruption, cadre style, discipline implementation, political culture, and mass evaluation of the judgment indicators.
- Thoroughly combine these with the Party’s political ecology in the work sector is analyzed and judged on the basis of the indicators of responsibility implementation, selection, corruption, cadres’ style, discipline implementation, political culture, and public evaluation, with the situation found by the functional supervision of the members of the mechanism and the dynamic adjustment of the annual key tasks, so that the conclusions of the analysis and judging are more comprehensive, scientific and specific.
Making full use of synergy and linkages should be your way of conducting analysis and research. As the political ecology analysis and research mechanism of the provincial party committee, the provincial discipline inspection committee gives full play to its comprehensive and coordinating role, and internally strengthens the linkages among “office, organization and locale” to form the research and judgment opinions under the vision of the party style and promoting clean government and the anti-corruption struggle. Externally promotes the synergistic linkage with the members of the analysis and judgment mechanism, and integrates all aspects of the situation in formulating final research and judgment opinion. At the same time, make in-depth analysis of the region, industry, field involved, to find the impact upon the political ecology of the local problems and industry problems and urge the relevant units to strengthen their intensity of their guidance so that analysis and judgment can be carried forth and be grounded upon the facts at all levels, both superior and subordinate.
Make “daily + comprehensive” analysis and research the norm. The main goal is to provide a comprehensive and comprehensive analysis of the characteristics in changes in the political ecology, integrating this into your priority tasks. Each year conduct renewed level by level evaluations of the political ecology of the party committee (party organizations) . Examine matters over again, promote further changes, to make things work even better. At the same time, on the basis formed by accomplishing these changes, make the discipline and inspection oversight and the problems turned up by traveling inspection and investigation teams an important reference point for the next round of inspections and judgements so as to create a “virtuous cycle” of research and judgment -> reorganization and reform -> improved work.
Promote an effective linkage between analysis and research and the “Four Supervisions”.
[Translator’s Note: the Four Supervisions refer to various Party regulations on supervision of party cadres that fall into four main areas: (see also Google Translate machine translation for more detail)
- Regulations that Party cadres fully implement the decisions of the Communist Party including failures in orversight and improprieties in the selection of personnel for Party posts;
- Regulations for selection of people for Party and government leadership positions;
- Regulations on reporting by local party committees to the next higher level party committee on their selection of cadres and their acceptance of democratic evaluation of these cadres by local people;
- Regulations that city and county party secretaries must carry out the selection of cadres according to regulations and that a report evaluating their performace of this responsibility be during their term of office be made when they leave office. End note]
After making the problems that emerge after political ecology analysis and research is done, bring those problems within the scope of supervision and inspection work down by the discipline inspection and supervision organs in order to strengthen special responsibility supervision; to bring the issue of inspecting the implemention of rectifications with the scope of the work of travelling inspection teams, so that on the basis of implementation of rectifications, so that new problems discovered in the course of inspection and oversight work or in the work of the traveling inspection teams can become reference points for the next round of analysis and research so as to to promote the formation of “research – rectification – upgrading” virtuous circle.
The practice of political ecology analysis and research has achieved good results. From perspective of analysis and research itself, the party committee leadership gets a preliminary idea about the state of the Party’s implementation of political ecology analysis and research, to fully implement mechanisms for fulliy integrting the results of the analysis and research work into the work organs of the Party. In this way, gains are made through synergy of joint efforts to promote, not only a comprehensive review of the study of the political ecology of the party organization, but also to focus on the most important annual tasks. Through all this process the conclusions are made more comprehensive and objective. From the results of the study and judgment, analysis and judgment focus on the implementation of the main responsibility of the party committee, the secretaries of the party committee at all levels to seriously study and make appropriate dispositions, the leaders in charge take responsibility, pay more attention to feedback to supervise the actual effect of rectification, through layers upon layer political responsibility for the management of the party is implmented. Through internal and external coordination, up and down the linkage of the political ecology comprehensive examination, the political ecology analysis and research points out problematic localities and problematic fields of endeavor that need to be addressed and effectively solve some longstanding and high profile issues.
Viewed overall, the province’s political ecology analysis and research work is still in the exploratory stage. The analysis and research mechanism synergy to be further stimulated, analysis and research quality to be further improved. For example, some local analysis and research mechanism office initiatives and other work on communication and coordination have still not been set up. Some member units do not cooperate closely enough, some still participate only passively. Another example is that some units are not good at seeing their own responsibility shortcomings that are at the root of political issues, working style issues and business issues. They are not good at anticipating potential risks and hidden dangers and at picking out tendentious issues in a timely manner. The political nature of analysis and research, foresight needs to be enhanced. In this regard, we must continue to summarize the results of practice based on, around the political ecology analysis and research systematization and normalization to promote the goal, increase the top-down promotion of the local party committee level, urge the functional departments, units of the party group to take the initiative to carry out internal analysis and research, and actively expand the effective way to extend to the grassroots.
Grasp the practical requirements in the new situation of political ecology analysis and research
Stressing politics is a distinctive feature of our party as a Marxist political party. Our Party focuses political construction in the Party’s fine tradition and unique advantages. Comprehensive strict governance of the Party comes first from this political point of view. Discipline inspection and supervision organs must continue to deepen the understanding of the status and role of the party, bearing in mind that the Party is both a political guarantee and political leadership, around the Party’s creativity, cohesion, and fighting strength are fully developed, its political leadership and security role is fully highlighted. In the new situation we are carrying out political ecology analysis and research.
Focus on the leading team, especially the “top leaders” this “key handful of people”. To carry out the political ecology analysis and research, it is impossible to cover all aspects, we must seize the leading team and “the leader” as the key, the performance of duties and powers, take charge as, clean self-discipline situation, as a weathervane, barometer, to take a glance and see the whole picture. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed at the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, “Party committees (party groups) at all levels are to fulfill the main responsibility for party supervision, highlighting the strengthening of the ‘key handful of people’, especially the supervision of ‘top leader’ and of the leading team.” This provides an important reference and basis for party committees (party groups) at all levels to carry out analysis and research of the political ecology, indicating that the focus should be “whom to do analysis and research on” as the primary issue.
The main responsibility of party supervision organs is to promote a good political ecology as a part of political life. The current state of the political development environment is a centralized reflection of the political ecology analysis and diagnosis, must stand in the party committee (party group) to perform the main responsibility of party supervision, a comprehensive “physical examination” of the political ecological situation, to ensure that the conclusions of the study authoritative and accurate. “Opinions on Strengthening the Supervision of the Top Leader” and the leading team “clearly pointed out that the party committee (party group) at all levels should regularly analyze the political ecological situation in the region, the department and the unit, often get advice from the discipline inspection organs, the party’s work organs related reports, and seriously find the leading team itself outstanding problems, take strong measures to solve it. This indicates that the party committee (party group) in the political ecology analysis and research is the main responsibility, a clear “whom to analyze and research” problem.
The company’s main goal is to promote the integration of special supervision and various types of supervision, as one force. [Google Translate machine translated text:]The Regulations on the Work of the Discipline Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of China 《中国共产党纪律检查委员会工作条例》stipulate that: “Discipline Inspection Commissions at all levels of the Party shall assist the Party committees at the same level in promoting strict governance of the Party.” This includes, “assisting the Party committees at the same level to strengthen the analysis of the political ecology, Party style and integrity of their own units in the region.” The Regulations on Supervision within the Communist Party of China stipulate that “Party working departments shall strictly implement the supervision systems and strengthen the supervision within the Party within their areas of responsibility.” These provisions provide a practical path for the analysis and research of political ecology and are an important way to address the question of “how to do research”. To carry out the analysis and evaluation of the political ecology, we must adhere to the system thinking, coordinate and promote the discipline inspection and supervision organs and the party’s work organs functional supervision through the integration, as one force, to achieve full advantages of the integration of forces.
In-depth and detailed analysis and research of the political ecology
A political ecology is not a static reflection of a moment, but a comprehensive, holistic, complex dynamic system, normalized, high-quality promotion of political ecology analysis and research, in order to strengthen the unified leadership, up and down synergy, the combination of points, in a system to promote efforts to make the political ecology analysis and research connotation and role in the practical exploration continue to be enriched and developed, and really become a powerful grip of strict control of the Party.
Focus on the chain of responsibility in order to stimulate research and judgment. Discipline inspection and supervision organs should take the initiative to improve its reports to the party committee, both to improve the analysis and research as a process, but also to report the results of the analysis and research, to request reports on major matters and other ways to promote the party committee at the same level, to urge the party organizations at the lower level to strengthen the overall leadership of the analysis and research work and its effective implementation. We need to enhance the ideological understanding and awareness of responsibility of the members of the analysis and research mechanism, so that they are deeply aware that the analysis and research work is not only to assist the party committee to perform the main responsibility of the overall strict control of the party. Furthermore, at the party committee level, we need to promote the solution of problems in their own areas of responsibility. This is a powerful weapon to solve problems that arise in daily work. Therefore they must seriously perform well their own responsibilities to supervise within the scope of duties, to perform the analysis and research work responsibilities. To do a solid job of analysis and research work, rally around the implementation of the Party Central Committee’s decisions and deployments of its main line, through supervision and inspection, review and investigate find problems, to look beneath the surface to find the responsible persons behind problems, working style deficiencies and corruption. We need to accurately portray the political ecology of the object of our study. Thus the conclusions of analysis and research better serve the Party Committee’s decisions and can in reality become a sharp tool for managing the Party.
The main focus of these studies should be on individual characteristics. The content of the study and judgment should be new, focusing closely on the Party Central Committee on the overall strict governance of the Party, the Party style and promoting clean government and the anti-corruption struggle, to make new assertions of principles, deploy new requirements, and focus on understanding the new stage of development, implementing the new development concept, building a new development pattern, promoting high-quality development and other major strategies, focusing on deepening reform and opening up, promoting common prosperity, promoting scientific and technological self-sufficiency and self-improvement, preventing and resolving major risks and other key tasks. This will prepare for the 20th Party Congress to carry out the main line of political ecology analysis and research, consciously benchmarking, timely calibration of deviations, adjusting the focus of analysis and research due to the time and situation, highlighting the characteristics of the times. The method of research and evaluation should address the actual situation, the analysis and evaluation should support daily supervision, focus on the internal connection between the problem and the evolution process to make a systematic, rational, objective, scientific analysis, from tendentious problems to capture the potential risks and hidden dangers, focus on the leading team, especially “the top leader” this key, focus on responsibility, style and integrity situation Conduct an in-depth review. The conclusion of the study should be accurate, to strengthen the local, unit, industry, field of the outstanding problems of the combing summary, combined with the development of different regions, history, combined with the characteristics of the responsibilities of the industry, risk elements, so that the coarse to extract the essence, from this to the other, from the table to the inside, through the analysis of the study to make the political ecological profile of greater clarity, stronger recognition.
Promote overall coordination — the point to surface combination 点面协同 — to promote, expand the pattern of research and judgment. Point to surface combination is the basis to promote on the one hand the party group (party committee) directly under the unit to explore the construction of the unit analysis and research mechanism as well as to support its own analysis and research, timely provision of supervision and inspection, review and investigation of the problems found, to provide the basis for its analysis and research. on the other hand, based on its analysis and research results, combined with the daily supervision. On the other hand, based on its analysis and research results, combined with the situation in the daily supervision of the situation to analyze and research again, forming a comprehensive and accurate portrait of the political ecology. Coordinate the “line”, promote the administrative departments to strengthen the guidance of subordinate units and departments, coordinate the analysis and research of the political ecology in the business field, focus on the key tasks of analysis and research, the implementation of list-based, project-based, standardized management, and continue to build and improve the rectification and improvement work of the closed-loop management mechanism, the superior-subordinate linkages to find the impact of the political ecology of shortcomings in daily business and in the field. Do a good job of “surface” summary, sorting out the results of the analysis and analysis of various industries and fields, focusing on political discipline and political rules, focusing on political stance, political responsibility, and political commitment. Always make the leadership of the relevant units the focus of your study, pay attention to outstanding issues of great concern to the public, as well as the implementation of political construction, the implementation of democratic centralism. Leaders must grasp their dual responsibility — their responsibility for both their specific office task and for promoting Party working style and clean government “一岗双责” , to constrain and exercise oversight over the exercise of power, recognizing the work of the cadres and the masses and other areas, so that they will able to master the political ecology constellations of points, lines and surfaces and so accurately and fully reflect the entire big picture of the political ecology.
(Zhang Ping, Deputy Secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission, deputy director of the Supervisory Commission)