BEIJING — Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has stressed the imperativeness of regulating intra-Party political life and advancing supervision, calling the move “an important approach to promoting comprehensive and strict Party governance.”
Xi made the remarks in late October of 2016 when explaining two related documents at the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
Xi’s remarks and the two documents, namely the norms of political life in the Party under current conditions, and the regulation on intra-Party supervision, were publicized on Nov 2, 2016.
The norms, in 12 parts, stress consolidating ideals and beliefs, keeping to the Party’s basic line, safeguarding the authority of the CPC Central Committee, and maintaining close ties with the people, among others.
The regulation, which consists of eight chapters and 47 articles, aims to uphold the CPC’s leadership, strengthen Party building, promote the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party and maintain the Party’s status and purity.
It stressed that self-supervision should be carried out in accordance with regulations and through the principle of democratic centralism.
The two documents, one setting requirements on intra-Party life and the other making rules on supervising the requirements’ implementation, are vital to the CPC’s drive of strict Party governance, said Xie Chuntao, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
Xie described the two documents, which were formulated based on the CPC’s past experiences, as “comprehensive, precise, targeted and organized” efforts on improving the strict governance of the Party.
Time is ripe
Given new conditions and tasks, it is imperative and significant to introduce the norms and regulation, Xi said, adding the conditions are now ripe.
The two documents were introduced to supplement the layout of the CPC’s “Four Comprehensives,” a strategy to promote reform and opening up, refine the socialist modernization drive, as well as to adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.
The “Four Comprehensives” are the comprehensive building of an all-round moderately prosperous society, deepening of reform, advancement of the rule of law and strict governing of the CPC.
In the past years, the third, fourth and fifth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee studied and made arrangements for the first three “Comprehensives,” and the sixth plenary session completed the picture by zeroing in on the fourth “Comprehensive,” according to Xi.
The documents were also born out of a necessity to promote the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party, and to solve outstanding contradictions and problems within the Party, Xi said.
Political life in the Party has been good in general terms, but there are also prominent problems which remain in urgent need of addressing, Xi said.
The top CPC leader pointed out the questionable faith and loyalty of some Party members, including senior ones.
He cited a number of faults among such members, including lax discipline, detachment from the people, arbitrariness and inaction, acts of individualism, factionalism, money worshipping and violations linked to formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.
Nepotism and election fraud have endured while some Party officials sold positions of power, and bartered positions, Xi said, adding that power abuse, corruption as well as legal and disciplinary violations have been spreading.
In particular, a handful of senior Party officials, overcome by their political cravings and lust for power, have resorted to political conspiracies by working in ostensible obedience, while forming cliques to pursue selfish interests, he said.
He went on to list Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou and Ling Jihua as examples of such behaviors, citing both their economic and political misdeeds.
Advice fully heeded
The drafting of the two documents began in March. In the eight months that followed, drafters conducted research, solicited opinion and made revisions.
The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau convened several times to review the drafts.
Some retired CPC officials, non-Communist parties, leaders of the ALL-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and people with no party affiliation were asked to advise on the drafts.
It is the shared will of the entire Party and people of all ethnic groups to uphold the central and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and to establish and safeguard the core of the CPC leadership, Xi said, citing the feedbacks.
This will also help push forward the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party, enhance the Party’s creativity, cohesion and abilities to fulfill missions, and guarantee the development of the Party and state remains on the right path, according to the feedbacks.
The sixth plenary session endorsed Xi as the core of the CPC Central Committee.
New norms necessary
Xi, in particular, explained the correlation between the newly approved norms of political life within the Party under current conditions and the norms of intra-Party political life enacted in 1980.
He acknowledged the constructive role the 1980 norms had played, saying that in the period following the end of the cultural revolution, the norms had helped terminate chaos and resume order, unite the Party, shift the focus of the Party agenda, and guarantee smooth progress of reform and opening up as well as the socialist modernization drive.
Moreover, calling the 1980 norms “ground-breaking,” Xi noted that the principles and provisions featured are still relevant today, such as objectives and basic norms for intra-Party political life, a collective leadership system,opposition to arbitrary rule by any individual, upholding the Party’s centralism and unity, abiding by Party code of conduct, and promoting intra-Party democracy, among other principles.
“All these principles still must be adhered to,” Xi said.
However, some outstanding contradictions and problems the 1980 norms sought to address are no longer pressing today, whereas new ones have arisen, Xi said.
He added, the new norms are not a total replacement of the 1980 version, rather, new regulations targeting new problems and situations while adhering to major principles and provisions included in the 1980 norms.
Senior officials crucial
Xi also accounted for an emphasis on senior officials in the two documents.
Management of officials, especially high-ranking ones, is imperative to strengthening Party building, Xi said, adding managing members of the CPC Central Committee, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, is crucial.
“When this group of people are managed well and play exemplary roles for the Party, many things get a lot easier,” Xi said, asserting that regulating intra-Party political life and advancing supervision should start with them.
The regulation dedicates one chapter to supervision of the Party’s central organization.
Members of the CPC Central Committee must observe the Party’s political discipline and rules, and are obliged to voice opposition and report to the CPC Central Committee promptly if they spot misconduct that violates the Party Constitution or discipline, or compromises Party unity, the regulation stipulates.
Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee must strictly follow the “eight-point” guideline against bureaucracy and extravagance, report important personal matters to the CPC Central Committee, educate and regulate their close relatives and people who work with them, according to the regulation.
The norms require plans for senior officials to implement the norms, guiding and pushing senior officials to set examples in observing and implementing the norms.