Improve Party Conduct, Uphold Integrity and Combat Corruption

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-13

Improve Party Conduct, Uphold Integrity and Combat Corruption* 

January 14, 2014 

We should adhere to the principle that the Party should supervise its own conduct and run itself with strict discipline, and strengthen the Party's leadership in improving Party conduct, upholding integrity, and combating corruption. We should improve our institutions to better fight against corruption. We must also redouble our efforts in political and theoretical education, reinforce stricter Party discipline, continue to remove the Four Malfeasances be severe in cracking down on corruption, and respond to the demands of the people. 

In 2013 the CPC Central Committee made it a priority to improve Party conduct, uphold integrity and combat corruption. In compliance with the decisions and plans made by the Central Committee, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has fought firmly against corruption by strengthening Party discipline, especially by reinforcing political discipline, enhancing oversight of enforcement, and improving investigation into and prosecution of corruption cases. Through the concerted efforts of Party committees, governments, discipline inspection commissions and supervisory agencies at all levels, progress has been made in improving Party conduct, ensuring clean government and combating corruption. The campaign started with the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, emphasizing the exemplary role of the Political Bureau. We started to eliminate malpractices and promote integrity by solving pressing problems, and we have made remarkable progress. In resolutely dealing with cases of corruption, we have caught "tigers" as well as "flies," and thus maintained a tough stance against corrupt officials. We have promoted procedure-based exercise of power, strengthened oversight and inspection, and opened up the channels for public complaint and oversight. All of this has been well received by both officials and the general public. 

While affirming our achievements, we must also be aware that there are still breeding grounds for corruption. The fight against corruption remains a serious and complex challenge. Instances of misconduct and corruption have had an adverse effect on society, and they must be immediately addressed. The whole Party must realize that the fight against corruption is a long-term, complex, and arduous task. We must be firm in our determination and demonstrate great courage in carrying this campaign through to the end. Just as we would take a heavy dose of medicine to treat a serious disease, we must apply stringent laws to address disorder. 

Establishing a sound system of combating corruption through both punishment and prevention represents our national strategy. In 2013 the Central Committee issued the "Work Plan for Establishing a Complete System of Combating Corruption Through Both Punishment and Prevention (2013-2017)." This is the document that guides our strategy. Party committees at all levels must thoroughly implement the demands of this document, which is an important political task throughout our efforts to promote reform, development and stability. 

In terms of maintaining the intimate relationship between the Party and the people, we cannot expect to treat this as a one-off campaign and then rest on our laurels. It must be a continuous and relentless effort. Fortunately, we have already got off to a good start, and we can take it forward from here in steps. If we want to develop a healthy Party culture we must first and foremost have firm beliefs, and bear in mind the Party's nature, fundamental goals, and requirements of officials. As officials under the leadership of the Party, we must separate public and personal interests and put public interests above personal interests. Only if we always act for the public good can we be honest and upright in our conduct, and remain clean and prudent in exercising power. Problems of misconduct often involve the handling of private and public interests, and misuse of public funds and state power. Public funds must be used for public purposes, and not one cent should be spent on seeking personal gain. State power must be exercised for the people, and it must never be used as a tool for private benefit. Officials must always bear this in mind, make a clear distinction between public and private interests, devote themselves to serving the public, and practice strict self-discipline. 

To fight resolutely against corruption, and prevent the Party from succumbing to decay and degeneration through overlong access to power are two major political tasks that we must work hard on. We must remain resolute in wiping out corruption and show zero tolerance for it. Once a corrupt official is identified, we must conduct a thorough investigation. The important thing is to take measures to prevent and curb corruption in its earliest stage of development, addressing problems of corruption as soon as they are found, in the same way as we treat a disease promptly when it is diagnosed. Any delay in dealing with corruption may lead to more serious problems, and must not be allowed. Every official must bear the following in mind: "Do not try dipping into the public coffers because a thieving hand is bound to get caught,"1 and "Contemplating good and pursuing it, as if you could not reach it; contemplating evil, and shrinking from it, as you would from thrusting a hand into boiling water."2 Officials must be in awe of Party discipline and state laws rather than trust to luck in the hope of escaping punishment for corruption. 

We must improve Party conduct, uphold integrity and combat corruption through further reform. We must reform the Party's discipline inspection system, improve the system and mechanisms for combating corruption, double the effectiveness of oversight over and restraint on power, and ensure the independence and authority of discipline inspection commissions at all levels. We must improve checks on power, distribute power in a scientific way, and form an effective framework for the exercise of power. We must strengthen oversight with focus on officials, giving particular attention to those first in command and how they exercise their power, and intensify mutual oversight within leadership. We must increase transparency, publicize the procedures through which power is exercised in accordance with the law, and let the people oversee the exercise of power, so as to ensure that it is properly used. In combating corruption, Party committees should be duty-bound, while discipline inspection commissions should take on supervisory responsibilities. They all should strengthen the accountability system to prevent our institutions from becoming a façade. All Party committees, Party discipline inspection commissions, and other relevant departments must fulfill their responsibilities. In adopting reform measures, we should keep in mind the task of combating corruption through both punishment and prevention, synchronize reform measures with the fight against corruption at all stages from preparation to deployment and implementation, so as to close all possible loopholes and ensure the smooth progress of reform. 

Our compliance with Party discipline should be unconditional. We must turn our words into actions, and make sure that Party discipline is fully implemented and any violation is investigated. We must not allow our findings to become a dusty document resting on the top shelf. Party organizations at all levels must increase awareness of the need to abide by the Party's political principles, and discipline inspection commissions at all levels must see their priority as safeguarding the Party's political discipline so as to ensure that all Party members align themselves with the CPC Central Committee ideologically and politically as well as in their actions. 

The Party draws its strength from its organization and is constantly invigorated by it. In order to reinforce the Party's organizational discipline, we must enhance our Party spirit, which is a matter of taking a firm stance. We Communists, especially leading officials, must be broad-minded and aim high. We must always bear in mind the interests of the Party, the people and the country, conscientiously uphold the Party spirit, and stick to our principles. All Party members must always remember that we are first and foremost CPC members and our primary duties are to work for it, remain loyal to it, and at all times identify ourselves with it. All Party members must always remember that we are part of the organization, and never neglect our duties and responsibilities to the organization. We must trust, rely on, and obey the organization, readily accept organizational arrangements and disciplinary restraints, and safeguard the unity of the Party. 

Democratic centralism and the system of intra-Party organization activities are important institutions of the Party and must be fully implemented. Leading bodies and officials at all levels must rigorously follow the reporting system. We must reinforce organizational management of Party members, and guide all Party members and officials in developing a correct attitude towards the Party organization, matching our deeds to our words, speaking the truth, and embracing the Party organization's education and oversight. Party organizations at all levels must fully observe organizational discipline, make no exceptions in this regard, and have the moral fiber to denounce and rectify violations of Party discipline to preserve it as a high-tension line of deterrence. 

Policies and plans made by the Party Central Committee should be implemented not only by the Party's organization departments, publicity departments, United Front departments, and judicial, procuratorial and public security bodies, but also by Party organizations in people's congresses, governments, CPPCC committees, people's courts, and people's procuratorates at all levels, as well as by Party organizations in public institutions and people's organizations. All such Party organizations must fulfill their duty in this regard. Party organizations in general must be accountable to Party committees, report their work to Party committees, and perform their work to the full extent of their functions and duties under the leadership of Party committees. 

* Main points of the speech at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.


1  Chen Yi: "Keep Your Hands in Your Own Pockets," Selected Poems of Chen Yi, Chinese ed., People's Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 1977, p.155. Chen Yi (1901-1972) was a Chinese proletarian revolutionary, military commander and political leader, one of the founders and leaders of the People's Liberation Army and one of the marshals of the People's Republic of China. 

2  The Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu).

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