Reinforce the Party's Internal Scrutiny*
October 27, 2016
The "Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Scrutiny" passed at this plenary session represent a top-level design to strengthen internal Party scrutiny in the current era. These are basic rules regulating current and future internal Party scrutiny, and we must lay stress on their implementation, so that they serve as a restraint on the conduct of all Party organizations, Party members and officials.
In the Yan'an days, Chairman Mao Zedong put forward the idea of breaking the historical cycle of gaining political power only to lose it because of corruption that had often happened in Chinese history. It was thus made clear at the Eighth CPC National Congress in 1956 that all Party members and organizations were subject to top-down and bottom-up scrutiny. Today we are improving our Party's internal scrutiny system in a bid to make it more effective and efficient for preventing and correcting misconduct and enhance our ability to cleanse, improve and upgrade our Party.
There is a long-standing and prominent problem in the Party – people are reluctant to engage in scrutiny, or they dare not, or they resist it. They worry about suffering from retaliation if they criticize their superiors, about damaging friendships with persons of equivalent rank if they criticize them, about losing support if they criticize their subordinates. In many places and government departments, internal Party scrutiny exists only in theory. The absence of such scrutiny will inevitably lead to the weakening of Party leadership, a failure to develop the Party, and inefficiency in self-governance of the Party. All Party members should be fully aware that internal scrutiny is the source of health and life for the Party. We should constantly enhance our will to tackle deep-rooted problems, so that actively carrying out scrutiny and being receptive to such scrutiny become standard conduct throughout the Party.
Internal Party scrutiny is a task for our Party. Party committees or Party leadership groups are responsible for scrutiny, and their secretaries are first in the line of responsibility. Members of Party standing committees or Party leadership groups and Party committee members conduct scrutiny within the defined scope of their duties. Party officials at various levels must understand and shoulder their responsibilities, perform their duties and be bold to carry out scrutiny. Done properly, internal Party scrutiny will be carried out in the spirit of learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones, and curing the sickness to save the patient. We should communicate with and talk to people as warnings, conduct criticism and self-criticism, so as to identify problems and handle them promptly.
An analysis of typical cases of corruption dealt with over recent years shows a common process. People first commit small acts of misconduct, and these gradually become more serious. Their acts graduate from being a problem in terms of number to being a problem in terms of degree. If such people had been pulled up by their organizations at the outset, it would have been possible, certainly in some cases, to halt their descent down the path of wrongdoing before it was too late. Party organizations should communicate more with Party members, learning about how they think, live, and work. They should pay more attention to feedback from officials and the people, and prevent minor wrongdoings from growing into major ones. Internal Party scrutiny should be carried out everywhere and in everything, to urge Party members and officials to act as who they are and play their proper part. All Party members should make a habit of reminding each other and of correcting mistakes, in order to make common progress.
The commissions for discipline inspection at various levels specialize in internal Party scrutiny and accountability. They should put political discipline and political rules first, strengthen scrutiny of compliance with the Party Constitution and Party discipline and rules, and check the implementation of the Party's guidelines, principles, policies and resolutions within their prescribed jurisdiction. They should conduct discipline inspection work under the dual leadership system, strengthen the leadership of commissions for discipline inspection over those at lower levels, enhance the leadership over the dispatched inspection groups, and ensure that all obligations related to Party self-governance are fulfilled by both the Party organization under scrutiny and the inspection group.
As a vehicle and a means for Party committees or Party leadership groups to fulfill their scrutiny responsibilities in their relevant fields, Party organs should carry out internal Party scrutiny within their scope of responsibilities. They should strengthen both the internal scrutiny of their own departments and the routine scrutiny of their sector. They should investigate and handle problems promptly instead of always forwarding them to Party committees and commissions for discipline inspection. A powerful mesh of internal Party scrutiny will be woven as long as we join hands at all levels and across all areas.
Democratic scrutiny by Party members is a basic approach within the Party. It is not only the right but also the unshirkable duty and obligation of Party members to our Party. Party organizations and members at the grassroots level should strengthen supervision over Party officials, and urge them to participate in regular meetings of Party branches or groups and perform their obligations as Party members. At Party meetings, Party members should be bold in exposing violations of the Party Constitution and discipline, in criticizing, with evidence, any Party organization or member, and in reporting any organization or member to the Party on issues of misconduct that contravene the law and Party discipline. Party organizations at all levels should guarantee Party members' right to be informed and to scrutinize; encourage and support them to play a positive role in internal Party scrutiny; and strictly investigate and handle cases of interfering with scrutiny and retaliation against anyone involved in scrutiny.
Internal Party scrutiny is the first and most fundamental means among all forms of scrutiny for the Party and the country. But it cannot work as a joint force without being integrated with scrutiny by state agencies, other political parties, the public, and public opinion. Officials should invite scrutiny from all sides, showing both breadth of mind and confidence. We should support the CPPCC's democratic scrutiny in accordance with its charter, pay careful attention to the comments, criticisms and suggestions from other political parties and prominent individuals without any party affiliation, and encourage them to speak the truth and give suggestions. We should consciously accept scrutiny from the people, provide smooth reporting channels for letters and calls, deal seriously with typical violations of discipline, and promptly respond to the concerns of the people. We should strengthen scrutiny through public opinion, and use exposure and analysis of typical cases as a warning, so as to create a positive atmosphere of public opinion in favor of ensuring comprehensive self-governance of the Party.
* Part of the speech at the second full assembly of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)