China Moves Towards Creation of Anti-Corruption Commission

By Eva Rian, International News Writer

During next year’s annual meeting of parliament, China could see a new national supervision law passed and a commission expanding President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign established. This information became known through a report issued by the official Xinhua news agency, but prior to this release, little was known about the campaign or this new commission.

Other than emphasizing the future need for coordination at all levels of government to root out corruption, the report also provided interesting information about past doings of the campaign, such as the ousts of former Chongqing party boss Sun Zhengcai, former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, and other top officials. The reasons for these arrests mainly focused on graft, painting the outcasts as “schemers” and “plotters out to further their own careers” – a striking contrast to prior assertions that politics rather than graft was the cause of their downfall.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), currently the party’s chief anti-graft watchdog, is championing the movement, as head Zhao Leji has clearly told the commission their fight against corruption must result in a “sweeping victory” and establish an “institutionalized legal framework” to systematically combat the possibility of future corruption among officials.

Such a strong statement from Zhao is particularly curious given that Zhao has only recently taken over leadership of the CCDI from Wang Qishan, who had been widely credited with the success and vigor of the graft fight until now. According to the Guardian, analysts say Zhao is likely to take a more institutional approach.

The new group, currently stylized the “National Supervision Commission,” is set to share power and resources with the CCDI, and ultimately work alongside it. According to announcements from last year, it will also merge multiple additional anti-graft units. Furthermore, in the specific context of Xi’s anti-graft goals, it will expand the scope of the campaign to include employees at state-backed institutions who are not necessarily members of the party. The campaign itself has built up an “irreversible” momentum according to Xi’s congress address, which numbers seem to support. Since coming to power in 2012, the anti-corruption push has jailed or punished nearly 1.4 million party members. Now a focus on attacking corruption at the root is emerging – namely, creating a central leading group to improve and oversee China’s governance, which should be based in the rule of law.

Another momentous movement in Xi’s campaign concerns “shuanggui,” secretive interrogations that have been subject to much outcry by international rights groups due to allegations of torture methods such as sleep deprivation being used to obtain confessions. During these interrogations, the CCDI regularly put those accused of graft and other disciplinary violation through extrajudicial detention, isolation, and interrogation. Previously, the legal system would only come into play when the CCDI handed cases over to the police and judiciary for prosecution. However, in his recent congress address, Xi announced that the party would scrap this practice.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 7th print edition.

Contact Eva at

eva.rian@student.shu.edu

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