Revised Party rules target misbehavior

Updated: 2015-10-13 06:51

By Zhang Yi(China Daily)

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Documents set out requirements that are stricter than the law

China's three-year-long anti-graft campaign has produced an important institutional change in the internal management of the ruling Communist Party of China, according to its top leaders.

On Monday, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee announced a revision to the Code of Ethics for Party Cadres and to the Disciplinary Ordinances. The code and ordinances are known as the "two major inner-Party codes".

The new rules governing behavior were announced along with a Politburo decision to hold a CPC Central Committee plenary session in late October to chart the country's socioeconomic development in the next five years.

The revised code of ethics will enforce the adherence to principles put forward in the CPC's political program. The new ordinances list more clearly than ever a list of "don'ts" for Party members, according to a statement issued after the Politburo meeting.

Political observers said both documents set out requirements that are stricter than the law for all Party members-especially those in official positions-reflecting remarks made recently by Wang Qishan, the top official in charge of the day-to-day progress of the anti-corruption campaign.

Xu Yaotong, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that as the law applies to all citizens, whether or not they are Party members, it doesn't contain ethical requirements.

The Party rules set out requirements for the ethical behavior of all members, "so the inner-Party rules must be higher in ethical standards and stricter in reinforcement", Xu said.

"For Party members who breach the new rules, even though they haven't broken the law, their political careers will be at stake," Xu, a political scientist, added.

Full details of both documents have yet to be published, but the Politburo statement said Party members have been asked to earnestly implement the two sets of behavioral rules.

CPC organizations at all levels will shoulder their responsibility in improving Party governance under the new regulations.

Party leaders and officials at all levels have been told to ensure that their behavior conforms to the new rules and to act as role models in performing their duties.

The Politburo statement underscored the role of anti-graft authorities nationwide, entrusting them with the responsibility of supervising the implementation of the new rules.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in late 2012, the main focus has been on leading the anti-graft campaign that has targeted government offices nationwide.

New requirements have been laid down to regulate the performance and behavior of officials and Party members, most noticeably the "eight-point rules" aimed at restricting bureaucracy, reducing red tape and formalities, and banning the lavish use of public funds.

Before the latest changes, the Code of Ethics for CPC cadres introduced in 2010 contained 52 clauses forbidding Party officials from taking bribes or accepting gifts, misusing their power to benefit their spouses, children or others in promotion, stock trading or developing businesses.

Party leaders are not allowed to engage in activities for profit, such as setting up enterprises, registering companies outside the Chinese mainland, owning stocks or bonds of non-listed companies, or taking part-time jobs in enterprises or social organizations.

A number of "tigers"-high-ranking officials-and thousands of "flies"-officials at lower levels-have been disciplined in the past three years.

Eighty "tigers" have been punished by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection since late 2012. More than 20 officials at or above ministerial level have been brought down on corruption charges this year. The figure does not include top military leaders.

More than 19,000 officials have been reprimanded for violating the eight-point austerity rules in the first six months of this year, bringing the number of those punished since late 2012 to more than 120,000.

Violations included using official vehicles for personal errands, providing illegal subsidies and holding extravagant receptions, weddings and funerals.