New characteristics of the socialist campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government
Constraint and oversight of power are the core of the campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. Since the 16th National Congress of the CPC, the Chinese government has achieved constraint and coordination of powers according to the separation of decision-making, oversight and execution rights. Such reform is in nature check and balance of power, which enables oversight and constraint of power and accordingly prevent corruption. After the 18th National Congress of the CPC, more effective oversight and exercise of power have been achieved by strengthening the power-exercising laws, regulations and procedures on the basis of summarizing experience in reform.
Institutional development is the focus of the campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. It was clearly stated at the 18th National Congress of the CPC that institutional development in advocacy of anti-corruption and clean government should be strengthened from multi-dimensions, including prevention of corruption. The Central Committee of the CPC has introduced a number of anti-corruption systems, which have effectively curb corruption within the Party and kept the exercise of power in check.
Discipline inspection system is the safeguard of the campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC has further strengthened the role of the Party commission for discipline inspection in intra-Party supervision. An accountability system has been formed in which the CPC committee takes principal responsibilities while the Party commission for discipline inspections exercises oversight. With the superior unit in charge of investigation and punishment, the system in which discipline inspection personnel are delegated to units concerned has been put in practice. The central inspection system has been reformed. All these efforts have extended oversight of the Party and governmental organs to the full.
Work style is the carrier of the campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. After the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC made an eight-point decision to carry out criticism and self-criticism, and staged a series of mass activities in the campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government. Such activities have made every leader and cadre reflect on his work-style. Consequently the Party work-style has taken a sharp turn for the better and been praised by the masses.
New challenges in the socialist campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government
First, new media greatly increases difficulty in Internet-based fight against corruption. Information is instantly and openly disseminated on the "We Media" such as blogs, forums, Weibos and WeChats, where informants and opinions are much more diversified and clear-cut as against traditional media. Due to massive dissemination of information in the short period of time, one and the same corruption case may be represented to netizens in diverse forms. New media has not only a positive impact but also a negative one on Internet-based anti-corruption. Negative influence is mainly manifested in two aspects: (1) Some interest groups, or netizens who are dissatisfied with domestic corruption, will maliciously slander public officials or magnify some minor style-related issues to protect their own interests or vent negative emotions. That is mainly attributable to the absence of good public opinion atmosphere and corresponding systems in the current Internet-based anti-corruption, which makes Internet-based anti-corruption divorced from practical anti-corruption; (2) Some informants who are afraid of retaliation from corrupted officials opt to report anonymously via the virtual space, a choice that lands the investigation by anti-corruption organs in a difficult situation for lack of legally acknowledged evidence. Anonymous report is currently attributable to the absence of legal mechanisms that can protect online informants.
Second, the existing anti-corruption mechanism leaves much to be desired. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the new central collective leadership with Xi Jinping as General Secretary has made efforts to build and improve the anti-corruption mechanism. But there are still some problems to be addressed. As for anti-corruption organs, for example, affected by the original administrative system, the existing anti-corruption organs are not rationally set up so that more than one anti-corruption organ is found in the central and local governments. Such organs are set up in the ruling party, the judicial system and the administrative system but not clearly defined in terms of rights and responsibilities. With similar functions, they are prone to shirk their responsibilities when some case really crops up. As for anti-corruption strategies, the Chinese government has formulated "2013-2017 Work Plan on Building and Improving a Punishment and Prevention System for Fight Against Corruption" after the 18th National Congress of the CPC, and taken it as the guideline for anti-corruption in the five years. However, previous anti-corruption campaigns were not strategically planned so that there appeared too many blind fights against corruption or problems were handled only when they cropped up. As a result, this Plan has met resistance in the process of implementation, a situation which is further compounded by the lack of more long-term and scientific strategic planning and specific implementation solutions.
Suggestions on the socialist campaign to fight corruption and build a clean government
First, create a favorable environment for the Internet-based anti-corruption with new media. In response to the two negative impacts by new media on the Internet-based anti-corruption, the Chinese government can make use of new media to create a favorable environment for it from two aspects, not only decreasing the difficulty in the Internet-based anti-corruption but also turning new media into a weapon to fight corruption. For one thing, we should encourage the establishment of anti-corruption "We Media" platforms such as blogs, forums, Weibos, WeChats, through which anti-corruption information can be released as it is acquired. We encourage netizens to voice their points of view on such information and interact with them by giving them timely replies. We can build such platforms into an open, official and authoritative one, which can prevent interested parties and resentful netizens from cyber violence. We can make public the protection measures for real-name reporting informants, guide public opinion about corruption to a positive direction to form a good atmosphere for anti-corruption. We can vow the Party and government's determination to fight corruption to increase their credibility, which is of great service to consolidating the ruling position of the CPC. For another, we need to intensify the construction of legal system for the Internet-based anti-corruption. Sanctions against cyber violence can ensure that the Internet-based anti-corruption is well connected with practical anti-corruption on the one hand and well standardized and enjoy an improved environment on the other hand.
Second, intensify efforts to forge a political pattern that deters, disables and disillusions officials from mal-conducts and corruption. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, all corruptions have been severely handled and punished by the Party and the government as warnings to others. As is shown by investigated cases and problems, corruption and anti-corruption are engaged in a grim struggle. In order to encroach on more interests, some corrupted officials hang together to form corruption groups and increase the size of their own cliques against the high pressure anti-corruption. They spread out various opinions contrary to anti-corruption in a bid to destroy our firm faith in anti-corruption and create resistance to the anti-corruption campaign. Therefore, we need to firmly hold our ground in anti-corruption and strengthen the Party discipline to show anti-corruption determination to our cadres. In addition, we need to innovate institutions to ensure that every corruption will be punished and no bribery can be spared so that a pattern will come into being that deters, disables and disillusions officials from mal-conducts and corruption.
Third, make sound anti-corruption institutions and mechanisms. Targeted at the existing problems with the anti-corruption institutions and mechanisms since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, efforts may be made to strengthen the following three aspects: Firstly, we need to push ahead with the reform of governmental organizations to set up a unified anti-corruption organ under the commission for disciplinary inspection from the central to local governments. It leads all anti-corruption work. We need to re-define the power and responsibility of judicial and other organs to avoid overlapping duties. Once a problem occurs, those responsible personnel should be called to account. Secondly, we need to attach importance to scientific planning of anti-corruption strategy. On the basis of "2013-2017 Work Plan on Building and Improving a Punishment and Prevention System for Fight Against Corruption", we need to formulate a long-term strategic plan for anti-corruption that spans 100 years since the founding of the CPC. And specific implementation plans should be formulated for every five years, and each plan needs to be summarized and reflected on in order to make new strategic planning better implemented. Finally, we need to improve the legislation of anti-corruption. We need, first of all, to establish a comprehensive audit system and assign authority to audit organs according to law. And then we need to establish an independent system that protects anti-corruption organs and imposes legal sanction against any resistance to anti-corruption work. Thirdly we need to establish a fair system that ensures remuneration and welfare to public officials, and helps them at the source to be clean and honest officials. Fourthly, we need to establish a property disclosure system for public officials, especially leaders of the Party and government organs, to prevent them from corruption. Fifthly, we need to establish a system that protects real-name informants and advocates real-name reporting. Sixthly, we need to improve the mechanism that imposes oversight and constraint on the exercise of power. We need to strengthen the development of government informatization, especially big data, to make governmental affairs more transparent and maximize the role of supervision.
(Author: Deputy director of Institute of higher education, Guangxi Teachers Education University)