CCP leaders must take lead in party discipline: Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping listens to French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault during their meeting in Beijing on Oct 31, 2016.
Chinese President Xi Jinping listens to French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault during their meeting in Beijing on Oct 31, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Two regulations on party political conduct and intra-party supervision see updating

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Politburo members must take the lead in making self-declarations on major personal issues to the central leadership, President Xi Jinping has said.

These senior cadres, who represent the uppermost echelons of the CCP, must also beef up the education and supervision of their families and close aides, added Mr Xi, the party's general secretary.

Politburo members, who number around 25, seven of whom are in the current Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), must also attend intra-party meetings that often feature a self-criticism segment.

Mr Xi, who was outlining the key contents of two regulations updated at the CCP's annual leadership meeting last Thursday, explained the focus on senior cadres.

The updated two are a code on political conduct in the party, which was first passed in 1980, and a regulation on intra-party supervision, which first came into force in 2003.

"We believe those in the Central Committee, Politburo and the Standing Committee are pivotal to improving party discipline. If we can get these people to take the lead, many things will become easier," Mr Xi said, adding that whistleblowing against Politburo members must not be done anonymously.

Another key outcome of the meeting - the sixth plenary session of the current Central Committee - was the designation of Mr Xi as the party's new "core" leader.

IMPROVING THE PARTY FROM THE TOP

We believe those in the Central Committee, Politburo and the Standing Committee are pivotal to improving party discipline. If we can get these people to take the lead, many things will become easier.

PRESIDENT XI JINPING

The move elevates him into an esteemed group with late strongmen Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and former president Jiang Zemin.

Mr Xi said it was a unanimous decision to consolidate the central leadership around a "core" - he xin in Chinese - which means that his authority cannot be undermined.

The revision of the two regulations was seen as a possible tool to be used by Mr Xi against political rivals or disobedient cadres.

Mr Xi, who took power in late 2012 and is widely viewed as China's strongest leader since Mao and Deng, thanks to a relentless anti-graft drive, yesterday sought to dispel talk that he is above the law.

"The higher ranking the cadres are, the more they have to observe standards higher than those prescribed by the party. They have to stay loyal till the end, and never betray the party," he said.

In the 9,000-plus word note, he said the goal in updating the two regulations was to improve the rule of law, enhance party discipline, and weed out errant behaviour among cadres, such as money worshipping, hedonism and extravagance.

Mr Xi also said some senior cadres plotted political conspiracies to gain power by forming cliques, naming as examples former PSC member Zhou Yongkang, ex-Chongqing boss Bo Xilai, as well as retired military leaders Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, all whom have fallen in the anti-graft drive.

"We learnt deep lessons from these and realised that making political ideology a top priority and fostering an uncorrupted political ecosystem are crucial to solving these problems," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'CCP leaders must take lead in party discipline: Xi'. Print Edition | Subscribe