China's 19th party congress

Tougher anti-graft measures, enhanced party supervision

Chinese President Xi Jinping (bottom) bows to delegates after his speech during the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP) in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (bottom) bows to delegates after his speech during the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP) in Beijing. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING • China will step up its fight against corruption until a "sweeping victory" is achieved, President Xi Jinping has said.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will also strengthen internal supervision of party members across all levels, he added in his work report to the 19th party congress yesterday.

"The anti-corruption campaign has built into a crushing tide, is being consolidated, and continues to develop," he said.

Party discipline and fighting corruption have been top priorities for Mr Xi since he took office in 2012, and he reiterated yesterday that corruption remains the greatest threat to CCP rule.

His extensive anti-graft campaign has in the past five years punished 1.34 million officials, according to latest figures, and netted more than 200 "tigers", or those of vice-ministerial rank and above.

While Mr Xi trumpeted that the campaign has "cut like a blade through corruption and misconduct", Beijing has in recent months also moved to institutionalise anti-corruption within the party bureaucracy.

At the sixth plenary meeting of the Chinese leadership in October last year, the CCP adopted a comprehensive set of rules against "evils" like nepotism, factionalism and selling of official positions.

A second document beefed up internal supervision and oversight of party members at all levels through more inspections.

Mr Xi also said the CCP's anti-corruption mechanisms would be made less opaque. A new National Supervisory Commission will integrate various anti-graft bodies and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, feared for its extrajudicial detentions and secret interrogations.

The new agency's purview will also cover non-CCP members who hold public power such as in state-owned institutions.

Analysts said the latest reforms show that Beijing recognises the anti-graft campaign has created inertia at lower levels of government, and that clearer lines of acceptability are needed to get officials to take on ambitious projects again.

A national supervision law will also be crafted to govern the new agency and provide judicial oversight of its work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2017, with the headline 'Tougher anti-graft measures, enhanced party supervision'. Print Edition | Subscribe