Anti-graft system up for major change before key China meet

BEIJING • To give legal footing to a new national supervisory commission, China's anti-graft system will see a fundamental change as the top legislature is scheduled to review a draft amendment to the Constitution and the country's first law on supervision.

Some 2,980 deputies attending the first plenary session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) - of the Chinese Parliament - starting next Monday will deliberate on the two draft measures, according to the agenda.

Only a plenary meeting of the NPC can adopt amendments to the Constitution and laws related to the country's fundamental systems. A major change proposed to the Constitution is to list the supervisory commissions as a new type of state organ.

The draft supervision law - reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee twice, in June and December - details how the supervisory commissions work, as well as their duties and obligations.

The law applies to all public officers, including civil servants and those working for public schools and medical institutes, which means that the nation's fight against corruption now covers every public corner, experts said.

By last Sunday, the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions had elected directors of their supervisory commissions.

The commission at each level integrates forces to fight corruption in government authorities, including anti-graft bureaus in people's procuratorates, then works together with local disciplinary authorities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Such joint efforts have brought more public officers under supervision. For instance, about two million public officers are now under supervision in central Henan province, up from 908,000 before the reform.

"The establishment of such commissions at provincial, city and county levels is a foundation to set up a national supervisory commission," said China University of Political Science and Law vice-president Ma Huaide.

The draft, as well as the pilot programme, will use the rule of law to guide the anti-corruption fight, he added.

The draft has received much attention since it is designed to replace the practice of shuanggui, an intra-party disciplinary practice in which CCP members under investigation must cooperate with questioning at a set time and place.

The decision to replace shuanggui with detention was declared during the 19th CCP National Congress last October to deepen reform of the country's supervision system.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Anti-graft system up for major change before key China meet'. Subscribe