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Independent Power of Supervision
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The proposed constitutional amendment passed by the Second Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) suggests listing the supervisory commission as a state organ in the country’s Constitution. This is a major strategic decision made by the CPC Central Committee, with General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping at the core. It will lay a solid constitutional foundation and have significant and far-reaching influence on strengthening the Party’s leadership of anti-corruption work, establishing a centralized, uniform, authoritative and highly efficient national supervisory system, ensuring that all public employees who exercise public power are supervised. 

The supervisory commission is a political organ responsible for self-supervision of the Party and state. It is neither an administrative organ nor a judicial one. The supervisory power it performs according to law is not a simple combination of functions of administrative supervision, anti-graft and corruption prevention. Instead, it oversees, under the Party’s direct leadership, all public employees who exercise public power on behalf of the Party and state. Investigating both illegal activities and crimes committed by officials, it has significantly different functions and powers from the judicial organs and law-enforcing organs. 

The CPC Central Committee proposed that Article 127 of the Constitution shall stipulate, “The supervisory commissions should independently exercise their power of supervision and not be subject to interference by any administrative organ, public organization or individual. The supervisory organs should coordinate with judicial organs, procuratorial organs and law enforcement departments and monitor each other in handling offenses committed by officials.” 

The supervisory organs fulfill functions of supervision, investigation and punishment and investigate upon authorization of the law, therefore any administrative organ, social organization or individual has no right to interfere. In the meantime, units and individuals concerned must actively assist and cooperate with the supervisory commissions in carrying out supervision. 

Judicial organs refer to people’s courts at all levels; procuratorial organs refer to people’s procuratorates at all levels; law-enforcement departments include public security departments, state security departments, auditing departments and administrative law-enforcement departments. In current practice, the discipline inspection departments cooperate and monitor each other with not only the judicial organs and procuratorial organs, but also law-enforcement departments. 

Upon evidence of those suspected of violating laws and discipline, the auditing departments should transfer those, in accordance with related provisions, to the discipline inspection organs for investigation and punishment; after discipline inspection organs raise the requirement of technical investigation or overseas travel ban, after strict examination the public security departments and other related departments must approve the conditions, types, time limits and procedures of the measures; in the investigation of work safety accidents due to dereliction of duty, a joint investigation group will be established by the departments of work safety, quality inspection, food and drug administration, which will investigate and collect evidence at the accident location, jointly analyze the nature and responsibility of accidents and determine the scope and forms of accountability. After supervisory commissions are established, as for suspected crimes committed by officials, the supervisory commissions will, after investigations are complete, transfer the cases to the procuratorial organs for examination and initiation of public prosecution according to law, after which the people’s courts are responsible for trial of the cases; as for the cases transferred by the supervisory organs, if the procuratorial organs decide that new materials and verification are needed, they should return the cases to the supervisory organs for supplementary investigation, or the procuratorial organs can make supplementary investigations by themselves if they deem it necessary. 

Clearly defining such relationship in the Constitution is to incorporate the existing work relationship into law, which will ensure the power of supervision can be performed according to law in the correct way and be subject to strict oversight. 

This is an edited excerpt of an article under the byline of Zhong Jiyan  

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