Anti-corruption was the key topic of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) between January 18 and 20, where President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, demanded to punish corruption with a zero-tolerance approach.
Prior to the meeting, a five-episode feature program titled Zero Tolerance aired on China Central Television Channel 1 during prime time. A foreboding for CPC cadres, the program featured convicted high-ranking officials voicing their regrets about their fraudulent wrongdoings.
The zero-tolerance approach has reflected the CPC's determination to eradicate corruption within the Party since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. Ever since, the Party's discipline inspection agencies have been further empowered. The past decade has seen over 4 million cases filed, involving roughly 4.4 million individuals, with 484 high-ranking officials investigated. The principle of distancing oneself from corruption is intensifying among Party and government officials at various levels nationwide.
In the human history of political regimes worldwide, corruption seems hard to weed out. Even under extraordinary pressure and restrictions, some officials still decide to try their luck, only doing so more elusively. For example, they choose to receive the spoils after leaving their post so as to not be seen as "taking advantage" of their position; that's why some are still investigated for, and even convicted of, corruption well after retirement.
The CPC's anti-graft efforts since 2012 have been derided as a "house of cards" by the West, but the reality is, to exterminate corruption is a must if the Party means to surmount historical cyclicity and shape a clean society. The Party must take decisive actions to rid itself of all factors undermining its progressiveness and eliminate all viruses that might compromise Party health.
The zero-tolerance attitude also reflects the Party's consistency in strict and sophisticated governance over its affiliates. Putting forward more specific targets on anti-corruption during this meeting, the Party will continue to inspect major corruption cases.
Additionally, stricter measures will be taken in cases involving both economic and political issues, particularly those related to state-owned enterprises, finance, as well as grain purchase and sales. Their settlement is meant to help promote governance over the Party.
This year will see the convening of the 20th CPC National Congress. President Xi thus instructed to strengthen disciplinary supervision over this period by curbing bureaucracy, hedonism, and formalism during the election of delegates to the CPC National Congress and members of the CPC Central Committee.
The high-level leadership of the CPC clearly realizes the ongoing struggle between corruption and anti-corruption forces. It's important to remain alert to new forms of corruption in the new era, which keep emerging, such as interest groups committing crimes in cliques. There is still a long way to go before the soil for corruption is wholly upturned and systemic fraud is eradicated.
The Party must keep a clear head in this fight. If there is soil for corruption to sprout, cases will keep popping up; one must always bear in mind anti-corruption is a long-lasting campaign. To win the battle against corruption, the Party must incessantly update its supervisory system and make inspection an extensive and regular occurrence, so as to tangibly carry out the zero-tolerance strategy. Corruption should only be approached with a firm "No."
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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