As China's national supervision commission is expected to be established at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) in March, graft-busters have been polishing new "weapons" to enhance supervision.
The recent case of an official in north China's Shanxi Province caught the eyes of many. He took advantage of his post to seek interests for others, and had his wife transfer his illicit assets to conceal bribery.
After asking the official the whereabouts of his illegal assets, the provincial supervision commission immediately seized the assets.
"Someone was trying to make further transfers when we got to the place where the assets were, which could have caused big trouble for our investigation," a graft-buster in Shanxi said.
Seizing assets is one of the 12 major weapons used to effectively crack down on corruption. The others include talking, interrogation, questioning, inquiries, freezes, acquisitions, closing down, seizures, searches, inspections, examination and detention.
Some of the weapons have proved effective for supervisory commissions in Beijing, Shanxi and the eastern Zhejiang Province, the three pilots for the ongoing reform, where supervision commissions were granted more power to use the new methods.
Submitted to the bi-monthly legislative session of the Standing Committee of the NPC for a second reading in December, the draft national supervision law made clear regulations on forming supervisory organs, responsibilities and powers, and investigation methods, to ensure organs act in accordance with the law.
"Now we can directly resort to some of the measures," said Rui Chenwen, an official at Shanxi's supervision commission, hailing the efficiency of the approaches. "In the past those measures would require the assistance of judicial organs like police departments and procuratorates."
For Zhuang Deshui, senior researcher at Peking University, the efficacy of the weapons will be ensured by the draft supervision law.
"By making clear the responsibilities and investigation methods, the supervision power of the country has been legalized, regulated and institutionalized," he said. "It is also based on better power disposition and a better supervision mode."
Moreover, the pilot regions have set up supporting systems to regulate the application of the weapons, maintaining momentum in anti-graft work.
In Beijing, a set of regulations on the supervision commission's work was published last year.
According to Liu Yongqiang, an official at the commission, inquiries, talking and acquiring were the most frequently applied approaches among the 12 in Beijing as of the end of 2017, which were used 7,519, 7,364 and 5,081 times, respectively, mostly in regular investigations.
In order for the public to better understand and tell apart the weapons, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has recently made diagrams about the 12 approaches, releasing them every few days on its website ahead of the upcoming NPC annual session.
For example, "talking" was drawn into eight images describing the procedure that supervisors should undergo, such as drafting a plan for the approval of the supervision commission before informing the officials suspected of corruption of the time and place for the talks, checking the physical conditions of the officials and recording the talks.
As for the future, legal experts expect strict control and management of the measures to prevent abuse of power.
They also ask for further regulations on detention, which they believe has the biggest influence on the basic rights of suspects.
China has been adding clarity to detention practices, with terms in the draft supervision law saying detention should finish as soon as such measures become "inappropriate."
According to a decision made during the 19th National Congress of the CPC in October, as part of reform of the national supervision system, detention will replace the practice of shuanggui, an intra-party disciplinary practice exercised by Party disciplinary officials.