Discipline watchdog calls for building atmosphere for upholding integrity
The top discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China in its latest communique stressed intensified punishment for those who commit bribery in order to foster and promote a better atmosphere of upholding integrity and resisting corruption.
The communique adopted at the second plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which was held in Beijing from Monday to Tuesday, required disciplinary authorities to investigate new and hidden forms of corruption in the ongoing anti-corruption campaign.
While addressing the opening of the plenary session on Monday, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged taking simultaneous, coordinated and comprehensive steps to ensure that officials do not have the audacity, opportunity or desire to become corrupt.
The report to the 20th CPC National Congress, which was held in October, also asked the authorities to punish both bribe takers and givers and combat new and disguised forms of corruption.
Xiao Pei, deputy head of the CCDI, said during the 20th CPC National Congress that corruption damages the political and economic ecosystems and fighting corruption is conducive to purifying those ecosystems.
"Bribe takers and givers engage in trading power and money, which is an important cause for the spread of corruption. Only by cutting off the interest chain between the hunted officials and bribes can the soil of corruption be eradicated," he said.
Discipline inspection and supervision organs will improve the precision and effectiveness of the crackdown, investigate bribery and recover illegal gains, while safeguarding the legal operation of enterprises, protecting the rights of people involved and achieving the organic unity of political, disciplinary and social effects, Xiao said.
In September 2021, the CCDI, National Commission of Supervision, CPC Central Committee's Organization Department, United Front Work Department, Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, as well as the top court and top procuratorate, jointly issued a document promoting the crackdown on bribery.
The document listed five key supervision categories — people who give bribes multiple times, bribes of large amounts of money, or offering bribes to a large number of people; Party cadres and employees of government agencies who offer bribes; people who offer bribes in key work sections or major projects; people who offer bribes in the fields of human resources, law enforcement and judiciary, assistance to vulnerable groups and disaster relief, education and health; and people who offer major commercial bribes.
The CCDI and NCS are accelerating the construction of a national database on those who give bribes and are studying the establishment of a punishment mechanism.
Discipline inspection and supervision organs in many places are exploring the implementation of a "blacklist" system for bribe-givers. Among them, authorities in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, established multiple databases to include pharmaceutical enterprises, suppliers and agents with bad records of commercial bribery.
In December, the top procuratorate issued a guideline on strengthening the handling of bribery cases. Authorities must accurately identify the crime and distinguish whether it was the act of an individual or that of a company or department.
A typical manifestation of commercial bribery is rent-seeking corruption, in which businessmen offer bribes to officials with monopolistic power in order to obtain improper benefits, said Zhuang Deshui, deputy head of Peking University's Clean Government Research Center. Authorities need to punish those involved in bribery in order to reduce the space for corruption in which commercial bribery spreads, he said.
According to statistics released by the top procuratorate, procuratorial organs nationwide prosecuted 8,380 people for taking bribes and 2,563 people for giving bribes in 2022.