Explanation on the Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life Under New Circumstances and the Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight
As entrusted by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), I will now introduce to this session the circumstances surrounding the drafting of two important documents: The Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life Under New Circumstances; and the Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight.
In February this year, the Political Bureau decided to dedicate the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee to the issue of comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline. Specifically, this would involve the formulation of a new code to govern political life in the CPC under new circumstances, and the revision of the Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight (Trial Implementation). For this purpose, a drafting group was assembled under the supervision of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau with myself as chief, my colleagues Liu Yunshan and Wang Qishan as deputy chiefs, and including the heads of relevant departments and local Party committees.
I. Considerations behind the drafting of the two documents
As we were carrying out our campaigns to promote and practice the principle of serving and relying on the people and the “Three Stricts and Three Honests,” a number of Party members suggested that a document be formulated to tighten and better regulate political life within the CPC under new circumstances.
On January 12, 2014, I issued a formal directive to Liu Yunshan and Wang Qishan, in which I made the following comments: “The Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life, formulated in 1980, played an important historical role in restoring and bolstering intraparty democracy, preserving the centralized uniformity of the CPC, enforcing Party discipline, enhancing the solidarity of the CPC, setting things right politically, ideologically, organizationally, and in terms of conduct, and shifting the focus of the CPC against the historical backdrop of that time. Today, this code still provides important practical guidance for our efforts to tighten and regulate political life within the CPC and carry forward our Party’s fine traditions and work style.” However, “a great deal has changed over the past 30 years, including not only our situation and tasks but also circumstances within the Party. Despite having yielded a wealth of achievements and experience in Party-building, we have also encountered a host of new situations and problems. Please consider whether the Central Committee should, at an appropriate time, draft a resolution on regulating and improving political life within the Party under new circumstances, to set forth new requirements in this regard.”
The Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight (Trial Implementation), on the other hand, were first promulgated on December 31, 2003. These regulations have played a positive role in enhancing CPC internal oversight and guaranteeing the solidarity and unity of the Party. However, as circumstances have evolved and our tasks have changed, it has become evident that these regulations are no longer suited to our current initiatives and requirements. Changing circumstances dictate that revisions are needed. This means designing institutions in accordance with responsibilities, developing these institutions into an overall framework, and enhancing the oversight of higher-level Party organizations over lower-level organizations and officials, so as to ensure that responsibilities are clearly defined and designated and institutions are effective and workable.
People charged with the task began preparing for the formulation and revision of these two documents some time ago. In 2014, a task force began to study the question of improving political life within the Party, producing initial results. Meanwhile, pursuant to requirements laid out by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) at its fifth and sixth plenary sessions, CCDI organs convened seven special sessions to discuss the revision of regulations on CPC internal oversight.
These preliminary efforts were highly fruitful. Based on a comprehensive analysis of these results, the Political Bureau decided to dedicate a plenary session of the Central Committee to the topic of comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline. This decision was based on the following considerations.
First, this decision was necessitated by the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, a strategy which represents a new approach to national governance adopted by the Central Committee after the Party’s 18th National Congress in 2012. Framed in the overall strategic context of our “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, this strategy has been developed on the basis of both domestic and international considerations, and in line with the newest trends of China’s development. It is a strategic choice that will facilitate our reform, opening up, socialist modernization, as well as our efforts to uphold and develop Chinese socialism in a new era.
The third, fourth, and fifth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee have been respectively dedicated to comprehensively deepening reform, comprehensively advancing the rule of law, and comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society. Accordingly, the Central Committee has dedicated its sixth plenary session to the topic of comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline, with a focus on the formulation and revision of these two documents. With this, each “comprehensive” has now been discussed and planned out at its own dedicated plenary session. This represents an overall agenda the CPC Central Committee has set for its plenary sessions in line with the “Four Comprehensives” strategy.
Second, this decision was necessitated by our effort to comprehensively govern the CPC with strict discipline. This has been the key focus of our Party-building initiatives since the 18th National Congress. China’s success hinges on the CPC, and especially on the principle that the CPC should supervise its own conduct and run itself according to a strict code of discipline. As we engage in a great struggle with many new historical features, and strive to advance the great cause of Chinese socialism under new circumstances, it is imperative that we intensify our efforts to promote the grand new undertaking of Party-building and commit to comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline, ensuring that the CPC is developed and managed soundly. This means preserving the CPC’s advanced nature and purity, enhancing its creativity, cohesiveness, and capabilities, improving its capacity to lead and govern, and ensuring that it remains the firm leading core of Chinese socialism.
Improving and regulating political life within the CPC, and enhancing CPC internal oversight, constitute important aspects of our Party-building under new circumstances, as well as important means of comprehensively governing the Party. An important lesson that our Party has learned from its Party-building initiatives is that we must always reflect on our past experiences and successful practices, and make innovations thereupon in line with the new situations, tasks, and practical needs before us. Therefore, it is essential that we make use of our time at the sixth plenary session to reflect on our theories and practices with regard to enforcing Party discipline in recent years, especially since the 18th National Congress. We need to look at which theories and practices have been validated and should be continued in the long term. We need to look at which ones can be further improved, elevated as institutions and rules, and codified in the form of Party regulations. And we need to look at which require further development in line with new conditions. The Central Committee’s decision to formulate the code and revise the regulations at the same time represents an important arrangement made with the aims of strictly governing the Party and strengthening the Party ideologically while governing it institutionally.
Third, this decision was necessitated by pronounced problems within our Party. Generally speaking, the political environment within the CPC has long been sound. However, recently, prominent problems have arisen that must be addressed urgently. These problems are mainly as follows: among some Party members, officials, and even high-ranking officials, there has been a wavering of ideals and beliefs, disloyalty to the Party, failure to observe discipline, estrangement from the people, as well as arbitrariness, falsification, incompetence, inertia, and nonfeasance; there has been varying degrees of individualism, decentralism, liberalism, “nice guy” mentality, sectarianism, “mountain-stronghold” mentality, and money-worshipping; there has been blatant practices of going through the motions, excessive bureaucracy, self-indulgence, pleasure-seeking and extravagance; there has been cronyism, cultivating of connections for promotion, buying and selling of official posts, and rigging of elections by paying for votes, despite repeated attempts to prevent these from happening; and there has been widespread abuse of power, embezzlement and bribery, moral degeneration, and violations of the law and codes of discipline. In particular, due to their growing political ambitions and lust for power, a handful of senior officials have hatched political plots by feigning compliance with policies while acting in opposition to them and forming self-serving cliques in pursuit of power and position. Such misconduct has severely undermined our Party’s political principles and moral foundations, its solidarity, centralism, and unity, its image and internal political environment, and the very cause of our Party and our people. The grave problems exposed by the cases of Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, and Ling Jihua were not just financial, but political as well, and they have given us much food for thought. We now realize that in order to resolve outstanding problems within our Party, we must give top priority to fostering political integrity and to creating a clean political environment. As I have said before, “A sound political environment is essential for success in any effort. A dirty political environment indicates a bad environment for governance, while a clean political environment indicates a good environment for governance. Political environments are just like natural environments: they can be polluted as the result of even the slightest negligence, and a high price must be paid if we are to restore them.”
CPC internal oversight represents an important aspect of Party-building, and an important foundation for comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline. Having long emphasized the importance of CPC internal oversight, the CPC Central Committee has taken effective measures and managed to achieve a great deal in this regard. However, there have also been problems, mainly the following: In some localities and departments, the leadership of the Party has been weakened, Party-building has gone absent, and efforts to govern the Party have been inadequate; there has been apathy towards the principles of the Party, weak organization, and lax discipline among some Party members and officials; and some Party organizations, members, and officials have failed to observe the CPC Constitution and have disregarded the Party’s code of political discipline and organizational principles. The emergence of these problems in recent years is largely attributable to loose, lax, and soft standards in the administration and governance of the Party. In a bid to comprehensively govern the Party with strict discipline, we must fundamentally address the absence of leadership and oversight responsibilities for strict self-governance, and resolve the problem of loose, lax, and soft standards in the administration and governance of the Party. We must identify the strengthening of CPC internal oversight as a foundation initiative for Party-building, and fully exert the institutional advantage of such internal supervision.
Since the 18th National Congress in 2012, we have launched a highly-focused effort to comprehensively govern the Party with strict discipline. Taking a series of new steps to enhance the administration and governance of our Party, we have continued to implement a strict code of discipline and address both the symptoms and root causes of disciplinary problems. We have strictly enforced political discipline and political rules and resolutely curbed the spread of corruption. And we have worked to develop systems to ensure that officials dare not, cannot, and have no desire to commit acts of corruption. We have also worked to ensure that leadership and oversight responsibilities for strict self-governance are properly assumed at all levels of the Party, in a bid to resolve prominent problems within our ranks. As a result of these efforts, we have created new vistas in intraparty political life, seen remarkable improvements in our Party’s political environment, and won the full support of the Party and society.
Though many issues within our Party have been resolved, we need to realize that problems still exist. Some problems have yet to be totally resolved, and others could potentially emerge again. We must therefore make a continued effort to prevent and resolve pronounced problems within the Party ideologically, politically, organizationally, institutionally, and in terms of conduct. In particular, against the backdrop of major changes internationally and domestically, the conditions of our Party’s governance have changed remarkably. The “four tests” (long-term governance, reform and opening up, developing the market economy, and responding to the external environment) and “four dangers” (losing drive, incompetence, becoming out of touch with the people, and corruption) that our Party faces are complex, serious, and long-term in nature. If we are to resolve prominent problems within our Party and effectively defuse the major challenges and dangers facing us, it is essential that we improve our regulations and institutions and build a sturdier institutional cage. This way, we will not only provide thorough and effective solutions to existing problems, but also prevent new problems from emerging and spreading and past problems from reoccurring.
To sum up, in light of our new circumstances and tasks, we may say that the time is ripe and the conditions are right for the formulation of a new code of conduct for intraparty political life, and for the revision of regulations on CPC internal oversight. This is a highly significant move, one that is urgently needed.