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Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 12:52
Graft fight crucial to road map
By Zhang Yi
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 12:52 By Zhang Yi

The annual meeting of China's top disciplinary watchdog showed that fighting corruption and improving officials' work style will continue this year to ensure the smooth start of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), experts and officials said.

President Xi Jinping stressed the significance of enhancing the Party's ability to purify, improve and reform itself so that it can guide and ensure that the journey of socialism with Chinese characteristics moves forward steadily

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, stressed the significance of enhancing the Party's ability to purify, improve and reform itself so that it can guide and ensure that the journey of socialism with Chinese characteristics moves forward steadily.

Xi made the remark at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which was held from Friday to Sunday in Beijing.

"Corruption remains the largest risk threatening the Party's governance," Xi said. Political and economic issues are becoming intertwined, he said, posing threats to the political security of both the Party and the nation. Traditional and new types of corruption are also mixed together, and corrupt behaviors are becoming more elusive and complicated, he said.

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Jiang Laiyong, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: "Xi's remarks illustrate the complexity and harmfulness of corruption and the arduous and systematic nature of the fight against corruption.

"This has once again sounded the alarm to the whole Party that there is no alternative to fighting corruption and that the Party must rise above difficulties."

Efforts should be made to push forward the anti-graft fight and ensure that officials "don't dare to, are unable to and have no desire to commit acts of corruption", according to the communique adopted by the top disciplinary body on Sunday.

"The anti-graft fight should be combined with preventing misconduct from taking place so as to strengthen deterrence against corruption and increase people's awareness that they should not become corrupt," Jiang said.

Prevention important

A system for high-level officials to report to the Party on their individual matters has been implemented, he said. Also, various forms of discipline supervision, including self-criticism, inquiries through interviews and letters and disciplinary penalties can be used to tackle problems at an early stage, he said.

Zhang Mingkai, a professor at the Tsinghua University School of Law, said the aim of high-quality anti-corruption work is not just to uncover corruption, but, importantly, also to prevent corruption from taking place.

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Improving the mechanism to prevent corruption should be combined with technological means. For example, online approval of some items can be implemented to improve transparency so as to prevent officials from making use of information opacity for personal gain, he said.

The communique outlined the priorities of this year's anti-corruption work-focusing on areas with huge policy support and intensive investment and resources and enhancing anti-corruption efforts in the financial sector, State-owned enterprises and the political and legal systems.

Corruption in infrastructure construction, project approvals and management of scientific research will also be resolutely investigated and punished, according to the communique.

Continuous effort must be made to crack down on corruption at the primary level so that the people will have a greater sense of gain during the anti-graft process, Xi said

"Anti-corruption work in the financial sector bears on national economic security, and in the political and legal sectors the work will be helpful to improve social equity and justice," Jiang said.

It demonstrated the discipline inspection and supervision authorities' firm determination to ensure high-quality development with high-quality supervision as the country starts many new tasks and projects during the 14th Five-Year Plan, Jiang said.

Sense of gain

The problem of corruption is intertwined with unhealthy work styles, Xi said at the session. He also called for resolute action to target formalism and bureaucratism, with steps to promote the Party's fine tradition and education in its work style.

Continuous effort must be made to crack down on corruption at the primary level so that the people will have a greater sense of gain during the anti-graft process, he said.

READ MORE: Strict governance of Party to be maintained

People-centered measures were raised in the communique, such as tackling misconduct in areas related to people's livelihoods, including education and medical care, social security and ecological and environmental protection.

In a case announced recently, Wen Guodong, 53, former vice-governor of Qinghai province, was expelled from the Party and removed from public office. He was found to have acted as a "protective umbrella" for illegal coal mining in the province.

His dereliction of supervision over illicit mining in the Muli coal field in the province's Qilian Mountains led to continuing illegal mining activities in areas where the central government had ordered a halt to mining and restoration of the environment years ago.

Wen initially accepted gifts and banquet invitations from private companies when he first turned toward corruption, and he gradually started taking bribes that amounted to tens of millions of yuan, according to anti-corruption officials.

zhangyi1@chinadaily.com.cn


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