Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

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Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China
The emblem of the Communist Party of China
Control Instititution
Term limits
five years
Wang Qishan
since 15 November 2012
Cui Shaopeng
since 15 November 2012
Parent body
Elected by
Responsible to
CPC National Congress
Seats 130 (18th)
Authority CPC Constitution
Official Website (Chinese)

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC)[note 1] is the highest institution of the party's internal control system. In its modern incarnation, the CCDI was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee (in December 1978). A control system had existed before 1978, such as in the form of the Central Control Commission in the years 1927 and 1955–68, and as the CCDI in 1949–55. In 1993, the internal operations of the CCDI and the government's Ministry of Supervision (MOS) were merged, meaning that the two are run from the same institution.

The CCDI is tasked with defending party discipline, punish cadres for wrongdoings and to safeguard democratic centralism and the leadership of the central committee. In its work to cleanse the party's ranks of morally corrupt elements, the CCDI is not dependent from the party's leaders. The body is subordinate to the central committee. Despite this, the central leadership and the CCDI have tried to make the organization more independent from party committees below the central-level.

The national congress elects the CCDI. Immediately after the national congress in which it gets elected, the CCDI convenes its 1st Plenary Session to elect its Secretary, deputy secretaries, its secretary general and its Standing Committee. The elected officials must then be endorsed by the central committee to take office. The current CCDI Secretary is Wang Qishan, who concurrently serves as the Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work and as a member of the 18th Politburo Standing Committee and of the 18th CCDI Standing Committee.


Before the People's Republic[edit]

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
Traditional Chinese 中國共產黨中央紀律檢查委員會
Simplified Chinese 中国共产党中央纪律检查委员会
Commonly abbreviated as
Traditional Chinese 中央紀檢委
Simplified Chinese 中央纪检委
Further abbreviated as
Traditional Chinese 中紀委
Simplified Chinese 中纪委

The idea of a control system had been inspired by the writings of Vladimir Lenin in The State and Revolution.[1] In it he argues that every communist vanguard party needs to establish an institutional system to supervise its members at all levels regarding party officials elections, dismissals and work performances.[1] His writings led to the establishment of the Soviet Central Control Commission.[1] The control system, as well as the CPC's party structure, were imported to China.[1] The importance of discipline and supervision were highlighted from the CPC's founding.[1] The 2nd National Congress amended the party's constitution and devoted an entire chapter to party discipline.[1] Despite this, no institution was established to safeguard party norms or to supervise cadres behaviour.[1] Until the establishment of the Central Control Commission (CCC) at the 5th National Congress (held in 1927), the local party committees were responsible for supervising members.[1] Control commissions were established at the central and provincial-level.[1]

The 5th National Congress amendment the party constitution again, adding a new chapter on the control commissions and their aims (but devoted little attention on their function and how they were to pursue their operation).[1] Partly because of this, the control commissions was an active participants in several of the party's rectifications campaigns during the late-1920s and early-1930s.[2] In this period, the control commissions displayed a tendency to participate in political struggles, seen most notably in the purge of Zhang Guotao and Wang Ming.[3]

The control system established in 1927 went through a number of reorganizational changes; Central Review Committee (1928–1933), Central Party Affairs Committee (1933–1945) and the Central Control Commission (1945–1949).[3] Despite these reorganizations, the basic duties and responsibilities of the control organs remained vague until the amendments made to the party's constitution at the 7th National Congress (held in 1945).[3] While it may be argued that the 1945 amendments did not clarify the roles of the control organs that much, it did expand upon the theoretical reasons for having them in the first place.[3] It was argued in the party constitution that the control system "were born to serve the needs of a Leninist party for its ideological and organizational consolidation. Such a role was reinforced in the party’s frequent campaigns against its real or perceived enemies in and out of the party organization."[3]

Upon establishing the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in 1949, there were several differences from its predecessors.[4] For instance, the CCDI was institutionally responsible to the Politburo and all its local organizations were responsible to their corresponding party committee (despite them having the institutional authority to check their behaviour).[4] In reality, the CCDI was established to check all party organs (with the exception of the central leadership).[4]

Political history[edit]

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The CCDI was not a powerful institution in its early years.[5] It focused mainly on abuses made by senior party officials and party veterans, the CCDI itself rarely appeared on record during this period as investigating or solving these problems.[6] The few times CCDI inspectors were mentioned by the press, their failures were highlighted.[7] Despite having the personal backing of Mao Zedong and the central party leadership, the CCDI was often unable to fulfill its duties in the provinces.[7] According to a People's Daily editorial, party inspectors "gave up the struggle and proved themselves unable to persist in ... upholding the dignity of Party discipline when they encountered great obstacles."[7] Still remembering the success of the Yan'an Rectification Movement, and the failures of the CCDI, the party leadership used mass mobilization and ideological campaigns in the 1950s to tackle party corruption.[7] In reaction to the Gao GangRao Shushi Affair, the CCDI was abolished and replaced with the Central Control Commission (CCC).[8]

The CCC became a powerful force in politics in the ensuing years, but at the 8th National Congress (held in 1956) CCC inspectors were warned of abusing their powers and of becoming independent of the local party committees.[9] Its powers waned during the Great Leap Forward, but the CCC, alongside the Secretariat and the Organization Department, became the main weapons in the Great Leap's aftermath to combat corruption and to reverse verdicts on the rightists.[10] The CCC retained this new-found role until the Cultural Revolution, when it suffered from purges due partly to the CCC's close ties to Peng Zhen, one of the first highly ranked officials purged during the movement.[10] At the 9th National Congress held in 1969, the CCC was abolished and removed from the amended party constitution. It was replaced by special case organs (see Central Case Examination Group), which were to be formed under the leadership of Mao and Kang Sheng.[10] Despite its formal abolishment at the 9th National Congress, little criticism was directed at the CCC itself during the Cultural Revolution.[11] The closest it came to criticism was when Guangzhou Red Guards criticized Min Yifan, the CCC Deputy Secretary, but most of their disapproval focused on his career in the local committees and not his career in the CCC.[11] Talk of an internal party control system would not resurface until after Mao's death and the Gang of Four's arrest in 1976.[10]

The 11th National Congress formally reestablished the CCDI.[12] The newly established CCDI had three goals; remove the social basis of the Gang of Four, implement the leadership's cadre policy and to remove "despotic" local party secretaries, and reverse faulty verdicts made during the Cultural Revolution.[13] Due to the power struggle between Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng, the control system was not implemented in the period of 1977–1978.[14] The 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee held in December 1978 formed a new control system under its 1949–1955 name, whose responsibilities were same as the CCC before its abolishment.[15] In the immediate aftermath of the 3rd Plenary Session, the CCDI convened its 1st Plenary Session and elected Chen Yun its First Secretary,[16] Deng Yingchao as Second Secretary, Hu Yaobang as Third Secretary and Huang Kecheng as its Permanent Secretary.[17][18] The election of these people (and others) were purely symbolic, and the new CCDI consisted generally of people who had never been involved in control affairs, and consisted overwhelmingly of members who were considered to young to be taken seriously.[19] Its 1st Plenary Session maintained that the CCDI had three overarching goals. First "protect party members' rights", enforce and safeguard the system of collective leadership "with the division of labor by the individual", and in general, to combat over-concentration of power in the individual.[15] Second, it would combat corrupt tendencies in the party and would handle complaints by individuals.[15]

While the press and the CCDI itself (through its own journal) highlighted its fight against corruption, it was powerless against many "local despots," leaders who ruled in their own locales largely by personal fiat.[20] Indeed, in the early-1980s, the 11th Central Committee was forced to enact emergency measures to combat corruption.[21] Instead of fighting corrupt officials, the CCDI's local branches focused on the rank-and-file members.[22] It was used as an organizational weapon against the "leftists", i.e., those who had either risen up during the Cultural Revolution or supported it, and the "rightists", i.e., those who supported bourgeois democracy.[23] Despite a weakening of its powers under Zhao Ziyang, the CCDI's power would only increase in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 under the tutelage of Deng and Jiang Zemin.[24]

Despite the CCDI's exalted position as the party's – and therefore China's – leading anti-corruption agency, even its own leaders have admitted serious shortfalls in its work.[25] Its been alleged that Wei Jianxing, the CCDI Secretary, tendered his resignation "on the eve" of the 5th Plenary Session of the 15th Central Committee in 2000 to protest the CCDI's impotence.[26] His successor Wu Guanzheng found himself in a similar situation, and he, too, allegedly tendered his resignation in August 2005.[26] While neither of them resigned before their term expired, both of them were unable to strengthen the CCDI's independence from the committees at the corresponding level and to end the Central Secretariat's interference in the CCDI's activities.[26]

According to scholar Xuezhi Guo's own estimation, "From 1992 to 2009, China brought disciplinary sanctions against approximately 2 million personnel".[27] The CCDI fielded similar numbers, "[b]etween July 2003 and December 2008, the CCDI had tried and closed 852,000 cases, resulting in 881,000 officials receiving disciplinary sanctions."[27] In 2009 the CCDI imposed disciplinary sanctions on 106,626, in 2010 on 146,517, in 2011 on 142,893, in 2012 on 160,718 and in 2013 on 182,000 party members and officials.[27]

Institutional history[edit]

Founding, abolishment and reestablishment (1949–1980)[edit]

The Chinese control system was inspired by the Soviet control institutions, most notably the Party Control Committee (PCC).[16] The Soviet PCC was established to cure the party's bureaucratic ills according to Lenin, but developed into a tool controlled by the party's general secretary and its secretaries.[28] Despite this, the CCDI system was not empowered to the same extent as its Soviet counterparts; Mao favoured mass mobilisation and ideological campaigns over party disciplinary measures to curb bad behaviour.[29] Even those who shared the Soviet fascination with self-organizational corrections, like Liu Shaoqi and Dong Biwu, did not share their fascination with "scientific administration".[16][note 2] The CCDI was a cumbersome institution. For example, 27 different procedures were required to be completed before an official could be placed under formal investigation.[7] Other problems were institutional; the CCDI did not have its own organization below the provincial level.[7]

"The most important question for realizing fundamental improvement in Party style is to uphold the Party's political discipline, adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles, work hard to build socialist spiritual civilization with communist ideology as the core, and guarantee that the whole Party maintains political unanimity with the Central Committee. DICs at all levels must take this as the focus of their work."

—The Report of the CCDI to the 12th National Congress, held in 1982. It officially endorsed the position of the CCDI as a organizational weapon of the Central Committee.

In reaction to the CCDI's failures,[31] the 1955 National Conference established the Central Control Commission (CCC).[11] The delegates noted that the problem of the CCDI was its lack of independence from the party committee at the corresponding level, and the lack of any meaningful collaboration between a control commission at one level and one at higher levels.[11] This institutional balance in favour of the party committee had led those such as Gao Gang and Rao Shushi to stack the local commissions for discipline inspection (CDI) with their own loyalists who had no interest in carrying-out their institutional responsibility.[11] The control commissions were granted the power to appeal to the decisions of the committee at their corresponding level, and obliged to report their work to the control commission at the higher level.[11] Unlike the CCDI it had organs below the provincial level.[32] Its powers were extended, with the CCC being empowered to "examine, approve, and change decisions by lower control committees", and the composition of control committees at the provincial level and below had to be verified by the CCC.[32] Likewise, the CCC had the power to initiate investigations against unreliable elements as it saw fit.[32] Formal bonds were created with the Ministry of Supervision (MOS) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, to strengthen the anti-corruption agencies control over "the rapidly expanding party organization and an increasingly elaborate state bureaucracy".[32]

In the end, the main goal of these reforms were to strengthen the autonomy of the control commissions, from the local ruling committees,[11] and to safeguard the powers of the centre, which had been threatened during the Gao Gang–Rao Shushi Affair.[32] However, the party leadership backtracked, and at the 8th National Congress the autonomy of the CCC and the control commissions were reduced.[33] The 8th National Congress was held in a conservative atmosphere, with the leadership calling for instituting collective leadership in all institutions; the thought that the CCC and the local control commissions were to be given "special rights" to carry out their duties was considered the polar-opposite of collegial decision-making.[34] The CCC was abolished at 9th Congress during the Cultural Revolution, and reestablished at the 11th National Congress, held in 1977.[12] The 11th National Congress amended the party constitution to state that the "Central Committee of the Party, local Party committees at the county level and above and Party committees in the army units at the regimental level and above should set up commissions for inspecting discipline.[12] The formal system was in place by December 1978, and the corresponding control system in the military was established in 1981 as the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Military Commission.[18] The importance of the CCDI was institutionalized by a party regulation which stated that the CCDI head had to be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.[35]

The "dual leadership" system (1980–2002)[edit]

During the 1980s, according to Lawrence Sullivan, some cadres regarded the CCDI's lack of independence to be problematic.[36] They argued that the CCDI should be independent from the Central Committee and should not involve itself in its power struggles.[36] This was opposed by the CCDI leadership itself, with Huang stating that loyalty to the Central Committee was "more important" then fighting corruption.[36] Despite this, the chief problem during the early 1980s was the CCDI local organs link with the local party committees.[37] The local committees elected the commission for discipline inspection (CDI) at their level. The CDI at the level up in the hierarchy could either endorse or reject the proposed composition of the committee.[37] This made the local CDI responsible to the party committee at their level, and not the CCDI as a whole.[37] Those organizing the system knew the danger, but believed that the CDIs (through their connection with the central leadership) would be able to carry out their institutional assigned task despite their formal election by the committee which were supposed to inspect.[38] This institutional anomaly only secured the position of corrupt or "despotic" leading cadres; for instance, if a corrupt cadre was local committee secretary he had the institutional power to block the local CDI investigation.[39]

"There are times when we [i.e., discipline inspection committees] want to file a case for investigation, but leaders consider various aspects of the situation and decide provisionally against investigation.... From one perspective, investigation may make sense, but in the larger scheme of things it may make sense to put the issue aside for a while. Indeed, it may produce even better results. We should have confidence that party committees ... view problems from a more comprehensive perspective than we do. We cannot be overly confident, thinking that whatever case we want to investigate must be investigated, that not to do so reflects a failure to assign high priority [to the anticorruption effort] or suppression of an investigation. We cannot be so simplistic in our inferences. The same goes for decisions on disciplinary actions. In some cases, we think there should be expulsion from the party, but the party committee discusses it and decides on probation within the party. They do not follow our recommendation. We cannot then say that this is the party committee not assigning high priority [to the anticorruption effort] or being overly lenient in meting out punishment. We must recognize that, after all, our discipline inspection committees have their own biases."

Wei Jianxing, the CCDI Secretary 1992–2002, insisting that "dual leadership" meant party committee supremacy.[40]

Because of the institutionalized structure it was close to impossible for the CCDI to carry out its work.[41] On the few occasions it tried to perform its duties and investigate leading officials, they were often retaliated against by the leading politicians who believed that the rules didn't apply to them.[41] These problems were widespread, and led the Third Secretary to claim that "considerable and, in some cases, shocking obstructions in the [CCDI's] work [occurred often]."[41] The party leadership tried to solve these problems at the 12th National Congress held in 1982 by expanding the CCDI's jurisdiction and formal authority.[42] For instance, the amended party constitution stated that the CCDI's responsibility was "to safeguard the Party's Constitution and other important rules and regulations, to assist Party committees in rectifying Party style, to inspect implementation of the Party's line, principles, policies and resolutions."[42] The CCDI became the defender of party orthodoxy, party organization, rules and regulations, the Central Committee and of democratic centralism (which was defined as following the decisions of the Central Committee).[43] The amendment allowed local CDIs to "take their case to the next higher party committee" if they perceived the committee decision at their corresponding level to be faulty.[44] Despite this, 12th National Congress introduced "dual leadership" in the works of local CDIs—meaning that they were both responsible to the party committee at the corresponding level (and the party committee at the level above) and to the CDI at the higher level.[45] Each CDI elects a Standing Committee, but the 12th National Congress retained the regulation which stated that the elected Standing Committee needed to obtain the endorsement of the party committee at the corresponding level.[45] This explains why the CCDI, which is elected by the National Congress (and not Central Committee, as it was previously), remained subordinated to the Central Committee.[46] In cases in which a Central Committee member were found guilty, the CCDI would have to inform and get a verdict by the Central Committee to initiate a formal investigation.[46]

In contrast to the 12th National Congress, the 13th National Congress held in 1987 weakened the powers of the CCDI.[24] The reformist General Secretary Zhao Ziyang wanted to end the CCDI's meddling in the state legal system, and therefore sought to reduce the CCDI's scope to focus primarily on issues regarding party discipline.[24] 49 CCDI discipline inspection groups in central ministries and central party organs were abolished at the congress (that is, 75 percent of all inspection groups), and the CCDI's chief lost the right to have a seat in the Politburo Standing Committee.[24] In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, Zhao's reforms were rescinded, and the abolished CCDI inspection groups were reestablished.[27] The powers of the CCDI were yet again strengthened, and the CCDI itself issued the "five forbiddens"; that cadres could not "(1) operate a business, (2) work in an economic entity, (3) trade in stocks, (4) accept gifts, or (5) use public funds for lavish entertainment."[27] The 14th National Congress held in 1992 strengthened the CCDI and local CDIs power of investigation.[45] According to the amended party constitution, local CDIs could initiate preliminary investigations against the standing committee members of the local party committee at the CDI's corresponding level before a formal investigation began.[45] If a full investigation was warranted, the local CDI had to inform the CDI at the higher level and the corresponding party committee for an approval to start a full investigation.[45] In 1995 its powers were strengthened further, with each CDI being given the responsibility to vet officials before their appointment to a selected post.[45] The shuanggui system was established in 1994 on the orders of the CCDI.[47] Its first official mention was in Article 28 of "Regulation on Dealing with Cases of Party Discipline Violations", which came into effect on 1 May 1994.[47]

Institution-building (2002–present)[edit]

The CCDI was reformed further at the 16th National Congress held in 2002, in which the CCDI Secretary also served as the chief coordinator of all anti-corruption efforts on the mainland (this position later became formally known as Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work).[48] This was further stipulated in 2004 and 2005 with the issuing of the "Internal Supervision Regulation", which institutionalized the inner-party supervision system, and the "Interim Provisions on DICs’ Role in Assisting the Party Committees with the Organization and Coordination of Anti-Corruption Work".[48] The terminology used in the battle against corruption were changed at the congress; for instance, from "fighting corruption" was changed to "fighting and preventing corruption".[48] The Hu Jintao era saw the CCDI's actual powers and influence grow; this was shown most clearly by the fact that, more often then not, all PSC members attended the CCDI's plenary sessions.[48]

Under Secretary Wu Guanzheng, the CCDI established its first central inspection teams in August 2003.[49] These teams were led by retired ministerial-level officials, and reported directly to the CCDI and were not responsible to the local party committees.[49] These teams were empowered to initiate investigations, interview people and review concerned documents.[49] The opinion of central inspection teams was of high importance in deciding if an official should be disciplined or not.[49] The central inspection teams went on to play an important role in the ouster of Shanghai party chief (and Politburo member) Chen Liangyu from the party because of corruption.[49]

The system of "dual leadership" was reformed during Hu Jintao's term.[50] In the aftermath of the Shanghai pension scandal, the central party leadership began to appoint the CDI heads of the four direct-controlled municipalities, i.e., Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing, and suggested that when appointing CDI heads in the provinces, preferential consideration should be given to people who were not born and raised in that specific region.[51] Beginning in 2009, localities below the prefecture level began to abolish the practice of staging a corresponding control organ in every party-controlled organization.[52] Prior to the reforms, every organization (be it civil, party, or government) with an embedded party committee or party group each had a corresponding CDI-style department.[52] The reforms consolidated all control and supervision resources, including finances and personnel, under the auspices of the prefecture- or county-level CDI, which became an 'umbrella supervision organ' of all the party-controlled organs in its area of jurisdiction and in the jurisdictions subordinate to it.[52] It also gave the CDI the institutional control over how it wanted to organize its personnel in the party organs it was tasked with overseeing.[52] This allowed for more efficient use of CDI resources and reduced the potential for conflicts of interest arising from CDI staff being a part of the daily operations of the party committee it was supposed to hold in check.[52]

The CCDI underwent another round of significant reforms under General Secretary Xi Jinping.[52] Xi and CCDI Secretary Wang Qishan set out to further institutionalize the CCDI's independence from the day-to-day operations of the party itself so it could better serve its role as a bona fide control organ.[52] At the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Central Committee held in the fall of 2013, the party declared that it would "strengthen the 'dual leadership' system [over the CCDI] by making it more defined, procedure-oriented, and institutionalized."[52] In practice, this signaled the intention of the leadership for CDIs across the country to begin operating in an ecosystem separate from the general party apparatus, with local CDIs being essentially responsible to higher level CDIs in almost all substantive aspects of its work.[52] Beginning in 2014, CDI chiefs across the country began to shed themselves of concurrent executive positions that could lead to a conflict of interest (for example, a CDI chief also serving as vice mayor, a department head, and so on); CDI personnel also began removing themselves from "leading groups" and other such policy coordination and consultation bodies.[52] The intent of these changes was so that CDI resources could "solely focus on the work of enforcing discipline".[52]

In 2014, for the first time in its history, the CCDI set up an internal "Office for the Supervision of Disciplinary System Officials" (纪检监察干部监督室).[53] The office acted as an internal check on officials of the CCDI to ensure that officials whose job it was to enforce discipline were not breaking rules themselves when conducting their work.[53] The office has jurisdiction over CDI officials at all administrative levels.[53] The CCDI stated that they intended to show "zero tolerance" towards CDI officials breaching discipline themselves, and that they will be "exposed by name in the media" should they break the rules.[53] In the same year, the CCDI set up offices in the organs directly reporting to the central committee, such as the Organization and Propaganda departments, and organs of the State Council.[54] These offices, known as "Commissioned Organs" (派驻机构), reported directly to the CCDI and were not responsible to the organs they were stationed at.[54]



The Secretary, formally called "First Secretary" during the term of Chen Yun (1978–87), is the head of the CCDI.[35] A person is elected to the CCDI secretaryship, deputy secretaryship and the secretary-generalship at the CCDI's 1st Plenary Session, held immediately after a national congress.[55] When a person is elected to the secretaryship, the CCDI proposes him to the 1st Plenary Session of a central committee, in which he can either be approved or rejected.[55] The CCDI Secretary has a number of deputies (elected the same way as the secretary);[55] currently there are eight deputy secretaries. Every CCDI Secretary since 2003 has concurrently served as the Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.[56]

Since the 1978 all the CCDI heads have been members of the PSC.[57] The exception being Wei Jianxing, who was not member of the PSC in 1992–97, but was a member in the period 1997–2002.[57] Following the 12th National Congress, a regulation was issued which stated that the CCDI must serve concurrently in the PSC, but this was rescinded in 1987 at the 13th National Congress by Zhao Ziyang.[24] While most of Zhao's reforms were themselves later rescinded, the regulation for PSC membership were not reintroduced until the 15th National Congress, held in 1997.[58]

The Standing Committee is the highest body when the CCDI is not in session.[55] It is elected by the 1st Plenary Session of the CCDI, and needs the approval of the 1st plenary session of the Central Committee to let the CCDI's officials-elect to take office.[55] The Standing Committee delivers a work report to the CCDI at every plenary session.[59] The CCDI is the only national level organization alongside the National People's Congress and the Central Committee which holds at least one plenary session a year.[48] The CCDI plenary sessions are usually held in January, and discusses the work of the CCDI in the period since the last plenary session and future work.[48] The 18th Standing Committee has 19 members, one of which is female (Huang Xiaowei).[60]

The CCDI employs around a thousand people.[61] Since the merger of the internal functions of the CCDI with the MOS in 1993, it has grown to encompass 27 bureaus and offices.[61] Of these, the Office for Discipline Inspection and Supervision, the Case Hearing Office and the Office for Circuit Inspection Work are the most important.[61] ODIS and its ten divisions are responsible for investigating breaches of Party discipline and unlawful acts committed by party members.[61] Of the ten, the first four are responsible for investigating cases at the vice-minister level and above, while the remaining six are responsible for investigating "officials at the level of provincial governor, vice-governor, chair and vice-chair of provincial standing committees of the National People’s Congress, chair and vice-chair of provincial Political Consultative Conferences, city mayors and deputies."[62]

Lower-levels and inspection teams[edit]

Below the central-level, the composition of the CDI is decided upon by the CDI at the level above, but the proposed composition must be endorsed by the party committee at the corresponding level and the level above it.[55] The decision of establishing discipline commissions at grassroots or local levels is decided by the party committee above.[55] The main duties and responsibilities of local CDIs are to educate Party members on their duties and rights, to preserve Party discipline, uphold the Party's decisions, oversee party members so that they exercise their duties in accordance with the party constitution, to examine cases, and to investigate corruption.[55] It should report on its finding and regularly give reports to the party committee at the corresponding level.[55] If a member of the local party standing committee is involved in corruption, the local CDI should ask both the party committee at the corresponding level and the CDI at the level above for approval to launch a full investigation.[55] Despite this, its very difficult for the CDIs to fulfil their responsibilities.[50] While the CDIs no longer need to seek the approval from the secretary of the party committee at the corresponding-level, its nearly as difficult to obtain the authorization from the party committees of investigative powers.[50] However, the 2004 reforms did strengthen the CDIs independence from the party committee—previously they had been elected by the corresponding party committee at their level, but from 2004, CDI membership was selected by the CDI at the level above.[63] The 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee held in 2013 reformed the CCDI structure again; from then on, every CDI became responsible directly to the CCDI.[64]

The Office for Circuit Inspection Work sends inspection teams throughout the country to help the work of the local CDIs.[65] In 2003 five inspection teams existed, by 2013 it had grown to 12.[65] In 2010 the CCDI was allowed to send inspection teams to the People's Liberation Army.[65] Despite this, there are several weaknesses, most importantly the "vague institutional positions, incrementally declining effects as time goes by, vulnerability to patron-clientelism or guanxi network at the grassroots level, and the dilemma of 'open' or 'undercover’ investigation'".[65] The teams initiate both regular and intensive inspection of party organizations at all levels.[65] In the eyes of many in the provinces, the CCDI and its inspection teams functions as a "tribunal of justice"—gives verdicts to the guilty and exonerates the innocent.[65]

Work with other institutions[edit]

Central Military Commission[edit]

The military has its own discipline enforcement body modeled on the CCDI known as the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Military Commission (军委纪委; Junwei Jiwei; CMCCDI).[66] The CMCCDI has "dual responsibility" to the CCDI and the Central Military Commission.[66] The membership of the CMCCDI is selected by the Central Military Commission.[66] The first military disciplinary organ was established in 1955, but was dissolved during the Cultural Revolution.[66] The modern incarnation of the CMCCDI was formed in January 1980 under the direction of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.[66] Since 1990, the DICCMC's work has largely been carried out by the PLA's General Political Department, the supreme political organ of the military.[66] The head of the CMCDIC is customarily also the deputy chief of the General Political Department, and since the 16th Party Congress in 2002, concurrently a Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.[66]

The CCDI has occasionally directly intervened in cases dealing with high-ranking officers in the People's Liberation Army. However, the direct involvement of the CCDI has only been cited in high-profile cases, such as those of Lieutenant General Wang Shouye in 2005, and Lieutenant General Gu Junshan in 2012.[66] Usually, once the CMCCDI completes an investigation, the case is handed onto military prosecution authorities or to a court martial.[66] Unlike CCDI cases, conclusions of which are generally publicly announced in the form of a press release, specific details about cases under the sole jurisdiction of the CMCCDI rarely appear on the public record.[66] Occasionally, the CMCCDI will conduct the "initial investigation" into the purported wrongdoings of a military officer, and then hand over to the case to the CCDI for "further investigation".[66]

Ministry of Supervision[edit]

Further information: Ministry of Supervision

The Ministry of Supervision (MOS) was established on the orders of the State Council in 1987 to supervise "government departments, state organs and public officials, and maintaining administrative discipline."[67] From its very inception the jurisdiction of MOS was unclear because the majority of personnel in government and state organs were also party officials, and therefore fell under the purview of the CCDI.[67] Before 1987 the CCDI had been responsible for issuing administrative sanctions on public officials.[67] The CCDI was responsible for enforcing party discipline and the MOS for enforcing state law and in theory "the two agencies operated in separate spheres".[67] In reality it was not as clear-cut; since the majority of public servants were party members it was normal for the MOS and the CCDI to establish separate investigations on the same person.[67] Over the years joint investigations been the two became a normal occurrence, but the CDIs (and sometimes the CCDI) claimed primary jurisdiction over cases on important party figures and tried to prevent the MOS from accomplishing its work.[67] To solve this problem, the MOS and the CCDI were effectively merged in 1993–1994.[68] While the organizational identity remained separate, the internal offices of the MOS were merged into the CCDI's office.[68] From then on the CCDI has led the work of the MOS, with the Minister of Supervision also customarily holding the concurrent post of the Deputy Secretary of the CCDI.[69] The Ministry of Supervision and the CCDI share the same website.[70]

Duties and responsibilities[edit]

Inner-party supervision[edit]

The CCDI (and its local affiliates) enforces the inner-party supervision system.[71] While the inner-party supervision system has a history dating back to the 1970s–1980s, it was not formally institutionalized until the promulgation of the "Internal Supervision Regulation" (ISR) in 2004.[72] The ISR reaffirmed the powers of the CCDI, institutionalized the central inspection teams, and clearly separated the decision-making institutions from the supervisory institutions of the party.[73] With the promulgation of the ISR the CPC, for the first time in its history, issued a list of the personal responsibilities of members which were subject to oversight by the CCDI and its local affiliates.[74] While the supervision of members was nothing new, information on what was supervised and for what reasons was.[74] While it is known that every party member is subject to supervision, the ISR stresses that leading cadres were to be the main focus.[74] This was probably in reaction to the fact that no institutions except the central party leadership had the de facto institutional ability (including the local CDIs) to supervise lower-level party institutions.[74]

The ISR defines three forms of inner-party supervision: top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top and peer-to-peer.[75] Of the three, the bottom-to-top is the least institutionalized.[76] It was presented as being the moral – but not institutional responsibility – of ordinary party members.[76] The mechanism for lodging complaints against higher-level party officials or proposing their dismissal were not specified.[76] Indeed the main problem, as Ting Gong contends, was that if an ordinary party member lodges a complaint or accuses an official of corruption, "there is no guarantee that personal petitions will be accommodated or even processed as they are subject to further investigation and the approval of higher-level authorities".[76]

The top-to-bottom supervision system requires party committees at higher-levels to supervise the work of party committees at lower-levels.[77] According to the ISR, the central party leadership should check on their work by regularly sending central inspection teams to the regions, state organs, or state-owned enterprises.[75] The structure of central inspection teams were reformed by the ISR; prior to its promulgation, they were ad-hoc institutions used in the fight against corruption.[76] The ISR introduced formal criteria on how to join a central inspection teams while empowering their investigative authority.[76]

Peer-to-peer supervision is defined as regularly convening "democratic life meetings" and the duty for standing committees to regularly report their work to the party committee to whom they are theoretically responsible.[78] The main aim of peer-to-peer supervision is to strengthen party members subjective responsibility by making them feel collectively responsible for the party as a whole.[71] This system is supervised by the party committee and the CDI at the next higher-level.[71]


The jurisdiction of the party discipline inspection system mirrors that of the Ministry of Supervision (MOS), with the CCDI being responsible for cases involving breaches of party discipline and breaches to state law made by Party members.[79] Like the MOS, the CCDI lacks judicial authority.[79] It is therefore limited to investigating allegations of corruption and breaches Party discipline.[79] Since the CCDI does not have the power to prosecute, its supposed to transfer cases (after a successful investigation into the matter) to either the Supreme People's Procuratorate or the Supreme People's Court.[79] Despite this, the formal jurisdiction of the CCDI is loosely defined.[79] The CDIs abilities to initiate investigations and administer party punishment has often led to the slow transfer (and sometimes no transfer at all) of cases to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.[80]

Graham Young contends that the CCDI's "responsibilities as including deal with four types of offences: [w]ork mistakes, [p]olitical mistakes, [l]ine mistakes [and] [c]ounter-revolutionary actions".[81] According to Andrew Wederman, by lookin at the "offences based on annual reports by provincial DICs contained in provincial yearbooks", states its responsibility include 20 types of offences; "[a]rbitrary and dictatorial exercise of power, [a]narchism, [f]actionalism, [f]avouritism, [i]nsubordination, [h]eterodoxy (such as bourgeois spiritual pollution, leftism), [p]rivilege seeking, [n]epotism and use of Party authority to advance their families, friends and relatives, [b]ureaucratism, [a]dministrative inefficiency, [c]ommandism, [h]oarding, [p]etty corruption, [f]raud, [e]mbezzlement, [t]heft, [s]muggling, [b]ribery, [i]llegal acquisition of and dealing in foreign exchange [and] [w]asting and squandering public funds".[81] According to Jeffrey Becker "CDIC handbooks and regulations typically list six general types of mistakes (cuowu); political, economic, organizational, dereliction of one’s duty, opposition to the party’s socialist morals, and violations of integrity laws and regulations."[82] The CCDI covers the same areas as the MOS, but has more responsibilities since its obligated to prevent breaches of party rules, norms and other non-criminal behaviour.[81] The party's constitution vaguely defines the CCDI's jurisdiction;[83]

"Resolutely implement the Party’s basic line, principles, and policies… correctly exercise the powers entrusted to them by the people, be honest and upright, work hard for the people, make themselves an example, carry forward the style of hard work and plain living, forge closes ties with the masses, uphold the Party’s mass line, accept criticism and supervision by the masses, oppose bureaucratism, and oppose the unhealthy trend of abusing one’s power for personal gain."[83]

Petition system, investigative procedures and Shuanggui[edit]

For a case to be investigated a person needs to sent a petition the CCDI.[84] While the main petition office is the Complaints Office, petitions are usually sent to other offices and institutions as well, such as the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, the National People's Congress and to members of the party leadership as high as the PSC.[84] Other petitions are sent via the CCDI's own website.[84] The CCDI also receives cases through the Office for Circuit Inspection Work, which sends inspections team throughout the country.[84] In one of the cases Li Huiran (a former ODIS Third Division director and Director of the Case Hearing Office) was responsible for, the petition had been sent to all department heads in the ministry in which the petitioner was employed, to several offices within the CCDI, to Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji and Wei Jianxing (all four being PSC members).[84]

An investigation goes through eighth steps; "preliminary evidence and complaint management, preliminary confirmation of disciplinary violations, approval for opening the case, investigation and evidence collection, case hearing, implementation of disciplinary sanctions, appeal by the disciplined official, and continued supervision and management of the case".[85] The first stage begins with receiving a petition, and is formally accepted when the CCDI has proof (or at least suspicious) of wrongdoing.[85] This process depends on the rank of the accused; if the person is of vice-ministerial or deputy governatorial rank the investigation has to be approved first by the CCDI Standing Committee.[85] If it gets approved, the CCDI Standing Committee will ask for permission from the PSC for a full investigation.[85] While an investigation of a provincial party leader has to be accepted by the Politburo.[85] If a member of the Politburo or the PSC is to be investigated, it needs the full backing of the PSC membership and of retired leaders who previously held top posts.[85] When the case is formally approved, the suspect is sent into Shuanggui, literally "double designation", that is, the subject must present themselves at a "designated location at a designated time." During Shuanggui, the subject is interrogated about specific disciplinary violations.[85] The duration of stay in Shuanggui is unspecified, and the individual is not protected by the state legal system.[85] This system gives the CCDI precedence over the state legal system when investigating the crimes of party cadres.[85] It has been argued by the Chinese media that the Shuanggui system was instituted so that the suspected party cadre won't be protected by his more powerful patron or a network (guanxi).[85] Scholars, like Ting Gong and Connie Meaney, generally agree that guanxi is a real threat to the CCDI's investigative teams.[86] The cadres under investigation are then the subject of an "off-side detention" so as "to prevent interference from 'local protectionism' and 'factionalism'" and guanxi network to prevent the integrity of the investigation to be threatened.[87]

The accuse is then detained in an unspecified location in which the person is accompanied by an "accompanying protector" (as they are referred to in official pronouncement) who look after the individual to ensure that the person does not commit suicide.[87] An accompanying protector, who has three shifts a day, is with the individual for 24-hours a day.[87] Usually 6–9 individuals work to look after one individual.[87] The Shuanggui system does not use corporal punishment and the accused is, in theory, treated with respect until they are proven guilty.[87] Despite corporal punishment in Shuanggui being illegal, it "can easily occur because all basic procedural guarantees are removed as soon as shuanggui begins" according to Flora Sapio.[87] Problems with the Shuanggui process, such as extracting forced confessions, have occurred at local CDIs where the officials were not properly trained.[87] Cases in which the Shuanggui system has garnered controversy have generally occurred in areas controlled by local CDIs.[88]


"Party regulations and Party discipline are stricter than State laws, all levels’ Party organizations and the broad Party members and cadres must not only be models of abiding by State laws, they must also put strict demands on themselves according to the even higher standards of Party regulations and Party discipline, they must strengthen their ideals and convictions, put the purpose of the Party into practice, and firmly struggle with acts violating law and discipline. Acts violating Party regulations and Party discipline must be dealt with severely, symptomatic and tendentious problems must be grasped early, when they are small, in order to prevent that small mistakes ferment into big mistakes, and violation of discipline becomes violation of the law."

18th CPC Central Committee's "Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Moving Governing the Country According to the law Forward" (published in 2014).[89]

DICs at every level have the power of issuing and interpreting regulations.[90] This is one of their most important duties.[90] In recent years, the CCDI has issued several regulations on behalf of the central committee, among them "Inner Supervision Regulation" in 2004, "The Regulations on Inner-Party Supervision" in 2005, the "Provisions on the CCP’s Disciplinary Penalties” (2005), “Provisions about Establishing the Responsibility System for Party Construction and Clean Government" in 2005, and "interim Stipulations Leading Cadres’ Integrity Report" in 2006.[91]

The importance of law in the struggle against corruption has been highlighted ever since the early 1980s.[92] Deng pointed out in 1980 that the anti-corruption effort was a political struggle which needed to be fought within an institutionalised environment to be successful.[92] At the 4th Plenary Session of the 15th CCDI, held in 2000, Jiang drew a similar conclusion "the most important thing is to uphold and improve a system of institutions which can guarantee the Party’s strong leadership and socialist prosperity, and make sure that the system is functioning by means of laws, regulations, policies and education."[93] Despite this, until the 16th National Congress, the CPC's anti-corruption system was based around campaign-style events rather than formal procedures.[93] This is partially to be blamed on the Yan'an Rectification Movement of the 1940s and its legacy.[93] The idea that campaigns, and not institutions, were the best weapon against corruption dominated under Deng.[93] This is best seen with the establishment of the Central Party Rectification Steering Committee in the 1980s.[93] It could be argued that this was the CPC's central leaderships preferred way to combat corruption since it was largely dependent on them to enforce it.[93] The sharp increase in corrupt activities throughout the 1990s led the party to change course.[93]

15th CCDI under Wei Jianxing reviewed an estimiated 1,600 party regulations and documents concerning corruption in the lead up to the 16th National Congress; of these an estimated 1,100 were still considered viable to present circumstances.[94] In the same period it published the "Plan for Building Honest Morals and Controlling Corruption from 2004 to 2007" and published six volumes of the "Complete Regulations on Building Honest Morals and Controlling Corruption within the Party" in its effort to institutionalize the party's anti-corruption system.[94] In an effort to formalize procedures, the 16th CCDI Standing Committee passed stipulations which called for all local CDIs to combat corruption through lawful methods.[94] To signal its serious intentions, the CCDI together with the CPC's Organization Department, the MOS and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission jointly issued the “Regulations on Honestly Conducting Business by Leaders of the State-Run Enterprises" in 2005.[94] Shao Daosheng, a CPC analyst, contends "[that] the pace of institutional building of anti-corruption by the CCP has been unprecedented."[95]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Chinese, the organ is commonly abbreviated as Zhongjiwei (中纪委). In English, the name of the organ has been translated as "the Central Discipline Inspection Commission" (CDIC).
  2. ^ According to Viktor Afanasyev, a leading official in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, scientific management means "The systematically exercised, conscious and purposeful influence by man on the social system as a whole or on its separate aspects ... on the basis of knowledge and use of the objective laws of socialism and its progressive trends, in order to ensure its effective functioning and development."[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gong 2008, p. 141.
  2. ^ Gong 2008, pp. 141–142.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gong 2008, p. 142.
  4. ^ a b c Guo 2014, p. 599.
  5. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 600.
  6. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 600–601.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Sullivan 1984, p. 601.
  8. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 601–602.
  9. ^ Sullivan 1984, pp. 602–603.
  10. ^ a b c d Sullivan 1984, p. 603.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Young 1984, p. 26.
  12. ^ a b c Sullivan 1984, pp. 603–604.
  13. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 604.
  14. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 604–605.
  15. ^ a b c Sullivan 1984, p. 606.
  16. ^ a b c Sullivan 1984, p. 598.
  17. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 613.
  18. ^ a b Young 1984, p. 30.
  19. ^ Sullivan 1984, pp. 613–614.
  20. ^ Sullivan 1984, pp. 608.
  21. ^ Sullivan 1984, pp. 607.
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  23. ^ Sullivan 1984, pp. 610.
  24. ^ a b c d e Guo 2014, p. 601.
  25. ^ Ma 2008, pp. 158–159.
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  28. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 599.
  29. ^ Sullivan 1984, p. 597–598.
  30. ^ Sandle 1998, p. 258.
  31. ^ Young 1984, p. 25.
  32. ^ a b c d e Sullivan 1984, p. 602.
  33. ^ Young 1984, pp. 26–27.
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  52. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "31个省级纪委改革方案获批复 12省已完成纪委"重建"". Xinjing Daily via Xinhua. June 13, 2014. 
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  57. ^ a b Madison 2014, p. 231.
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  59. ^ "Xi Jinping vows "power within cage of regulations"". International Department of the Communist Party of China. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
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  64. ^ Li, Eric (10 January 2014). "Party of the Century: How China is Reorganizing for the Future". Foreign Affairs. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
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  70. ^ "Official Website of the CCDI and MOS". Central Commission for Discipline Inspection / Ministry of Supervision. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
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  73. ^ Gong 2009, p. 57.
  74. ^ a b c d Gong 2009, p. 53.
  75. ^ a b Gong 2009, pp. 54–55.
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  79. ^ a b c d e Wederman 2004, p. 905.
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Articles, journal entries

External links[edit]