Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
|Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China
The emblem of the Communist Party of China
since 15 November 2012
since 15 November 2012
CPC National Congress
|Central Commission for Discipline Inspection|
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC)[note 1] is 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 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 the 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.
The control system was established in 1927 as the Central Control Commission (CCC), literally translated as Central Commission for Supervision. It went through a number of reorganizations and name changes; it was known as the Central Commission for Supervision, Central Commission for Examination and the Central Party Affairs Commission amongst others. Upon establishing the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in 1949, there were several differences from its predecessors. 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). In reality, the CCDI was established to check all party organs (with the exception of the party).
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The CCDI was not a powerful institution in its early years. It focused mainly on abuses made by senior party officials and party veterans, the CCDI itself was barely mentioned in this period as investigating or solving these problems. The few times CCDI inspectors were mentioned by the press, their failures were highlighted. It was not powerful enough to topple party officials in the provinces, despite getting the formal support of Mao Zedong and the Central Committee. 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." 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. In reaction to the Gao Gang–Rao Shushi Affair, the CCDI was abolished and replaced with the CCC.
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. Its powers waned during the Great Leap Forward, but became the main weapons in the leaps aftermath to combat corruption and to reverse verdicts on the rightists (alongside the Secretariat and the Organization Department). The CCC retained its newfound role until the Cultural Revolution, when it suffered from purges (because of the CCC's close ties to Peng Zhen). At the 9th National Congress (held in 1969) the system was abolished (was not mentioned in the amended party constitution), and was replaced by special case organs, which were to be formed under the leadership of Mao and Kang Sheng. Despite its formal abolishment at the 9th National Congress, little criticism was directed at the CCC during the Cultural Revolution. 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. Talk of a control system would not resurface until after Mao's death and the Gang of Four's arrest.
The 11th National Congress formally reestablished the CCDI The newly established CCDI had three goals; remove the social basis of the gang of four, second was to implement the leadership's cadre policy and to remove "despotic" local party secretaries, and third to reverse faulty verdicts made during the Cultural Revolution. Due to the power struggle between Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng, the control system was not implemented in the period 1977–1978. 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. In the immediate aftermath of the 3rd Plenary Session, the CCDI convened its 1st Plenary Session and elected Chen Yun its First Secretary, Deng Yingchao as Second Secretary, Hu Yaobang as Third Secretary and Huang Kecheng as its Permanent Secretary. The election of these men (and others) were purely symbolic, and the new CCDI consisted generally of men who had never been involved in control affairs (and consisted overwhelmingly of members who were considered to young to be taken seriously). 1st Plenary Session maintained that the CCDI had three overarching goals. First "protect party members' rights", enfore 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. Second, it would combat corrupt tendencies in the party and would handle complaints by individuals.
While the press and the CCDI itself (through its own journal) highlighted its fight against corruption, it was powerless against "local despots". Indeed, in the early-1980s, the 11th Central Committee was forced to enact emergency measures to combat corruption. Instead of fighting corrupt officials, the CCDI's local branches focused on the rank-and-file members. It was used as an organizational weapon against the leftists (those who had either risen up during the Cultural Revolution or supported it) and the rightists (who supported bourgeoisie democracy). 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. According to scholar Xuezhi Guo's own estimation, "From 1992 to 2009, China brought disciplinary sanctions against approximately 2 million personnel". 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." In 2009 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. In 2014, the CCDI began setting up offices, for the first time in its history, in the central committee and the State Council.
The Chinese control system was inspired by the Soviet control institutions, most notably the Party Control Committee (PCC). The Soviet PCC was established to cure the party's bureaucratic ills according to Vladimir Lenin, but developed into a tool controlled by the party's general secretary and its secretaries. Despite this, the control 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. 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". While the party constitution mentioned a "control commission", the actual system was not in place until 1949. The CCDI was a cumbersome institutions, in which 27 different steps needed to be made before an official could be placed under formal investigation. Other problems were institutional; the CCDI did not have its own organization below the provincial level (the inspector teams at level being responsible to the local party committee).
In reaction to the CCDI's failures, the 1955 National Conference established the CCC. The delegates noted that the major 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 the a control commission (CC) at one level and once at higher levels. This institutional balance in favour of the party committee had led Gao Gang and Rao Shushi of packing the local commission for discipline inspection (CDI) with loyalists who had no interest in carrying-out their institutional responsibility. The CCs were granted the power to appeal to the decisions of the committee at their corresponding level, and obliged to report their work to the CC at the higher level. Unlike the CCDI it had organs below the provincial level. 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. Likewise, the CCC had the power to initiate investigations against unreliable elements as it saw fit. Formal bonds were created with the Ministry of Supervision 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".
In the end, the main goal of these reforms were to strengthen the autonomy of the CCs from the local ruling committees, and to safeguard the powers of the centre, which had been threatened during the Gao Gang–Rao Shushi Affair. However, the party leadership backtracked, and at the 8th National Congress the autonomy of the CCC and the CCs were reduced. 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 CCs were to be given "special rights" to carry out their duties was considered the polar-opposite of collegial decision-making. The CCC was abolished at 9th Congress, and reestablished at the 11th National Congress (held in 1977). 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 upwards and Party committees in the army units at the regimental level and upwards should set up commissions for inspecting discipline. 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. 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.
During the 1980s, according to Lawrence Sullivan, the CCDI's lack of independence was seen as a problem by some. They argued that the CCDI should be independent from the Central Committee and should not involve itself in its power struggles. This was opposed by the CCDI leadership itself, with Huang stating that loyalty to the Central Committee was "more important" then fighting corruption. Despite this, the chief problem during the early 1980s was the CCDI local organs link with the local ruling committees. 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 committees proposed composition. This made the local CDI responsible to the committee at their level, and not the CCDI as a whole. 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. 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.
Because of the institutionalized structure it was close to impossible for the CCDI to carry out its work. 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 not apply to them. These problems were widespread, and led Third Secretary who to claim that "considerable and, in some cases, shocking obstructions in the [CCDI's] work [occurred often]." 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. 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." 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). 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. 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 next) and to the CDI at the higher level. Each CDI elects a Standing Committee, but the 12th National Congress still retained the regulation which stated that the elected Standing Committee needed to get the endorsement of the party committee at the corresponding level. This explains why the CCDI, which is elected by the National Congress (and not Central Committee, as it was previously), remains subordinated to the Central Committee. 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.
In contrast to the 12th National Congress, the 13th National Congress (in 1987) weakened the powers of the CCDI. The reformist General Secretary Zhao 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. 49 CCDI discipline inspection groups in central ministries and central party organs were abolished at the congress (that is, 75 percent of all discipline inspection groups), and the CCDI's chief lost the right to have a seat in the Politburo Standing Committee. In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations Zhao's reforms were rescinded, and the abolished CCDI inspection groups were reestablished. 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." The 14th National Congress (held in 1992) strengthened the CCDI and local CDIs power of investigation. According to the amended party constitution, local CDIs could initiate preliminary investigations against standing committee of the local party committee at the corresponding level before a formal investigation be started. If a full investigation is 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. In 1995 its powers were strengthened further, with each CDI being given the responsibility to vet officials before their appointment to a selected post. The system of "dual leadership" was reformed in 2004. From then on the CDI also became responsible to the CDI at the level above—this in effect weakened the institutional ties between the CDI and the party committee at the corresponding level.
The Secretary, formally First Secretary in the period 1978–87 when Chen Yun served, is the CCDI head. 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. 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 disapproved. The CCDI Secretary has a number of deputies (elected the same way as the secretary); currently there are eight deputy secretaries. Since its establishment every CCDI Secretary has concurrently served as the Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.
Since the 1978 all the CCDI heads have been members of the PSC. The exception being Wei Jianxing, who was not member of the PSC in 1992–97, but was in the period 1997–2002. In the aftermath of the 12th National Congress, a regulation was issued which stated that the CCDI had to serve concurrently in the PSC, but this was rescinded in 1987 at the 13th National Congress by Zhao. While most of his reforms were rescinded, the regulation for PSC membership were not reintroduced until the 15th National Congress (held in 1997).
The Standing Committee is the highest body when the CCDI is not in session. It is elected by the 1st Plenary Session of the CCDI, and needs the approval of the 1st plenary session of a central committee to let the CCDI's elects take office. It delivers a work report to the CCDI at every plenum. Currently, the 18th Standing Committee has 19 members, one of which is female (Huang Xiaowei).
The CCDI employs an estimated 1,000 people. Since the merger of the internal functions of the CCDI with the Ministry of Supervision in 1993, it has grown to encompass 27 bureaus and offices. Of these, the Office for Discipline Inspection and Supervision, the Case Hearing Office and the Office for Circuit Inspection Work are the most important. ODIS and its ten divisions are responsible for investigating breaches of Party discipline and unlawful acts committed by party members. 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."
Petition system, investigative procedures and shuanggui
For a case to be investigated a person needs to sent a petition the CCDI. 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. Other petitions are sent via the CCDI's own website. The CCDI also receives cases through the Office for Circuit Inspection Work, which sends inspections team throughout the country. 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).
Before an investigation is initiated, eighth preliminary steps have to be made; "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". The first stage begins with receiving a petition, and is formally accepted when the CCDI has proof (or at least suspicious) of wrongdoing. 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. If it gets approved, the CCDI Standing Committee will ask for permission from the PSC for a full investigation. While an investigation of a provincial party leader has to be accepted by the Politburo. 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. When the case is formally approved, the suspect is sent into shuanggui, literally "double restraint", in which the person is interrogated. The duration of stay in shuanggui is unspecified, and the individual is not protected by the state legal system. This system gives the CCDI precedence over the state legal system when investigating the crimes of party cadres. 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). Scholars, like Ting Gong and Connie Meaney, generally agree that guanxi is a real threat to the CCDI's investigative teams. 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.
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. An accompanying protector, who has three shifts a day, is with the individual for 24-hours a day. Usually 6–9 individuals work to look after one individual. The shuanggui system does not use corporal punishment and the accused is taken good care of until he's been proven guilty. Despite capital 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. The problem with the shuanggai is highligted at the local CDIs were the officials are not properly trained. Cases in which the shuanggai system as garnered controversy have happened in areas controlled by the local CDIs.
Lower-levels and inspection teams
Below the central-level, the composition of the CID is decided upon by the CID at the level above, but the proposed composition has to be endorsed by the party committee at the corresponding level and the one above. The decision of establishing discipline commissions at grassroots or local levels is decided by the party committee above. The local DICs main duties and responsibilities 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. It should report on its finding and regularly give reports to the party committee at the corresponding level. If a member of the standing committee of the local party committee is involved in corruption, the local CDI should ask both the party committee at the corresponding level and the CID at the level above for approval to launch a full investigation. Despite this, its very difficult for the CDIs to fulfil their responsibilities. 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. 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 then on the CDIs membership was elected by the CDI at the level above. The 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee (held in 2013) reformed the CCDI structure yet again; from now on every CDI reports directly to the CCDI.
The Office for Circuit Inspection Work sends inspection teams throughout the country to help the work of the local CDIs. In 2003 five inspection teams existed, by 2013 it had grown to 12. In 2010 the CCDI was allowed to sent inspection teams to the People's Liberation Army. 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'". The teams initiate both regular and intensive inspection of party organizations at all levels. 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.
- Ministry of Supervision of the People's Republic of China
- Central Auditing Commission of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
- It is often referred to in Chinese as Zhongjiwei, 中纪委
- Sometimes referred to as the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC).
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