Skip to main content

Chinese Communist Party Standards on Integrity and Self-Restraint - comment.

-->
The Chinese Communist Party Standards on Integrity and Self Restraint (the Standards - here, in Chinese) were adopted by the CCP Central Committee on October 12, together with the CCP Regulations on Disciplinary Punishments (here, in Chinese). This post offers a short and very simple commentary on the Standards. 

Together with the Regulations on Disciplinary Punishment, the Standards are one of the most important pieces of Party legislation. The Regulations on Disciplinary Punishment define certain conducts as violations of Party discipline and specify the punishment associated with each one of them. The Standards, as they were enacted in 1997 (here - Chinese) and amended in February 2010 (here - in Chinese), aimed at "regulating the honest performance of official duties" (规范廉政从政行为). 

As I have explained elsewhere, the Standards did more than specify a set of principles of conducts Party cadres should have followed: they proscribed a broad range of behaviors. Most of the behaviors proscribed by the Standards however duplicated conducts defined as criminal offenses by the Criminal Law of the PRC. The overlaps between Party legislation and the Criminal Law were among the factors that allowed a considerable discretion in the punishment of erring cadres. Overlaps were not entirely inconsistent with the rules on inner-Party law making, as these rules were effective until recently. Between 1990 and 2012, intra-Party rule making was regulated by the CCP Regulations on the procedure to enact intra-Party rules (for trial implementation). This document did not pose any requirements about consistency between Party rules and regulations and the state law. 

Things changed in 2012, when article 7 of the CCP Regulations on Enacting Party Rules and Regulations  specified the principles that should guide intra-Party rule making. These are:

(1) starting from the developmental needs of the cause of the Party and from the realities of Party building;
(2) implementing the Party's theory and line, principles and policies taking the Party Statute os the fundamental basis;
(3) complying with provisions that the Party must conduct its activities within the scope of the [State] Constitution and the law;

(4) meeting the needs of scientific governance, democratic governance, governance on the basis of the law;
(5) advancing the institutionalization, regulatization, proceduralization of Party construction;
(6) upholding democratic centralism, give full play to inner-Party democracy, safeguard the unity of the Party;
(7) safeguarding the unity and authoritativeness of the system of Party laws and regulations;
(8) privileging ease of use and avoid complexity and redundancies
Conflicts and overlaps between the Standards and the Criminal Law violated principles (3) and (8). The 2015 amendment to the Standards has solved most of these problems by reducing the number of provisions from eighteen to eight, and introducing fundamental changes in their substantive content. 

"Standards", the 2012 Regulations on Party rules say, are a category of Party rules that "make basic provisions on the political life of the Party, its organizational life, and the conduct of Party members." (art. 4). Besides,"perfecting the construction of a system of morality for Party members and cadres" is among the goals of the current intra-Party legislative plan  (section 3, paragraph 3).

The Standards look closer to a code of ethics for Party members and Party cadres, than to any other piece of legislation on Party discipline. Adherence to the ethical standards set for members of the CCP after all is a fundamental component of what the 2012 Regulations call "political life". Given the requirements of "political life" and the opportunities for unethical behavior are in part determined by the rank a cadres occupies, the Standards are divided in two sections:

- regulating Party members' integrity and self-discipline
- regulating leading cadres' integrity and self-discipline

Each one of the two sections poses four behavioral prescriptions, which are expressed using political rather than legal language: "uphold the distinction between public and private; the public comes first, the private comes next; sacrificing yourself for the public", or "use power with integrity; protect the fundamental interest of the people" and so on. 

One should not be tempted to dismiss the Standards as a mere exercise in political rhetoric. Together with the amended version of the Regulations on Disciplinary Punishment, as well as other legislative and regulatory documents, they have given legal form to Xi Jinping's theory of the "Four Comprehensives". Even though the short preamble to the Standards does not reference the Four Comprehensives, the Notice with which both the Standards and the Regulations were issued makes it clear that the two regulations embody "comprehensively strictly governing the Party" and introduce a partially new and  different set of ethical and behavioral standards. 
















Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Internship Opportunities at the Foundation for Law and International Affairs

I am delighted to share a call for internship issued by the Foundation for Law and International Affairs, an organization I am a proud member of.



FLIA Internship Opportunity

We are looking for interns from all over the world.

Who we are and what we do
FLIA is an independent nonprofit organization established in Washington, DC in 2015. As an educational and consultative think tank, FLIA is devoted to promoting global communication, cooperation, and education in the field of law and international affairs. The areas on which FLIA focuses include comparative law and culture, international crime and judicial assistance, courts and tribunals, social responsibility and sustainable development, global economics and world trade, international relations and multilateral diplomacy, global security and governance, and human rights. FLIA conducts various programs such as FLIA Conference, FLIA Dialogue, FLIA Insight, FLIA Youth, FLIA Publication, and FLIA Blog. 
Why be a FLIA intern
If you are seeking to…

A Short Response to a Reader

This post provides a short and simple response to a question I received about my short essay "民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”  (available here for those who may like to read it in Chinese, and here for those who may like to read it in English). The question was received on the "法律与国际事务学会" Wechat group, following the circulation of this short essay on Chinese-language internet groups and websites. 

I am publishing my short and simple reply here because the question may be of interest to persons other than the reader who asked it (and whom shall remain anonymous). Also, my essay was written for the sole purpose of academic research and communication therefore, there is no reason why I should provide my answer within the 'four walls' of a social media group.
Question: In your commentary, you wrote “in 1957, Liu Shaoqi suggested to use the words ‘militant bastions’ in article 19 of the Constitution of the CPC to refer to the function of primary organizations, rather than to their …

Short Essay: 民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”

The following short essay was produced as part of a series of commentaries on the General Provisions of Civil Law authored for the Chinese and Western public. It examines how the General Provisions of Civil Law can contribute to the construction of a transnational rule of law framework for the Belt and Road Initiative. In the essay, I discuss the General Provisions of Civil Law in relation to the legal status of Party groups in SOEs, private enterprises, and social organizations (including NGOs and Foundations) operating in China and in Western countries. My most heartfelt thanks go to Luo Qiyue and Huang Linlin, for their outstanding translation of my essay. 




民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路” 作者:Flora Sapio1

自党的十八大以来,国家采取了数个措施来增强党在国有企业、私有企业和社会组织中的权威。2013年《中央党内法规制定工作五年规划纲要(2013—2017年)》第二条要求规范和完善党组工作制度,并且制定有关党组工作的党内法规。2014年党的十八届三中全会亦提出要加强建设以提供服务,学习及创新为导向的党组。
为了应对经济发展所提出的一系列全新需求,强化党组是必不可少的。这些新的需求包括加强对公司的内部审计、监督公司高层以及员工行为的合法性、寻找多种途径解决劳动纠纷以及更好地向公众提供公共服务等。
为了使得党组在上述及其他领域发挥根本性作用,党的十八届中央委员会创建了一个法律框架来规范党组构成及其活动。…