08.09.2015 - 00:00:00
Professor Flemming Christiansen, Ph.D. took part in "The Party and the World Dialogues 2015" in Beijing, September 8th-10th.
Convened by the China Center for Contemporary World Studies and the International Cooperation Department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the dialogue theme was "To Discipline the Party: Responsibility of the Party."
The dialogue is part of a process by which the Communist Party of China (CPC) opens up and engages in debates with politicians, administrators and scholars from across the world on strategic issues of governance. This years' dialogue focused on how the CPC can deal with and prevent corruption and other forms of wrongdoing by party and government officials. Formerly shrouded in secrecy, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has already begun a process of making its procedures more transparent and of international collaboration. The participants in the dialogue visited the offices of a new website with a large staff specialized in receiving reports from whistle-blowers across China, and were invited as audience in a corruption case in a local court in Beijing.
The foreign participants included dignitaries such as former South African President Thabo Mbeki, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, and the former Minster of Defence of Germany Rudolf Scharping.
The ubiquitous presence of corruption across the world was at the centre of discussions, and its global nature was commented on -- it is a phenomenon that must be dealt with in global cooperation.
A major highlight of the dialogue was a speech and conversation in the Great Hall of the People with Wang Qishan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC and the Party Secretary in charge of the Central Commission for Party Discipline. He emphasised that anti-corruption enduavours were not and could not be a "movement," but were to become an integral part of all policy making in China, core to upholding the legitimacy of the CPC.
The recent initiatives of the CPC to openly discuss corruption and to ensure the publication of and adherence to clear and transparent rules are remarkable. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (in charge of Party regulations) is integrated with the Ministry of Supervision (dealing with transgressions of administrative law) and communicates with the state procuracurate (in charge of initiating criminal prosecution). The stated policy is that criminal and administrative law proceedings against Party members are not delayed by disciplinary proceedings.
The dilemmas in Chinese anti-corruption efforts are great. Popular perceptions of corrupt behaviour may not always match the laws and formal rules; media still have limited insight into procedures in corruption cases; we will still need to see whether the whistle-blower website can strengthen the people's resolve to report misbehaviour by holders of public office. After all, the existing complaints procedures (the "letters and visits" departments) have in large measure proven inadequate. Yet, the recent openness bodes well.