The Communist Party issued two sets of guidelines and regulations tightening its grip on cadres’ political conduct on Wednesday, calling on members of the decision-making Central Committee to report on each other’s discipline violations.
Party chief Xi Jinping explained the new rules by saying that senior cadres, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee, should take the lead in setting a good example of political conduct.
The documents were adopted during the Central Committee’s sixth plenum, which wrapped up last week. One set of the documents covers cadres’ political conduct; the other dictates internal party supervision.
“Members of the Central Committee should strictly abide by political discipline and rules,” one of the documents said, adding that any Central Committee members who failed to adhere to the rules should be reported to the party’s central authority.
There are more than 350 full and alternate members in the party’s powerful Central Committee, including most of the cadres above the ministerial or provincial level.
“To report on members of the Politburo, submit a letter under [your] real name to the Standing Committees of the Politburo or the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection,” the document said. It added that internal party supervision had to be strengthened, preventing discipline problems from worsening and leading to prosecution.
In his explanation, Xi said he had asked ideology chief Liu Yunshan and anti-graft chief Wang Qishan to start preparing the new regulations as early as January 2014.
A group was formed this February to draft the two documents, Xi said. He personally chaired the drafting team while Liu and Wang served as deputies, he added.
Xi also lashed out at political cliques, saying former officials, including ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang, had serious political problems.
The guiding principles on political conduct urged cadres to uphold the ideal of communism and the authority of the central leadership of the party.
“Only the central leadership of the party are entitled to decide on and interpret key nationwide policies,” it said.
If cadres had opinions that differed from the central leadership on key policies, they could voice their disagreement, as long as they made sure to “implement those decisions resolutely”.
The rules also urged the National People’s Congress, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the supreme court and the supreme prosecutors’ offices to report to the central party leadership before making important decisions.
The rules explicitly ban cadres from seeking special privilege for their family or friends, who were not allowed to interfere with the cadres’ work. Any violations of this policy were to be reported.
Since Xi’s rise to the top of the party in 2012, he has chaired three drafting teams for key documents passed at the party’s annual plenums. These included documents on reforms, rule by law and suggestions for the 13th five-year plan.
Under previous leaders, a handful of Standing Committee members took turns heading the teams that drafted such important documents.