With the world media attention focused on the 19th National Congress of Chinese Communist Party (CPC), it is worthwhile to pay attention to the nation-wide roll-out of the new anti-corruption regime of the National Supervision Commission (NSC) and introduction of the national supervision law, as just announced by President Xi during his opening speech.
Although the anti-corruption campaign during the five past years has been fairly successful, the Chinese leadership has become aware of the deficiencies in the current anti-corruption regime.
As a result, the Chinese government initiated a pilot reform of the national supervision system in December 2016, which will be implemented nationwide shortly after the 19th National Congress of CPC (October 18 through October 25, 2017).
The reform aims at centralizing the anti-corruption power from the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP), Ministry of Supervision and the anti-corruption department of the Procuratorate to form a new institution named the National Supervision Commission (NSC), which will execute supervision power over public officials, as well as managers and directors in state-owned enterprises and administrative institutions.
Setting up of the NSC is anticipated to bring significant benefits. On the one hand, the disciplinary inspection power of Chinese graft busters has been significantly enhanced, thanks to the synergy achieved through the centralization of inspection powers.
On the other hand, in terms of the administration structure, the NSC replaces the old structure with a more balanced structure of “One Government, One Commission, One Procuratorate and One Court.”
The trial program of the NSC was initiated in December 2016 in Beijing, Shanxi Province and Zhejiang Province, and it will eventually be rolled out nationwide. The roll-out of the NSC will be one of the most important political and institutional reforms in China, which will have far profound and far-reaching impact on Chinese political life and the anti-corruption program.
The NSC has some underlying principles, such as centralizing anti-bribery power, enhancing the methods of supervision, adhering to the Party’s policy and “covering all corners of one case.” Those principles govern the NSC’s exercise of the centralized national supervision power.
The NSC is also authorized to execute 12 enforcement measures, such as interrogation, blocking, inquiry, and “Liu Zhi”（留置 – a compulsory detention measure) to guarantee the efficacy of national supervision power.
Among those 12 enforcement measures, Liu Zhi will replace the earlier measure of “Shuang Gui” (双规 — an intra-Party disciplinary practice that required a CPC member under investigation to cooperate with questioning at a designated place and a designated time.)
Liu Zhi and the other measures are expected to bring about unprecedented enforcement under the CPC’s regime of fighting corruption.
Jianwei (Jerry) Fang is a partner with the China-based Zhong Lun Law Firm in the firm’s Shanghai office. He was a judge in China and later earned LL.M/J.D. at Columbia Law School. He can be reached here.