On the Decision of the 6th Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee

Zhang Kai

The Norms of Political Life within the Party

The 6th Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee was held on 25-27 October 2016, which approved the Norms of Political Life within the Party under Current Situations. The Norms firstly state that “during a long period, the political life within the Party has some serious problems, particularly, some cadres including the high-ranking ones, who do not strongly believe in Communist ideas, pay less loyalty to the Party, and ignore disciplines……different ways of being obsessive with money, and there are obvious problems such as being indulged in formalities, bureaucracy, Hedonism, and luxuriousness; the bans of appointment by favoritism, buying and selling official posts, bribes in the elections are not at all effective; phenomena like abuses of power, corruption, illegalness are widespread. A very handful of high-ranking officials have political ambitions and are obsessive with power, who attempt to seize power though political conspiracy such as feigning compliance and making cliques. These problems seriously erode the moral values of the Party, seriously destroy the solidarity and unity of the Party, seriously bring harm to the political life of the Party and its reputation, seriously affect the development of the Party and the people. This requires us to strengthen continuously the construction of the Party with the spirits of innovation, openness, and reformation, to further regulate the political life within the Party, and to upgrade the standard of scientific construction of the Party.

        Therefore, the Committee states that it should stipulate the Norms, with 12 points, which include: (1) to strengthen Communist beliefs; (2) to insist on the basic principles of the Party; (3) to insist on defending the authority of the central government; (4) to obey the political regulations of the Party; (5) to keep the close relations between the Party and the masses; (6) to hold on to the principle of democratic concentration; (7) to carry out democracy within the Party and to protect the rights of party members; (8) to insist on the principle of right appointment; (9) to tighten the Party system of organization life; (10) to implement criticisms and self-criticisms; (11) to strengthen the constraints and supervision on power operation; (12) to maintain the nature of political integrity. Every norm has its very detailed explanation which requires every party member to comply with.

    However, the history of the CPC always proves that the higher authorities have policies but the local officials have their countermeasures, and they work in a perfunctory manner. This kind of countermeasure has existed for a long period and is everywhere. Thirty years ago, the CPC started to implement the policy of capitalist economy, ironically named “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Party members are crazy for money and run to get large amounts of private properties. Political power becomes strengthened once it is intertwined with money power. Nearly every official is corrupted. It is impossible for them to give up their interests.

    There is an old saying that we should learn from the past. We should learn from history. The past experiences of the CPC prove that, in the third paragraph of the Norms, it confesses that in 1980, the third year of the policy of reform and open up, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee concluded seriously that because of the lesson of the Cultural Revolution, they stipulated the Norms of the Political Life within the Party which was important to correct the wrongs, and to restore and improve the political life within the Party, to advance the construction of the Party. Its main principles and regulations are still effective and we should continue to comply with it.

    This showed that the same norms and regulations had already been announced, however, it could not avoid the so-called “serious problems”, as the Norms mentioned above.

For example, the first norm saying “to strengthen communist beliefs”, and its explanation is that “the Communist great vision and the great common vision of Chinese Socialism are the mental pillars and political spirit of the CPC, and they are also the thought base of solidarity and unity of the CPC. It should highly emphasize the importance of construction of political thought. Strengthening the Communist thought should be the first priority of the work of political life within the Party”.

   Another example: “The Shrinking of Communist Thought is the most dangerous one. The fall of Communist Thought is the most terrible one.” However, in reality, it is precisely the Communist thought of the CPC has already shrunk and fallen. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the CPC, advocated the policy of reform and open up, turned planned economy into capitalist market economy, opened the door for foreign investment, with his famous wording: “let some people become rich first”, that meant it allowed the bourgeoisie to develop in China. Afterwards, with the economic boom, the non-public economy quickly developed and took many advantages, meanwhile, the state-run or the public one became smaller. According to Nangfang Daily (dated 11 March 2016), quoted from Wen Wei Po (dated 12 March 2016), a commentary stated that the policy of reform and open up has been carried out for over 30 years. The non-public ownership of economy has developed from nowhere to everywhere, from small scale to large scale, from weak sector to strong sector. Now, the non-public one already accounts for 90% or above of market subjects, and created over 60% of GDP, over 80% of social employment, over 65% of fixed asset investment, and over 67% of foreign direct investment.

The above figure shows that the public ownership of economy that was emphasized by the CPC is longer the so-called “the main subject”, which only accounts for below 10% of the market subjects, and it only creates below 40% of GDP, below 35% of fixed asset investment, below 20% of social employment. All these prove that public-ownership economy is no longer the main essence of China’s economy. (This is quoted from my paper entitled, “Living Proof of Revival of Capitalism in China”, published in October Review, No.240). Its shrinking will continue. It is not convincing for the CPC to continue to use the name of “socialism”.


The CPC Regulations on Internal Supervision

    The highest ranks of the CPC obviously know that only a very few leaders at different levels, officials, and party members can whole-heartedly implement the Norms. Moreover, there are many problems unsolved. Therefore, the Committee approved the CPC Regulations on Internal Supervision. Its first article says that “to order to maintain the leadership of the CPC, it should strengthen the party construction, more strident governance, more internal supervision, and to keep the advancement and purity of the CPC, according to the Charters of the CPC.”

The Regulations have eight chapters and 47 article, particularly with the details of supervision missions of different levels of dominant institutes, leaders, party committees, cadres, members, among others. However, it practices only within the Party, so it rejects public supervision and people supervision, strictly controls newspaper and internets to disclose any official scandal, refuse to disclose officials’ private properties. This only makes officials protect each other. If it cannot strengthen inner supervision, there will be no achievement resulting from practicing strict governance.

No 27 of the Regulations confesses that “the disciplinary institution should take the defending of political discipline and political regulation of the Party as the first priority. It should redress the misbehaviors of the higher authorities announcing policies but the local officials have their countermeasures; making cliques; cheating and confronting the Party, among others.

    Wang Qishan, the executive member of the Political Bureau of the CPC as well as the general secretary of the Disciplinary Committee of the CPC, points out that the weakening leadership, absence of party construction, no strict governance, loose regulations, and corruption have endangered the base and security of the Party authority. He discloses: since the 18th CPC Central Committee, the national disciplinary institutions have already dealt with over 1 million cases, and meted out party and administrative punishment to one million party members. Lots of suppressions prove how serious the problem is.


Xi Jinping be the “Core” of Power

    Before that, Xi Jinping has already been the highest-ranking leader of the Party, the State, the Military, and the Pubic Security. Now he becomes “the core of power”, showing that he wants to be the center of power and the most dominant figure. After taking such immense power, Xi can do personal cult without any hesitation. This Meeting make him further strengthen his powerful position, expel his enemies and get his obedient relatives promoted.

There is a statement “to insist on collective leadership” in the documents, nonetheless, there is no more trace of words like “against individual authoritarianism” which was written in the Norms of Political Life within the Party 36 years ago. This proves Xi is practicing authoritarianism without check.            10/12/2016