Chinese parliamentary sessions 2014

Communist Party watchdogs to get their own watchers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 4:58am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 6:00am

The Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog will set up its first internal affairs branch to police its own agents, the country's top graft-buster announced yesterday.

Wang Qishan , the secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and a member of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee, vowed "zero tolerance" for ethical violations and abuse by the watchdog's inspectors.

"The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will intensify supervision of inspectors … and will bust any violators, such as those who tip-off investigative targets or abuse power for personal gain when practicing inspection," Wang told deputies from Sichuan province at the National People's Congress in Beijing. "One who fails to command himself is not fit to command others."

Wang's choice of venue was interesting. In recent months, Sichuan has been a major centre of investigations related to a corruption probe into the political power networks of former public security tsar Zhou Yongkang , who was once the provincial party chief.

Officials suspected of graft usually undergo secret interrogations and detentions before being handed over to the police and prosecutors. The system has long been criticised for encouraging abuse by investigators.

In October, a court in Quzhou , Zhejiang , sentenced five Wenzhou anti-graft officials and a local prosecutor to between four and 14 years in jail for torturing to death an engineer with a state-owned firm while he was under detention, his family's lawyers said. The man was detained for more than a month.

Professor Zhuang Deshui , of Peking University, who studies anti-graft efforts, said the internal affairs unit could provide a check on the CCDI's power and add transparency.

"The move is aimed at winning public trust in the party's disciplinary system," he said.