This is the second part of an earlier post on the notion of political life in the legislation of the Communist Party of China.
…In ancient China, three were the characters used to refer to life: ming, sheng, and huo. Among them, ming is the only character that is never used to write or talk about political life. Ming is:
(1) One’s allotted time on earth
(2) The act of assigning a name to someone
(3) Fate and destiny, both in their individual and collective dimensions
(4) The correct ordering of things, as in the following passage of the Analects
The Gong Bo Liao having slandered Zi Lu to Ji Sun, Zi Fu Jing Bo informed Confucius of it, saying, “Our master is certainly being led astray by the Gong Bo Liao, but I have still power enough left to cut Liao off, and expose his corpse in the market and in the court.” The Master said, “If my principles are to advance, it is so ordered. If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the Gong Bo Liao do where such ordering is concerned?“
(5) A mandate, authority, or to receive authority; commanding. Authority can be received from heaven (tianming), or from a prince (junming). This “mandate”, “authority” or “command” are not related to any notions about “will”, whether it be an individual will, the will of a group, or of a community. In pre-Qin and pre-Han texts is expressed through an entirely different character – 志
Ming refers to each one of these various dimensions of existence. They are related: traditionally the name which would mark a person’s allotted time on earth was assigned on the basis of cosmological considerations, to maintain harmony with the natural order of things. The name was believed to reflect an individual’s destiny. In fact, the act of changing the name of a person (改命) was deemed so powerful as to cause a change for better in the person’s fate. This vision of existence was shaped by a set of philosophical and cosmological beliefs where maintaining a close conformity with an immutable natural order was crucial for individual and collective well-being. While human intervention in the workings of the natural order was possible – the name of a person and his destiny could be changed through the act of 改命 – such an intervention was to be made only under the most urgent circumstances. Destiny was otherwise immutable, something individuals could not change or overcome. In the passage of the Analects recounting how Gong Bo Liao slandered Zi Lu – a disciple of Confucius known for acting without much forethought – Confucius replied that Gong Bo Liao could not do anything to alter the “ordering” (ming) of affairs Heaven had dictated.
Differently from notions about destiny (ming), the notion of life (shenghuo) is more closely connected to biological processes of growth and development, and grounded on a plane of immanence. While ming reflects conformity between individual and the cosmos, the shenghuo encompasses not only all developmental stages in the existence of an individual. It extends to all daily activities and function that help maintain and reproduce life. While ming is not susceptible of amelioration, but only of adaptation at best, a shenghuo can be improved through effort. Life as shenghuo not only refers to the biological existence of individuals, and to their personal development. As a concept, it can be extended to the life of organizations, to their functions, and to their daily activities. Organizations cannot be discussed or understood through the notion of shengming – this notion is still too heavily embedded in metaphysics to be able to account for concrete political, legal or organizational processes. However, they can be understood through ideas about shengcun or shenghuo. Both the terms shengcun and shenghuo are used in political discourse. They are not interchangeable – shengcun is the ability of an organization to remain alive, shenghuo refers to the activities of an organization. Yet, these are the terms commonly used by members of the Chinese Communist Party to articulate their tacit and explicit knowledge of the Party’s legislative and organizational processes.
In the search for a better understanding of these processes, one needs not look further than to these words, and how they are being used to enable change in the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party. The most recent wave of change in ideology after 1949 occurred between 1978 and 1980 – a process marked by the rejection of the 1975 Constitution of the Communist Party of China, the Resolution on Certain Issues in the History of our Party since the Foundation of the People’s Republic of China, and the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party.
A second wave of change in ideology is taking place at the moment of writing, with the promulgation of the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party Under the New Circumstances and the amendment to the Regulations on Supervision Within the Party.
The respective importance of these documents, the role each one of them plays in the hierarchy of Party rules and regulations, the extent to which they contribute to shaping and influencing rules passed by the state’s legislative organs are illustrated by official explanations. Of these, the most important is the explanation Xi Jinping delivered to the 6th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress.
Xi Jinping’s Explanation is a legal interpretation, even though critics may claim that such a text has no legal force. Such a judgment on the Explanation would overlook its real importance: the explanation provides the main interpretive framework within which an understanding of the Guidelines and the Regulations becomes possible, and it gives a rare glimpse into the regulatory workings of the Chinese Communist Party. It articulates – often in an implicit form – some of the most important principles of legal interpretation in the PRC. It also illustrates the processes determining how a political formulation over time becomes accepted as a principle of Party ideology. Finally, it contains a catalogue of each one of the main components of the current political ontology. The force of this and similar interpretations transcends the law, and shapes its meaning.
Because of these reasons, one of the many possible ways to read the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party Under the New Circumstances and the Regulations on Supervision Within the Party could start with a reading of their explanation, and then proceed by performing a comparison between the Party Constitution on the one hand, and earlier and more recent versions of these two documents on the other. Xi Jinping’s explanation can be analogized to a map pointing out the most salient features of China’s political landscape.
The following is an unofficial translation of Xi Jinping’s Explanation of the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party under the New Situation, and the CPC Regulations on Supervision Within the Party. This translation is presented ‘as it is’ and it is not free from errors. Your comments and feedback are welcome. The original explanation is available here.
Explanation of the “Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party Under the New Situation” and the “CPC Regulations on Supervision Within the Party”
On behalf of the Central Political Office, I hereby present an explanation of circumstances relevant to the drafting of the “Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party Under the New Situation” and the “CPC Regulations on Supervision Within the Party” to the Plenary Session.
In February this year, the Central Political Office decided that the special themes of the 6th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress would be analyzing the problem of comprehensively strictly governing the Party, enacting the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party Under the New Situation, amending the “CPC Regulations on Supervision Within the Party (for trial implementation)”. A drafting group was composed chaired by me, with comrades Liu Yunshan and Wang Qishan as its deputy chairs. Comrades responsible for relevant departments and localities participated to the work, which was held under the leadership of the Central Political Office.
One. Some Considerations on Drafting the Documents
While conducting the Mass Line Education Movement and the Three Stricts and Three Honests special education, several comrades suggested that these movements be linked to the new situation, by enacting a document that would strengthen and regulate political life within the Party.
On 12 January 2016, in a written reply to comrades Liu Yunshan and Wang Qishan I pointed out that: “the 1980 Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party” at the time played an important historical role in restoring and reinforcing democracy within the party, maintaining the Party’s unity, making Party discipline severe, promoting Party solidarity, bringing order out of chaos in politics, ideology, organization, and work style, and changing the centre of Party work. At the time, the “Guidelines” held an important practical significance as a guide in regulating political life within the Party and making it severe, enhancing the Party’s fine traditions and work style. After more than 30 years, the situation of our tasks within the Party has changed. Party building has accumulated several new results and new experiences, and it is also facing new circumstances and new problems. Please consider whether now is it the occasion for the Centre to make a decision on strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, posing new requests.
Since the “CPC Regulations on Supervision Within the Party (for trial implementation)” were enacted, on 31 December 2003, they have played an important role in strengthening Party supervision, and in maintaining the unity and solidarity of the Party. At the same time, due to developments and changes in our tasks, the problem has emerged of a lack of fit of the Regulations with new practices and new requests. Developments in the circumstances demand us to amend the Regulations, to focus on the design of responsibility systems, to focus on system-building, to strengthen the supervision of leading cadres of and lower-level Party organizations by higher-level Party organizations, so that responsibilities are clear, subjects are well defined, systems are useful, and they work well.
During this time, the parties involved in enacting the Guidelines and in amending the Regulations have done an enormous work. In 2014, the work group in which comrades from relevant parties participated conducted research and investigation on the problem of strengthening political life within the party, achieving initial results. According to demands of the 5th and 6th Plenum of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on improving the system of supervision within the Party, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection convened seven study sessions, to analyze the work of amending the Regulations on supervision within the Party.
Preliminary research gave some important results, which were comprehensively analyzed by the Central Political Office, which decided to convene one plenary session devoted to studying this issue. The following main aspects were taken into account.
First, this is a demand of perfecting the “Four Comprehensives”. Since the Party’s 18th Congress, coordinating the advancement of the strategic deployment of the “Four Comprehensives” is a new governance strategy of the Party centre to achieve the struggle target of the Two 100s, achieve the Chinese Dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, plan the domestic and international situation, grasp the new features of our country’s development, plan the domestic and international situation. It is a strategic choice of advancing opening up and reform and the construction of socialist modernization under the new historical conditions, and of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In recent years, the 3rd, 4th, 5th Plenums of the 18th Party Congress have continued to conduct research on deepening reform, comprehensively ruling the country according to the law, comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society. The 6th Plenum, focused on enacting and amending these two drafts, has conducted research and deployments on comprehensively strictly governing the Party. The strategic deployments of the “Four Comprehensives” have thus underwent research through one plenary session. This is an holistic approach of the Party Centre to plenary sessions, according to the strategic deployment of the “Four Comprehensives”.
Second, this is a demand of deepening comprehensively strictly governing the Party. Since the 18th Congress, comprehensively strictly governing the Party has been a distinct theme of the Party centre’s grasping of Party building. The key in ruling China’s affairs well is the Party. The key in the Party is that the Party rules the Party, and the Party must rule the Party severely. Under the new historical conditions, in order to conduct well a great struggle which has many new historical features, and advance the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must advance the new great project of Party building with even stronger force, unsverwingly advance comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and effectively construct the Party well, manage the Party well, maintain the advanced nature of the Party and the purity of the Party, enhance the Party’s innovation, cohesion and fighting force, improve the Party’s leadership level and governance level, ensure that the Party always becomes the strong leading core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Strengthening and regulating political life within the party, strengthening Party supervision are extremely important lessons in strengthening Party building under the new situation. They are also an important starting point in advancing comprehensively strictly ruling the Party. In grasping Party building, one important experience for the Party is that we must constantly review the historical experience and successful methods the Party has fored over a long period of time, and combine those with the tasks posed by the new situation, and the demands of practice in order to innovate. Therefore, it has been necessary for the 6th Plenum to summarize the theory and practice of strictly ruling the Party in recent years, and particularly since the Party’s 18th Congress. That which has proven good through practice must be maintained for a long time. That which can be further improved and raised to the level of system or regulation will be consolidated through the form of regulations within the Party. Thoat which needs to be combined with new circumstances will continue to be deepened. Therefore the Party’s Central Committee decided to enact the Guidelines, and to amend the Regulations. This is an important arrangement focused on advancing comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and combining building the Party by upholding ideology and ruling the Party through systems.
Third, this is a demand posed by the need to resolve outstanding contradictions that exist within the Party. The long-term practice of political life within the Party is generally good but, for a period some prominent contradictions and problems have appeared that await resolution. They mostly are: faith in ideals is not firm among some Party members, included high level cadres. They are not loyal to the Party, their discipline is lax, they are alienated from the masses, they act arbitrarily, they practice fraud, they are lazy and inactive. To different extents, individualism, separatism, liberalism, goody-goodism, sectarianism, mountain-topism, money workship still exist. The problems of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance are prominent. The phenomena of cronyism, craving official positions, buying and selling offices, electoral corruption have not been stopped. The phenomena of abuse of power, corruption and bribery, moral degeneration, violations of law and discipline are rife. Especially a small number of persons among high level cadres have wild political ambitions, are hungry for power, show overt agreement while practicing inner opposition, form cliques, gangs and factions, strive for power and engage in other political intrigues. These problems severely erode the ideological and moral foundation of the Party. They severely disrupt the solidarity and unity of the Party. They severely damage the environment of political life within the Party and the Party image. They severely affect the cause of the development of the Party and the People. The cases of serious violations of discipline and the law of Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Ling Jihua not only exposed their serious economic problems. They also revealed their severe political problems, giving an extraordinarily deep lesson. This makes us realize that if the prominent contradictions and problems that exist within the Party are to be solved, the ideological and political construction of the Party must be at the first place, creating a wind which will clean the air of the political environment. I said: ” In order for work in all areas to be done well, there must be a good political environment.” If the political environment is dirty, the governance environment will be of poor quality. If the political environment is clean, the governance enviconrment will be of high quality. The political environment is like the natural environment. Without attention, it can easily become polluted. If a problem appears, then a very high price has to be paid for the environment to be restored.
Supervision within the Party is an important content of Party building, and also an important guarantee of comprehensively strictly governing the Party. For a long time, the Party Centre has attached great importance to supervision within the Party, it has adopted strong measures, and it has achieved remarkable results. At the same time, some prominent contradictions and problems have appeared, which involve a weak Party leadership in some localities and some departments, deficiencies in Party building, a lack of force in comprehensively strictly ruling the Party. The ideas of some Party members and cadres are disorganized, their organization is lax, their discipline is relaxed. Some Party organizations and Party members and cadres do not strictly enforce the Party Constitution, they disregard political discipline, and disregard organizational principles.The various kinds of problems that have occurred within the Party for a period of time bear a close relation to a relaxation of managing the Party and governing the Party. To comprehensively strictly rule the Party, the problems of lack of individual responsibility, deficiencies in supervision responsibility, slackness in managing the Party and ruling the Party must be solved from the root. Strengthening supervision within the Party must be made an important foundational project of Party building, to fully enable to strengths of the supervision system to be released.
Since the Party’s 18th Congress, we have firmly grasped comprehensively strictly ruling the Party by adopting a a series of measures to increase the force of ‘ruling the Party through the Party’, uphold a correct work style and a strict discipline, address the causes as well as their symptoms, strengthen political discipline and the political framework, uphold curbing the spread of corruption, build up a system and mechanisms one does not dare to corrupt, one cannot corrupt, one does not think to corrupt, implement individual responsibility in comprehensively strictly governing the Party and supervision responsibility level after level, put efforts into solving the prominent problems that exist within the Party. Many new features have appeared in political life within the Party, and the environment of political life within the Party has improved, as the entire Party and society have acknowledged.
At the same time, we must soberly realize that, even though many of the prominent contradictions and problems existing within the Party have been solved, some promblems persist, some problems have not been completely solved, some problems may reappear. Therefore, ideological, political, organizational, work-style and systemic efforts to prevent these prominent contradictions and problems from reappearing and to solve them must be made. We must especially realize that under the new historical conditions, great changes have occurred in the international and domestic situation. Great changes have occurred in the governance environment and in the governance conditions that our Party faces. The “Four Great Tests” and the “Four Kinds of Danger” our Party faces are long-term, complex, and severe. To solve the outstanding contradictions and problmes that exist within the Party it is necessary to resolve the important challenges and risks the Party is facing. A very important condition is perfecting regulations, strengthening systems, tightening the cage of systems, in order to allow a deeper and more effective solution to those outstanding problems and contradictions that have surfaced already, and moreover effectively prevent the spread of new contradictions and problems, and effectively avoid the resurgence of contradictions and problems that have been solved already.
All in all, in the face of the new situation and tasks, the time is ripe and the conditions exist to enact Some Guidelines for Political Life Within the Party Under the New Situation, and to amend the Regulations on Supervision Within the Party. This is a pressing request of important significance.
Two. On the Drafting Process of the Two Documents.
On March 1 this year, the Party Centre issued the “Notice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Issue of the 6th Plenary Session of the 18th Congress Strengthening and Regulating Political Life Within the Party and Soliciting Opinions on Amending the Regulations on Supervision Within the Party (for Trial Implementation)”. The drafting group of the documents convened one plenary session, during which the drafting work was officially launched.
Judging from the feedback received during this round of opinion solicitation, each locality, each department and each party believes that the Party Centre’s decision to hold the 6th Plenum of the 18th Congress’ Study Meeting on the Issue Comprehensively Strictly Ruling the Party and of enacting and amending relevant documents fully reflected the Party Centre’s firm determination and historical responsibility to firmly advance comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and it fully reflected the Party’s common voice, ensuring the extraordinarily important significance in the Party always remaining the strong leading core in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics while resolving the outstanding contradictions and problems that exist within the Party.
Everyone believes that under the new situation, to strictly and diligently live a political life within the Party, and to strengthen supervision within the Party, it is necessary to inherit and develop the fine traditions and the basic specifications our Party has formed through a long practice, and it also necessary to combine them with the new situation and tasks, to keep up with the times in the meaning of the categories of political life within the Party and supervision within the Party, in our target direction, in the demands posed by our principles, in our ways and methods, and to promote the systemization, regulation and proceduralization of political life within the Party and supervision within the Party.
Everyone raised several good opinions and suggestions on strengthening and regulating political life within the Party under the new situation, and on strenghtening supervision within the Party. During the drafting process, the drafting group took everyone’s opinions and suggestions into account, diligently soliciting them.
In 8 months, the drafting group held study sessions, broadly solicited opinions and suggestions, and repeatedly discussed the amendments. Meanwhile, the Standing Committee of the Central Political Office convened 3 meetings, and the Political Office convened two meeting to examine the draft documents. In early August, the drafts for soliciting opinions were circulated within the Party to solicit opinions, which included soliciting the opinion of some elderly comrades, and hearing the opinions of persons responsible for the central organs of the democratic parties, the China Democratic League, and persons without party affiliation.
From the feedback received, every locality, every department and every party gave a full confirmation of the draft of the Guidelines and the draft of the Regulations, believing the two draft of these documents fully implement the spirit of the 3rd, 4th, 5th Plenums of the18th Congress, and with the Party Constitution as the basic line of compliance, deeply summarize the historical experience in constructing the Party, face the prominent contradictions and problems existing in political life within the Party, center on raising clear requests on a severe life within the Party, focus on making concrete regulations on strengthening supervision within the Party, on providing an important basic compliance for strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, and on strengthening supervision within the Party during the new situation.
Everybody believes that the sharpest features of the drafts of these two documents are inheriting and innovating organic unity, and not only deeply summarizing the experience and lessons of our Party in strengthening its constructions, inheriting and developing the systemic regulations and the fine tradition our Party has formed through a long practice, but also comprehensively summarizing the Party center’s lively experience in advancing comprehensively strictly ruling the Party since the 18th Congress, collecting the new results of theory and innovative practice in comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and deeply analyzing the new situations and issues in Party building under the new situation, and raising clear measures on the weak links that exist in political life within the Party and in supervision within the Party, forming a new systemic arrangement, to conform to the tasks of the new situation in political life within the Party, and to strengthen the demands of supervision within the Party.
Everybody unanimously believes that upholding the unified leadership of the Party Center, and confirming and maintaining the Party’s leading core are common aspirations of the whole Party, the people of all ethnic groups, and they are urgent requests of advancing comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and ehnancing the Party’s creativity, cohesion and fighting force, and fundamental guarantees of maintaining a correct direction in the cause of the Party and of the state.
Everybody further believes that the solicitation of opinions on these two draft documents by the Party Center in a definite area within the Party fully develops democracy within the Party, concentrates the embodiment of the wisdom of the entire Party, and is an embodiment of our Party’s fine traditions of liberating thought and seeking truth from facts. The topic of the draft documents is clear, informative, focussed. Their content is rich, their main points are outstanding, their measures are strong, they are effective and pragmatic and their ideology, guidance and applicability are strong. After their examination and adoption by the plenary session, these two documents possess a major practical meaning and a far-ranging historical significance in strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, strengthening supervision within the Party, comprehensively raising the scientific level of Party construction, better waging a major struggle that possesses several new historical features, achieving the Two 100s, achieving the dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
While soliciting opinions, each locality, each department and each party gave several good opinions and comments on the two draft documents. According to the statistics, a total of 1955 opinions on amendment were raised. After excluding repeated comments, these were 1582 items, of which 354 were comments on principles, and 1228 concrete comments. The Party Centre entrusted the drafting group with carefully organizing and examining opinions and suggestions.The drafting group made important amendments to the draft of the two documents.
Three. On the Principles and Basic Frameworks of the Two Draft Documents.
In drafting the documents, the drafting groups adopted the following principles.
The first was inheriting and developing the Party’s fine traditions and precious experiences, focussing on implementing the new ideals, the new ideology, and the new strategy raised by the Party Centre since the 18th Plenum, reflecting the Party Centre’s new experience in comprehensively strictly ruling the Party, and combining it with new experiences to raise new points of view and new initiatives, which reflect the time and are innovative. The outstanding issues of comprehensively strictly ruling the Party are enhancing the Party’s capacity to clear itself, to improve itself, to renovate itself, to raise its own capacity, defining the line, objectives, principles, tasks, measures of strengthening political life within the Party under the new situation, and strengthening Party supervision, and raising the whole Party’s consciousness of strictly ruling the Party through strict demands, strict criteria, strict measures, and implementing responsibility in managing the Party and governing the Party.
The second was upholding the Party Constitution as the fundamental basis, outstandingly respect the Party Constitution, implement the Party Constitution, protect the Party Constitution, focus on making concrete the demands of the Party Constitution on political life within the Party and supervision within the Party, systematizing the regulations and important documents on political life within the Party and supervision within the Party made since reform and opening up and particularly by the Party Centre in recent years, advancing the systematization, regulation, and proceduralization of political life within the Party and supervision within the Party.
The third was insisting on being problem-oriented, focusing on the weak links in political life within the Party and in supervision within the Party, focusing on building systems designed around theory, ideology, and systems, focus on systems designed around authority and responsibility, advancing the resolution of vulgarity, carelessness and ordinariness in political life within the Party, solve the problems of unclear responsibilities and weak implementation.
The fourth was upholding coordination, strengthening top-level design and systemic planning, focusing on dealing well with new standards, new regulations and old standards, old regulations and other relationships among regulations within the Party, in order to maintain a common origin while advancing with the times. Upholding the unity of necessity and feasibility, pose political demands of principle in strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, and in strengthening supervision within the Party, while at the same time proposing feasible measures and methods to solve problems.
The Draft Guidelines are divided in three sections and 12 parts. The first section is the Preamble, and it is a general discussion describing the important role and historical experience of political life within the Party, the outstanding issues that exist, the important and pressing urgency of strengthening and regulating political life within the Party to face tasks under the new situation and the new situation, and raising the objectives of strengthening and regulating political life within the Party.
The second section is on special provisions. This is the main part, and it raises precise demands, and makes concrete provisions on the 12 areas of maintaining faith in ideals, upholding the Party’s basic line, resolutely protecting the Party Center’s authority, strictly enforcing the Party’s political discipline, maintaining close flesh-and-blood links between the Party and the Masses, upholding the principle of democratic centralism, developing democracy within the Party, and guaranteeing the rights of Party members upholding the direction of correctly electing and employing personnel, be strict in the system of organizational life of the Party, conducting criticism and self-criticism, strengthening limitations and supervision on the use of power, maintaining a clean and honest political order.
The third section contains a closing language, which mostly focuses on strengthening organizational leadership and supervision, and a high level officials taking the lead in providing a morel, and on guaranteeing the actual fulfilment of each task.
The draft Regulations has 8 chapters and 47 articles, and it is divided in three parts. The first chapter is on the general principles, and constitutes one part, which lists 9 articles. They state the general purpose and basis, describe the guiding ideoogy of supervision within the Party, its basic principles, the content of supervision, the subjects of supervision, the methods of supervision and other important issues such as voluntary supervision, the construction of a system of supervision within the Party.
The second part is from the second to the fifth chapter. This is the main part of the Regulations, which lists 27 articles, posing rules on the supervision responsibilities of four subjects of supervision – the Party’s central organizations, Party committees (Party gorups), Party’s commissions for discipline inspection, basic Party organizations and Party members – as well as on the relevant supervision systems. Among them, devoting a separate chapter to the supervision of the Party’s central organizations is a breakthrough of the current Regulations which embodies the Party Centre’s leading by example and commanding lower level organs through higher level organs.
The Chapters from 6 to 8 constitute the third section, which lists 11 articles, respectively pose regulations on combining supervision within the Party with external supervision, rectification of mistakes and guarantees, and by-laws.The Regulations do not contain a provision that authorizes central commissions and local party committees to enact detailed implementing regulations, and thus embodies that the whole Party must act as one, and avoid incoherence and discounts.
Fourth. Two Issues Deserving an Important Explanation
First. The relation between the draft of the new Guidelines, and the 1980 Guidelines. After the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Congress, our Party has summarized the experience of both aspects of political life within the Party, particularly the painful lesson of the “Cultural Revoution”, and in 1980 it has enacted the “Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party”. At the particular time immediately after the end of the “Cultural Revolution”, these guidelines have played an extraordinarily important role in bringing order out of chaos in politics, ideology, organization and workstyle, and changing the centre of Party work, promoting solidarity and unity within the Party, and guaranteeing a smooth conducting of opening up and reform and socialist modernization.
The 1980 Guidelines contained methods to solve the outstanding contradictions and problems that existed within the Party, and summed up the valuable experience obtained by the Party through a long practice. They were a rich development of Marxist theory of Party building, they had a groundbreaking significance, and their main principles and provisions are still in use today. These concern the goals and basic principles of political life within the Party, upholding the Party’s political line and ideological line, upholding collective leadership, opposing arbitrary decision-making, maintaining the Party’s unity, strictly observing Party discipline, upholding the nature of the Party, speaking the truth, living up to one’s words, developing democracy within the Party, correctly dealing with different opinions, guaranteeting that the rights of Party members are not violated, accepting the supervision of the Party and the masses, not allowing special privilege. All of these will continue to be upheld.
Then why must new Guidelines be enacted? The Party Centre has considered that even though the 1980 Guidelines still have an important guiding significance, the Guidelines are targeted to the historical condition and main contradiction of those times. Today, the oustanding contradictions and problems in the Party are unprecedented, and some contradictions and problems which at the time were prominent today are no longer so. The Party’s 18th Congress, the amendment to the Party Constitution, and the 3rd, 4th, 5th Plenums have made precise provisions on issues in political life within the Party under the new situation, but these provisions were rules of principle that needed to be made more concrete. Several of the regulations and normative documents enacted within the Party since reform and opening up, particularly those enacted in recent years, involve the issue of regulating political life within theParty, but they are relatively scattered, and in need of systematization.
Law and the time shift, but the prohibition and the rules change. To strengthen political life within the Party under the new situation, it is necessary to uphold effective systems and regulations from the past, but also to combine them with the characteristics of the new time and to keep up with the times, devicing new methods and regulations. The new Guidelines we have enacted and promulgated do not replace the 1980 Guidelines, but they make new regulations on new circumstances and new problems on the basis of the main principles and the main regulations in the 1980 Guidelines. In this spirit, while drafting the documents we reiterated the main principles and regulations of the 1980 Guidelines.The old and the new Guidelines are reciprocally linked, in one continuum, and both of them are to be complied with at the present, and for a time in the future, in political life within the Party.
Second. About the Focus on High Level Cadres. Strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, strengthening supervision within the Party are demands raised towards the entire Party, and they are also a common task of the entire Party. At the same time, the draft of the Guidelines and the draft of the Regulations place the emphasis on high level cadres, the main consideration being that to strengthen Party building one must grasp well leading cadres, especially high level leading cadres, and the key is grasping well the members of the Central Committee, the Central Political Office, the Standing Committee of the Central Political Office. Grasping these persons well will allow to make an example for the entire Party, and many tasks will be easy to accomplish. Therefore, strengthening and regulating political life within the Party, strengthening supervision within the Party must begin from this group of persons.
Based on this consideration, in the drafting process of these two documents, the focus was placed on high level cadres. For instance, the first section of the Guidelines emphasizes that to strengthen and regulate political life within the Party under the new situation, the focus are leading institutions and leading cadres at all levels, the key are high level cadres and especially members of the Central Committee, the Central Political Office, the Standing Committee of the Central Political Office. High level cadres and especially members of central leading organs must lead by example, observe the Party Constitution and Party rules in an exemplary way, observe the Party’s political discipline and political framework, continue to have the mentality of a beginner, continue to advance, persist in taking the lead and setting and example, command lower level organs through higher level organs, and become a model for the entire Party and society. The draft Guidelines emphasize the need to place demands on high level cadres.The closing section of the draft Guidelines further emphasizes that the strengthening and the regulation political life within the Party must begin from the Central Committee, the Central Political Office, and the Standing Committee of the Central Political Office. High level cadres must have a sober awareness of the particular importante of their post for the Party and the state. The higher their position, the more they should consciously pose strict demands upon themselves according to the Party’s standards, and the more their should cultivate a strong Party nature, and maintain a strict discipline, to be forever loyal to the Party and to never betray the Party.
The draft Regulation also pose specific requests to the Central level. For instance, there is a chapter specific to supervision of the Party’s central organizations, which emphasizes how members of the Central Committee must strictly abide by the Party’s political discipline and political framework, how they must resolutely reject violations of the Party Constitution, disruptions of the Party discipline, conducts that harm the unity and solidarity of the Party by other Party members, and promptly report those conducts to the Party Centre. The Central Political Office every year convenes a democratic life meeting, to perform checks, and to analyze the Party nature, and to study measures to strengthen its own construction. The Central Political Office must strictly enforce the Eight Rules, voluntarily take part to democratic life meeting of subordinate organizations, truthfully report important personal matters to the Party Centre, take the lead in setting good traditions, strengthen the education and constraint on relatives and close staff members, convey the opinion of members of the Central Political Office either in writing using a real name, or in any other form to the Standing Committee of the Central Political Office, or to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
The draft Guidelines finally raise that an implementing opinion on enforcement of the Guidelines by high level cadres must be enacted, to guide and supervise high level cadres in setting an example for the entire Party on compliance with and enforcement of the Guidelines on Political Life Within the Party.This work is on-going.
In the consultation process, some localities and some units suggested that the draft Guidelines be made into a Regulation. We considered how the Guidelines occupy a high rank in the system of regulations within the Party, which is second only to the Party Constitution. The Guidelines are a strongly ideological, political, and comprehensive document, which summarizes the valuable experiences and basic norms of political life within the Party, which our Party has formed through a long time. They explain Party’s principles and stance towards conducting a severe and diligent political life within the Party, and the need to be reasonable on several matters. Regulations would make it difficult to accommodate all of this. Concerning some relevant specific rules, clear provisions have already been made by some regulations within the Party. Other relevant rules enacted in other regulations, from today on, will have to be further enforced. The draft of the present Guidelines is consistent with the style of the 1980 Guidelines.