Jul 29, 2014 09:07 PM

Caixin Explains: Central Committee Discipline Inspection Teams

(Beijing) – Some of the most important tools the Communist Party is employing in its fight against corruption are little known “inspection teams" that have links to the 205-member Central Committee.

Very little has been reported on these teams in the past, especially in English. Caixin gathered enough information from the website of Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) and government documents to begin painting a picture of the history of these teams, who staffs them and how they operate.

One point of confusion is the name itself. The public is used to reading about investigations by the CDIC and may know that the party's anti-corruption watchdog has been carrying out investigations that have hit a broad range of industries and fields over the past 20 months – from the oil and media sectors to the government and military – since Xi Jinping became general secretary of the party in late 2012.

The bodies under the CDIC that conduct those investigations are called "jijian jiancha shi," which literally translates to "discipline inspection and supervision offices."

But the inspection teams under the Central Committee are different. They are called “zhongyang xunshi zu," or "central inspection tour groups."

This system was officially established in 2003, and has been central to Xi's anti-graft campaign.

Recent years have seen two rounds of inspection by these teams. The first of this year's two rounds of inspections ended in May. The two rounds last year and two this year will cover all of the mainland's 31 provinces, regions and municipalities.

The number of inspection teams varies from year to year, and this year there are 12. That is cause for a little more confusion because the CDIC has 12 investigation offices.

The members of the inspection teams are selected from a set of names from different government departments put forward by the Central Committee. Each team is led by an active or retired ministry-level official.

The teams report to the Inspection Work Leading Group, which is chaired by Wang Qishan, the party's top anti-corruption official. Wang, a member of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, also leads the CDIC.

Unlike the CDIC, the inspection teams do not have the authority to conduct official party investigations themselves.

Instead, they are sent to local governments and other institutions to conduct routine inspections. The teams then report any wrongdoing they uncover to the CDIC for investigation. If top leaders are implicated, they may report the cases to Xi.

The teams use a variety of methods to look for evidence of graft. They listen to reports from local discipline bodies, participate in meetings and talk with officials. The teams also receive petitions from the public and try to gauge the public's opinions of local leaders. They also dig into the functions of local governments, making inquiries about particular areas of concern and checking documents for evidence of violations.

Common Problems

These complaints were frequently cited by the teams in their reports on local governments after the first round of inspection work this year from March to May. The teams visited Beijing, Tianjin, Fujian, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, Gansu, Hainan, Ningxia and Xinjiang.

Extravagance and waste: Includes violations like keeping multiple homes and breaking regulations on use of official vehicles

Major problem in Tianjin, Liaoning, Shandong, Gansu, Hainan, Ningxia and Xinjiang

Collusion and illegal bidding: Often involves cadres or family members bidding on state-sponsored construction projects or collusion between cadres and bidders

Major problem in Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang

Personnel problems: Includes exceeding a department’s allocated numbers of cadres and “promotions in spite of wrongdoing,” where cadres with discipline issues are promoted with the expectation of future benefits for the officials who approved the promotion

Major problem in Beijing, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, Hainan, Ningxia and Xinjiang

Buying and selling official posts: An especially blatant form of corruption in itself, this practice also depends on the ability of officials who have purchased their posts to make that money back through more corruption

Major problem in Shandong and Henan

“Formalism”: Refers to a work style problem where cadres merely go through the motions – such as for an investigation – but do not pay attention to content

Major problem in Beijing and Tianjin

Problems with land requisition and demolition: Land sales are an important source of income for local governments, and an area prone to graft

Major problem in Fujian and Henan

Falsification of official records: Includes falsifying economic data and cadre records

Major problem in Liaoning and Shandong

Bribery: Taking, demanding and coercing bribes is a major kind of corruption

Major problem in Liaoning and Henan

“Lazy politics”: Refers to cadres evading responsibility by pushing their work off to other departments

Major problem in Tianjin

“Naked officials”: Cadres whose family members are living abroad or have foreign passports

Major problem in Fujian

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