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China's Communist Party holds cadres responsible for family members' activities

China’s human rights record reaches new depths with the determination of what type of commercial activities can be pursued by the spouses and children of leading cadres of the Chinese Communist Party. In this regard there is an entire department for the purpose, and it is supervised by the General Office of the Central Committee, which periodically issues orders that are officially known as the Regulation on the Management of the Commercial Activities of Leading Cadres’ Spouses, Children and the Children’s Spouses.

11.08.2022 21:00
Piše: Valerio Fabbri
Ključne besede:   China   corruption   China Communist Party   Xi Jinping   The Regulation   cadres   family

The Party sees the new regulation as helping to curb corrupt behavior. Corruption is widespead in China and Party is now asking its cadres' families to snoop and snitch on its own members.

The latest such order came this June which wants to plug what it calls a "long-standing principal-agent problem". It is about how "officials enrich themselves by leveraging their official positions, thus eroding the state’s legitimacy and the party organization’s effectiveness". The regulation is propagated by calling it the Chinese Communist Party’s "approach to tackling corruption under Xi Jinping, which is based on stricter control of the Party’s agents and expanding the remit of the Party’s disciplinary organs".

 

The new regulation prohibits certain commercial activities by the family members of leading cadres, such as "running a private equity fund or working as a paid go-between between officials and those wishing to influence policy". In what is clearly a case of asking a family to snoop and snitch on its own members, the regulation asks the cadres to "report certain commercial activities by their family members to the Party". If the cadres refuse to follow the new orders, they will be barred from promotions. The Regulation lays down the new rules by explaining the content:

 

"Strengthening the management of the commercial activities of leading cadres’ spouses, children and the children’s spouses is an important measure for exercising full and strict governance over the Party and ensuring cadres’ strict management and supervision. The Regulation implements the Party’s organizational line for the new era and summarizes the [Party’s] practical experience. It sets clear rules on applicable persons and circumstances, work measures, disciplinary requirements, etc., for managing the commercial activities of leading cadres’ spouses, children and the children’s spouses. Moreover, the Regulation is significant for standardizing and restricting the exercise of power, preventing integrity risks [for the Party] at the source, and facilitating the building of family [moral] tradition and conduct."

 

 

The Regulation clarifies that the rules apply to families of mainly cadres "at the department-bureau level or equivalent, and above, in party and government organs, mass organizations, enterprises and public institutions". The prohibited commercial activities include:

 

"investing in or starting a company, taking on a senior position in a private or foreign-funded company, investing in or running a private equity fund, and engaging in paid social intermediation or legal services, etc."

 

The concerned cadres must report the commercial activities of their spouses, children and the children’s spouses "truthfully in their annual reporting of personal matters [as required under the Regulation on Reporting Personal Matters By Leading Cadres issued by the General Offices of the Central Committee and the State Council in April 2017]".

 

The reports of leading cadres "shall be randomly checked and verified".

 

If the commercial activities are found to violate the prohibitions, "the [relevant] leading cadres will be ordered to explain, and their spouses, children and the children’s spouses shall cease these commercial activities, or the leading cadres themselves shall withdraw from their current positions and accept reassignment of their posts". The involved cadres shall be given "appropriate treatment and punishment" according to the circumstances. The Regulation is very specific about the circumstances under which errant cadres will face disciplinary action.

 

The circumstances are:

 

if they do not truthfully report the commercial activities of their spouses, children and the children’s spouses;

 

if the spouses, children and the children’s spouses violate prohibitions of certain commercial activities [as stipulated by the Regulation];

 

[if the spouses, children and the children’s spouses] fake their withdrawal from commercial activities by using trustees, investing anonymous, etc.;

 

if the leading cadres take advantage of the authority of their office for the benefit and profit of the commercial activities of their spouses, children and the children’s spouses.

 

 

The Party leadership is telling the cadres that it will have to self-regulate to wipe out corruption. Some media reports contend that "this claim is doubtful because corruption is a symptom of deeper features of China’s political economy rather than something that can be killed with anti-corruption campaigns and new regulations alone". Hitherto, President Xi Jinping launched a nation-wide campaign against corruption, but it ended up purging his critics in order to give him total control over the party than fight corruption. The party sees the new regulation as helping to curb corrupt behavior. However, stronger and deeper reforms are needed for that. All seems to show that there is a large section of powerful party cadres and leaders and businessmen with close ties to the party hierarchy which appears to be beyond reproach.

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