CPC creates four-tier system to measure political discipline

Xinhua 
April 29, 2017
China’s Communist Party of China (CPC) is creating ways to gauge the political soundness of its more than 88 million members, a move experts believe could help the ruling party to maintain a clean political system. 
The CPC’s disciplinary branch released, for the first time earlier this month, nationwide breakdown figures of the “four forms” of discipline supervision and enforcement, first put forward by the branch in 2015 before making their way into regulations on intra-Party supervision in late October. 

The four forms refer to four levels of punishment and supervision: criticism and self-criticism as well as inquiries through interview or letters should be the most common; minor disciplinary penalties should make up the majority; severely punished or demoted officials should be a small proportion; and those prosecuted for law-breaking should be extremely few. 

In the first quarter of this year, disciplinary organs nationwide dealt with 179,000 people via the four forms, with 92,000, or 51.7 percent, falling in the first form after being tipped off about breaches of discipline, said the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). 

People subject to the other three forms accounted for 36.3 percent, 6.4 percent and 5.6 percent of the total respectively. 

Such data was only made possible after the CCDI put a statistical indicator system into trial use, comprising of 56 indices, at the end of last year. 

Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the regular release of the data and other statistics of rules violators could provide an accurate picture for the Party to identify risks, spot loopholes and facilitate solutions in Party governance. 

Aiming for “green hills and clean water” in political discipline, the CPC has used analogy of managing trees in a forest, saying that the Party must “pluck rotten trees, cure sick trees and straighten crooked trees.” 

“Before the four forms concept was put forward, inspectors only fixed their eyes on a few sick or rotten trees instead of the entire forest,” said Jiang Jinquan, a senior CCDI inspector. “Now they are turning their attention to trees in the entire forest.” 

Jiang described the transition from targeting “big tigers” to a comprehensive supervisory and discipline enforcement approach as “an important theoretical innovation.” 

As the battle against corruption has gained crushing momentum, the CPC said it would continue to reduce existing corruption and contain any rise in corruption in 2017, vowing to clear out sources of corruption and establish an effective prevention system. 

“The first of the four forms is an important embodiment of the CPC’s strict governance of the Party,” said Xie Chuntao, a professor from the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. 

“It is expected to dispel the dated distinction between ‘good comrades’ and ‘prisoners’ by having a preventative effect, spotting and giving warning to CPC members engaging in petty misconduct at an early stage,” he said.