Promoting the Development of a Corruption-Free City

—A Survey Report on Shenzhen

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2012-07-04 15:14
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The CPC Municipal Committee and Municipal Government of Shenzhen have highlighted the fight against corruption as an important aspect of their efforts to establish Shenzhen as a modern, international and advanced city and to promote the comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development of the city’s economy and society. On this basis, they have proposed the target of making Shenzhen a clean city that is free of corruption. This represents a major strategic decision that was made on the basis of the experiences that Shenzhen gained through the hugely successful development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as well as the city’s efforts to fight corruption and ensure clean government.

Shenzhen has made a positive start in its efforts to develop a corruption-free city

Shenzhen has made sound progress in its efforts to develop a corruption-free city. Following the publication of the Decision on the Development of a Corruption-Free City in July 2011, the city has been engaging in a series of practical initiatives geared towards the attainment of this goal. These efforts have been met with a highly positive response from all sectors of society. The CPC Municipal Committee and Municipal Government of Shenzhen are treating the development of a corruption-free city as one of the city’s key strategies for development.

Steady progress has been made in preparatory and foundation work. First, Shenzhen has made timely reports on its progress to the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Ministry of Supervision, the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, and the CPC Guangdong Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection. By taking the opinions and suggestions of these departments into due consideration, the city has been able to ensure that its initiatives stay on the right track. Second, Shenzhen has also taken active measures to learn from international experience. Renowned experts and scholars have been invited to Shenzhen, where they have helped Shenzhen to research and evaluate the theory behind the development of corruption-free cities in other countries as well as the connotations, objectives, and approaches of Shenzhen’s own efforts to build a corruption-free city. In addition, Shenzhen has also dispatched officials to the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Commission Against Corruption of Macao to learn about their systematic governance concepts and experiences in the development of anti-corruption mechanisms that involve widespread social participation. In line with actual conditions, efforts have been made to integrate these practices into Shenzhen’s initiatives to build a corruption-free city. Third, Shenzhen’s calls to build a corruption-free city have been met with widespread public participation. Publicity campaigns in newspapers, on the Internet, and on television have been used to encourage widespread participation among the general public. Through publicity initiatives and the solicitation of public opinion, Shenzhen has forged a public consensus that will lay down the foundations for the development of a corruption-free city.

Shenzhen has made a good start in its campaign to develop a corruption-free city. Shenzhen has gained a comprehensive understanding of the significance, the targets, and the features of a corruption-free city as well as the framework, the approaches and the measures that must be employed in order to attain this goal. In addition, it has put forward an initial conceptualization of a corruption-free city from a theoretical stand point. The Decision on Developing a Corruption-Free City, promulgated by the CPC Municipal Committee and Municipal Government of Shenzhen, has laid out a fundamental road-map for the city’s initiatives. With the call to build a corruption-free city and the promulgation and implementation of the principal guidelines for this effort, Shenzhen has ascended to new heights in its campaign to fight corruption and ensure clean government.

The significance of developing a corruption-free city

Shenzhen’s plans to establish itself as a corruption-free city are consistent with the city’s status and role as a Special Economic Zone. The city has systematically proposed the guiding thoughts, objectives, tasks and the framework for this effort, which constitutes a pioneering trial of great significance.

As a part of the “Direct Connection” campaign, the Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervision Administration held an event themed around “promoting the reform of annual inspections for companies, providing convenience and efficient services for the people, and serving economic growth” on July 7, 2010. The “Direct Connection” scheme is jointly organized by the Shenzhen Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Municipal Bureau of Supervision, the Municipal Office for Petitions and Appeals, and Shenzhen Special Zone Daily. / Photos Courtesy of the Website of the Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervision Administration

Shenzhen’s efforts to build a corruption-free city represent a solid response to the calls of the Party to promote clean government. As early as 1947, Mao Zedong declared that we should “abolish the rotten institutions of the Chiang Kai-shek regime, clear out all corrupt officials and establish clean government.” Each generation of the CPC central leadership has attached great significance to the development of clean government. In his speech to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, General Secretary Hu Jintao stressed that in order to make Party building more scientific under new historical conditions, it is essential that we adhere to the principles of addressing both the symptoms and the root causes of corruption and combining punishment with prevention, with the emphasis on prevention. We must intensify efforts to improve Party conduct, uphold integrity, and combat corruption, so as to maintain the advanced nature and integrity of the Party as a Marxist political party. In line with the requirements of the CPC Central Committee, all departments and localities have engaged in active efforts to explore ways of building clean government. Through these efforts, they have gained valuable experiences and achieved notable results. Shenzhen’s calls for the development of a corruption-free city, which have come at a new starting point in history, represent a materialization of the Party’s requirements for the development of clean government. This move will help the whole city to further unify thinking, pool strength, and promote new progress in the development of clean government.

The development of a corruption-free city is an objective requirement of reform and opening up, scientific development, and modernization in Shenzhen. For more than three decades since the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, the CPC Municipal Committee and Municipal Government of Shenzhen have emphasized reform and opening up and economic development on the one hand whilst emphasizing the fight against corruption on the other. This has allowed Shenzhen to produce remarkable results in its efforts to fight against corruption and ensure clean government. However, we must be aware that Shenzhen, much like the rest of the country, is still facing a grave situation in the fight against corruption and an arduous task in ensuring clean government. Fact has demonstrated that the more we reform, open up, and accelerate our development, the more we must emphasize Party development, anti-corruption, and clean government. Scientific development refers to development that is clean, efficient, and sustainable. Moreover, clean and efficient cities are certain to enjoy a sounder image and greater competitiveness. If Shenzhen is to realize its vision of becoming a fully modernized international city, not only will it require significant financial strength, sound municipal functions, and advanced management systems, it will also need a fully developed legal system and a clean and highly efficient government. The development of a corruption-free city means that Shenzhen will devote itself to the creation of a clean environment for economic and social development that is characterized by integrity, rule of law, fairness and justice. The creation of such a climate will help Shenzhen to improve its standard of governance, its image, and its capacity to engage in international economic cooperation and competition at a higher level. In turn, this will present the city with a new driving force for the deepening of reform and opening up, as well as a new opportunity to gain the upper hand in the promotion of scientific development.

The development of a corruption-free city is a guarantee that will consolidate the position of the CPC as the ruling party and ensure social harmony. The state of the world, the country, and the Party has undergone profound changes. Under this backdrop, the CPC is facing a large number of unprecedented situations, issues, and challenges. It is confronted with tests in governing the country, in implementing reform and opening up, in developing the market economy, and in coping with the external environment, as well as dangers such as a lack of drive, under performance, being alienated from the people, being short of initiative, and corruption. For this reason, it is more imperative that we step up our efforts to fight corruption and ensure clean government now than it has been at any time in the past. Corruption is a despicable practice that draws the disgust and the indignation of the general public. Failure by the Party and the government to inhibit the emergence and spread of corruption and undesirable practices could easily lead to political unrest and the destabilization of the CPC’s political power. Our efforts to improve Party conduct, uphold integrity, and combat corruption represent a serious political struggle, one which will have a bearing on the future of both the Party and the nation. In calling for the development of a corruption-free city, Shenzhen has responded to the expectations of the people of Shenzhen with a solemn commitment to clean government. The effort to develop a corruption-free city should be a joint one that is carried out between Party organs, leading Party cadres, and the general public. By ensuring that the people are the beneficiaries of our achievements, we will be able to bring people together and forge public cohesion. In turn, this will aid us in strengthening our social management, enhancing our capacity for innovation, bringing the Party and cadres closer to the people, and promoting social harmony and stability.

Developing a corruption-free city is an active new attempt to promote anti-corruption and clean government in the spirit of reform and innovation. Reform and innovation represent an effective means of fighting corruption and ensuring clean government in a more scientific way. They are also a strong motive force that will drive on practical initiatives in regard to anti-corruption. Since the establishment of the Special Economic Zone over 30 years ago, Shenzhen has given full play to its pioneering spirit by making a large number of innovations in its fight against corruption. These results have provided local governments around the entire country with a wealth of experience for their fight against corruption and their efforts to build clean government. Shenzhen has shouldered the mission that has been granted to it by history. It is a testing ground for reform and innovation in China, providing the fresh experience that China needs to expand and develop its unique approach to combating corruption and establishing clean government. The campaign to develop a corruption-free city represents an important attempt to fight corruption and ensure clean government in the spirit of reform and innovation. It is a major innovation whose roots are found in the successes that China has gained in the holding of clean and corruption-free events such as the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai World Expo, and the Guangzhou Asian Games. For this reason, it is certain to set the standard for initiatives to fight corruption and ensure clean government in local governments around the entire country.

Major issues in developing a corruption-free city

The development of a corruption-free city is an enormously complex undertaking that involves economic, political, cultural and social development as well as Party improvement. The key is to take effective measures and make gradual progress.

Shenzhen’s efforts must be centered on key tasks and serve overall interests. An important principle for the development of a corruption-free city is that this initiative must be approached closely in line with the key tasks and overall agenda of the CPC Municipal Committee and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen and this effort must be deepened during the course of Shenzhen’s economic and social development. The effort to develop a corruption-free city must be incorporated into the city’s overall plans for reform, development, and modernization, so as to ensure that these efforts are planned, arranged, promoted, and carried out in step with one another. Efforts to develop a corruption-free city should be integrated into all initiatives to develop the economy and society. This means that due consideration must be given to the requirements of anti-corruption and clean government whilst promoting economic and social development. Doing so will allow us to promote an organic integration and sound interaction between the effort to develop a corruption-free city and efforts to promote reform, development, and stability. The campaign to develop a corruption-free city should be used to improve the environment for the development of the city. By engaging in overall planning to promote diligent, clean, and efficient government, and making efforts to develop a contingent of cadres that are willing and able to perform their duties in a clean way, Shenzhen should create a social environment that is fair, orderly, honest, culturally advanced, clean, and efficient, thereby boosting the competitiveness of the city.

In developing a corruption-free city, key tasks must be prioritized and efforts must be promoted in a progressive manner. The development of a corruption-free city is a strategic task that calls for long-term commitment in order to be accomplished. Shenzhen needs to find a balance between immediate and future concerns, and focus on key priorities whilst giving due consideration to overall arrangements. Namely, in addition to making overall plans and pushing forward overall initiatives, it must also concentrate on key points and prioritize major tasks. Shenzhen must coordinate the effort to develop a system for the control and prevention of corruption, the effort to build a legal system pertaining to anti-corruption and clean government, the effort to fight corruption and ensure clean government in social services, the effort to establish a social credit rating system, and the effort to improve social morality and create a clean government culture. It needs to highlight the development of a system for the control and prevention of corruption as the key approach in its efforts to promote the development of a corruption-free city. Moreover, initial breakthroughs should be made in regard to key links and priority areas. The city should issue and revise laws and regulations at the earliest possible juncture, such as administrative measures for the trading of public resources, rules on community joint-stock cooperative companies, and rules for government procurement. Shenzhen also needs to improve leadership and working mechanisms for anti-corruption in social services, set up a unified information sharing platform for credit ratings throughout the city, and improve mechanisms to encourage good faith and punish acts in violation of good faith. Emphasis must be placed on leading cadres, Party and government organs, and judicial organs in order to enhance constraints and oversight on the exercise of power. Shenzhen should devote itself to each of its initiatives and work hard to establish permanent mechanisms. It should strive to win over the public by producing solid results in the effort to develop a corruption-free city.

Shenzhen should place an emphasis on reform and innovation and draw from the experiences of others. By placing a stronger emphasis on experimentation and innovation, Shenzhen should strive to develop a series of eye-catching innovations that will not only produce solid results in the effort to build a corruption-free city, but also exert an influence on similar initiatives nationwide. Moreover, Shenzhen also needs to draw from the experiences of others. On the basis of the realities in Shenzhen, it should draw from the past and present successes of other cities in both China and abroad in an inclusive fashion, and work creatively to integrate these experiences into its own efforts to develop a corruption-free city. At the same time, it must be adept at identifying, refining, and promoting the widespread application of sound practices and new experiences that have been developed by the various departments and institutions of the city in their efforts to promote a corruption-free city. Shenzhen should rely on the joint efforts of all parties concerned to produce more results and gain more experience, thereby not only laying down solid foundations for the deepening of its own efforts, but also providing reference for other cities around the country.

Shenzhen needs to strengthen leadership and clearly define responsibilities. Party committees and governments at all levels need to strengthen their organization and leadership, formulate detailed work plans, and launch specific implementation schemes in regard to the development of a corruption-free city. They must identify objectives for short-term and long-term initiatives, clarify responsible institutions, define responsibilities, and formulate timetables and schedules for the fulfillment of these responsibilities, so as to set up a complete responsibility system for the effort to develop a corruption-free city. Departments and institutions concerned need to clarify their respective responsibilities, fulfill these responsibilities, and perform their duties as leading or supporting institutions in this effort. This will help to create a situation in which all departments work together in a concerted effort. Discipline inspection and supervision agencies are required to play the role of an organizer and a coordinator, which means that they should assist Party committees and different levels of government in breaking up, implementing, and monitoring the implementation of tasks. They must be stern in the investigation of malpractice in order to promote the sound progression of efforts to develop a corruption-free city. Shenzhen also needs to develop a scientific and rational performance appraisal system. This system should integrate the inspection of initiatives to develop a corruption-free city with accountability appraisals in regard to improving Party conduct and ensuring clean government. At the same time, progress in the effort to develop a corruption-free city should be identified as a key criterion in the annual evaluation and tenure evaluations of leadership and leading cadres. The results of inspections should be applied to ensure that every individual initiative in the effort to develop a corruption-free city is subject to the necessary arrangement, inspection, and supervision, so as to guarantee that all initiatives are carried out in full.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.2, 2012)

Author: Deputy Secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

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