VI. Handling Cases of Corruption in Accordance with Law and Discipline
It is a most direct and effective means to combat corruption by investigating and dealing with cases of corruption in accordance with law and discipline. Upholding the principle that everyone is equal before the law and discipline, the CPC and the Chinese government are serious in dealing with corruption among cadres who are Party members and state functionaries, maintaining a stern momentum in the checking of corruption.
China has prioritized cases of corruption to be investigated and handled in response to the different characteristics of corruption phenomena in different periods. In the 1980s, the crackdown was mainly aimed at serious economic crimes and speculative buying and selling by taking advantage of the double-track price system. In the 1990s, the focus was shifted to breaches of the law and discipline by Party and government leading organizations, administrative and law-enforcement departments, judicial organs, economic management departments, and leading cadres above the county (division) level. The emphasis was placed on investigating and dealing with cases of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, negligence and dereliction of duty, taking bribes and bending the law, and other official misbehavior and degeneration, and efforts were strengthened to investigate and deal with cases of corruption in the fields of finance, real estate and engineering construction. In the 21st century, while making continuous efforts to handle cases in the above-mentioned aspects, the focus has been shifted to investigating and dealing with cases in which leading cadres take advantage of their control over personnel affairs, judicial powers, right to administrative examination and approval, and right to administrative law enforcement to act in collusion with lawbreaking businessmen, trade power for money, and solicit and take bribes, cases in which leading cadres provide protective shield for underworld and evil forces, and cases of serious infringement on the interests of the people, and cases of corruption that cause mass disturbances and major accidents due to negligence.
The CPC's organs for discipline inspection and the government's supervisory departments have all along persisted in investigating and dealing with cases of corruption in accordance with the law and discipline, making efforts to ensure that the facts are clear, the evidence is irrefutable, the verdict is correct, the handling is appropriate, formalities are complete and the procedure is lawful. All the links have been strictly regulated, including reporting, acceptance of a complaint, preliminary examination, filing a case, investigation, trial, punishment, execution of punishment, and supervision and management of a case. The principle of handling all cases in a civilized and standard manner is upheld to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of those who are under investigation, including the right of person, property right, right to defense, right of appeal and right to know.
The people's procuratorates can, in accordance with the law, directly file cases of job-related crimes committed by state functionaries for investigation, such as embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and infringement on citizens' rights, and initiate public prosecution to the people's courts on behalf of the state. Accepting reports on such crimes and cases transferred from relevant departments, the procuratorial organs launch timely examinations and initial investigations of the clues of the reported crimes and materials regarding the cases. For those cases in which criminal facts are evident and criminal liability needs to be prosecuted, the procuratorial organs file them for investigation in accordance with legal procedures, and ascertain the criminal facts of the suspects in accordance with the law. Following the conclusion of investigation, the procuratorial organs shall deal with them in accordance with the law on the basis of ascertained facts and evidence. For those cases of which there are verified facts and ample evidence and for which criminal liability needs to be prosecuted in accordance with the law, the departments of the people's procuratorates dealing with embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and infringements on rights shall transfer them to the departments in charge of public prosecution for examination before the latter initiate legal proceedings in the people's courts. From 2003 to 2009, the people's procuratorates at all levels filed for investigation more than 240,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and infringements on rights. Battling the crime of taking bribes, China has improved a database on criminal records of bribery, and intensified efforts in punishing and preventing crime of bribery. In 2009, some 3,194 people were punished for their criminal liability in offering bribes.
As the judicial organs of the state, the people's courts exercise juridical power independently in accordance with the law. In China, no person shall be found guilty without being judged as such by a people's court in accordance with the law. For cases of corruption that the procuratorial organs have initiated legal proceedings in accordance with the law, such as embezzlement, bribery or dereliction of duty, the people' s courts shall try them in accordance with the law and make sentences in line with the principles of prescribing punishments for specified crimes, equality of all before the law, and compatibility of crime, responsibility and penalty. All cases handled by the people's courts shall be heard in public, except for those involving state or business secrets, privacy or minors. The people's courts shall safeguard the procedural rights to which participants in the legal proceedings are entitled by law, and ensure that the accused enjoy fully the right of defense. During trials of corruption cases, the people's courts shall adhere to the principle that all are equal before the law, no matter how important the posts those are accused of committing corruption hold or used to hold. Anyone whose acts of corruption constitute crimes shall be convicted and punished in accordance with the law. No privilege beyond the law is permissible, nor should the punishment be aggravated beyond the maximum prescribed by law because of their special social status or pressure from the public.
To ensure accurate application of the law and unify judicial standards, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate have timely issued relevant judicial interpretations in accordance with the law on the basis of summing up experience in hearing of and initiating public prosecution for cases related to corruption, such as embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty, so as to promptly solve newly emerging problems in the work of trial and public prosecution. This has played an important role in directing people's courts and people's procuratorates at all levels to handle such cases properly.
China has launched a campaign to combat bribery in business. In recent years, major efforts have been made to deal with cases of commercial bribery in six major areas, namely, engineering construction, grant of the land-use right and mineral resources exploration and mining right, trade of property rights, purchasing and marketing of drugs, government procurement, and development of and deals in resources, as well as those related to bank credit, securities and futures, commercial insurance, publishing and distribution, sports, telecommunications, electric power, quality control and environmental protection. In addition, crackdown has also been launched on cross-border commercial bribery in accordance with the law and discipline. From 2005, when the special campaign against commercial bribery was launched, to 2009, over 69,200 cases of commercial bribery had been investigated and dealt with, involving 16.59 billion yuan in total.
The Chinese government has made the rectification of unhealthy practices that harm the interests of the people one of major tasks in the fight against corruption. A special campaign has been launched to clamp down on arbitrary price hikes, charges, fines and requisition of donations that harm the interests of the people in some localities and departments. Meanwhile, special inspection and other measures have been adopted to rectify problems infringing upon the interests of the people in rural land expropriation, urban resettlement, restructuring of state-owned enterprises, purchases and sales of drugs and medical services, as well as the problem of wage defaults haunting rural migrant workers. The state has speeded up the steps of reform, abolished agricultural tax and charges for compulsory education, and adopted a series of measures in the reforms of the educational and health-care systems, thereby creating favorable conditions for rectifying unhealthy practices that harm the interests of the people.
The Chinese government has gradually strengthened the administrative accountability system, with the chief executive as the core, to fight against unjust law enforcement, administrative acts in violation of the law, disobeying orders and defying prohibitions, administrative inaction and chaos, and earnestly fix responsibility for cases that seriously infringe on the interests of the state and the public and the citizens' lawful rights and interests in accordance with the law and discipline. In 2009, the Interim Provisions on the Implementation of Accountability for Party and Government Leading Cadres was issued, stating explicitly that responsibility must be fixed for seven types of acts that incur heavy losses or produce baneful influences, including serious mistakes in decision making, dereliction of duty, and ineffective management and supervision. In 2009, some 7,036 leading cadres were held responsible for such acts.