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A Disciplined Vanguard
Sixth plenary session advocates comprehensive and stricter governance of the Party
By Wang Hairong | NO. 45 NOVEMBER 10, 2016


Wang Qishan (third right) chairs a meeting of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to study the decisions of the Sixth Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee on November 1 (XINHUA) 

The Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which concluded on October 27, saw two documents being approved. With the theme of the session being strict governance of the Party, the documents too were related to it. While one was on the norms of political life within the Party in the new situation, the second was a regulation on intra-Party supervision. The communiqué issued after the session has received intense attention from various social sectors.

Session highlights 

The session had three highlights. First, it focused on fundamentals. The practice of governing the Party strictly since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 has demonstrated that a serious and meticulous approach to intra-Party political life is the foundation for the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party. By focusing on intra-Party political life, the session sought to consolidate the foundation.

Second, the session highlighted institution-building. Institutions are a guarantee for serious intra-Party political life. Since comprehensive and strict governance of the Party should be based on the Party Constitution, the Constitution should be refined into specific disciplinary norms, code of conduct, rules and regulations.

A careful observer will notice a change at this plenary session. Till recently, the plenary sessions used to result in a document released on the theme of each session. However, the sixth plenary session produced two documents. This underscores the Party's determination to govern itself through institution-building.

Third, the session called on all Party members to "closely unite around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core." This carries far-reaching significance. It further affirms the authority of the CPC Central Committee and hence is conducive to the unity of the whole Party.

Since its inception, the CPC has won support from the people and scored victories in revolutionary struggles because it had a strong core to lead all Party members and other people in the country to sustained development.

Closely uniting around the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core is necessary, as has been proved since the 18th CPC National Congress. It has been endorsed by the 88 million CPC members and 1.3 billion-plus citizens of China.


Wang Qishan (third right) chairs a meeting of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to study the decisions of the Sixth Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee on November 1 (XINHUA) 

Stricter governance 

The session has defined intra-Party political life more comprehensively. The primary task of intra-Party life is to firm up ideals and beliefs by upholding the Party's political and organizational guidelines as well as the mass line. The Party's basic line in the primary stage of socialism is a fundamental guarantee for the normal development of intra-Party political life. The purpose of regulating intra-Party political life is to safeguard the authority of the CPC Central Committee and ensure that Party orders are executed.

Strict discipline is an important part of intra-Party political life. Serving the people wholeheartedly and maintaining close ties with them is fundamental to strengthening and standardizing intra-Party political life. Democratic centralism is an important institutional guarantee for the normal development of intra-Party political life.

The plenary communiqué also proposes establishing an intra-Party supervision system led by the CPC Central Committee. It is to be implemented by Party committees and groups, disciplinary inspection organizations and other party organizations, as well as by Party members.

Strict supervision should target all Party members, especially senior Party cadres, with a focus on the Party's leading organs and leading cadres, especially the leading cadres of the CPC Central Committee, and the Political Bureau and its standing committee.

Serious intra-Party political life is a good tradition of the Party. Since its founding, the Party has attached great importance to intra-Party political life. Over time, the basic norms of intra-Party political life have gradually formed, such as seeking truth from facts, combining theory and practice, maintaining close ties with the people, carrying out criticism and self-criticism, upholding the system of democratic centralism and observing strict Party discipline.

However, over the years, the Party's political life has become increasingly weakened. An abnormal intra-Party political life has resulted in deteriorated intra-Party political ecology, and vice versa. That is why Xi has been stressing the need for a serious intra-Party political life and clean intra-Party political ecology.

Intra-Party political life should be emphasized so that all Party members stay true to their mission and keep moving forward and the Party becomes a truly great Marxist party and an outstanding vanguard.

The sixth plenary session showed that the stricter Party governance has entered a new stage. The session reviewed the major achievements in the strict governance of the Party since the 18th CPC National Congress and arranged for relevant work in the future. The session has built consensus and sent out clear signals, marking a new milestone in Party-building and opening a new chapter in the socialist cause upheld by the Party.


A Party disciplinary official (right) informs residents of Xianfeng Village, Fujian Province, how to report discipline violations on February 3 (XINHUA) 

The author is a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. This article is an edited version of his interview published on on October 28

Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar 

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