Following their extended scope, supervision agencies under the pilot programme in Beijing, Shanxi and Zhejiang have restructured their existing disciplinary and anti-graft departments before establishing a checks and balances mechanism that includes offices of management, supervision, inspection and case review.
The management offices will handle tip-offs and reports, make regular updates, and oversee the entire supervision process. The supervision sectors will work routinely but not handle any specific cases. Inspection departments will file and investigate cases that are suspected of law and discipline violations. The case review departments, however, will examine holes in the evidence and unjustified claims. These separate departments are under the management of different leaders in order to prevent internal malpractice and corruption to the utmost extent.
According to He Zhigang, deputy director of the management office of Shanxi Provincial Supervision Commission, the main work of his department is sending reports and tip-offs from auditing, judicial and administrative bodies to related supervision offices.
Niu Xiaoming told our reporter that supervision offices have to register carefully and organise internal conferences to analyze cases and deliver a report with conclusions including inquiry, preliminary verification and further investigation or settlement based on the seriousness of the case. For serious violations of disciplinary rules and duty-related crimes, a report of preliminary verification will be drafted.
Liu Xiaolin, deputy director of the third inspection office of Shanxi provincial supervision commission, told our reporter that after receiving preliminary verification reports, they will organise a special team to investigate each case. In the meantime, the provincial supervision commission will entrust a leader to be responsible for the case.
In the process of preliminary verification, related information, including the personal data of suspects and physical evidence, has to be collected before making a preliminary judgement. If disciplinary violations or crimes are found, a file will be handed to the inspection office, which will conduct an official investigation before reporting to the case review office.
Yang Hong, head of the case review office under the Shanxi provincial supervision commission, told ChinaReport that his office serves as a watchdog in the supervision process, trying to ensure that “everybody is equal before the law and discipline, and no suspect will escape and no one is treated unjustly.”
The three pilot regions – Beijing, Zhejiang and Shanxi – established a strict internal supervision system in which supervision, inspection and case review offices performed different functions with a balance of power. The central government also required that the three regions not communicate with each other in order to prevent similar reform measures.
Within the supervision commission, a case review office plays a role similar to that of the courts, and an inspection office fulfils a role similar to the police. The management office plays the role of a prosecutors office. Supervision commissions at the county-level across the country are not divided into discipline supervision offices and discipline inspection offices.
According to Yang Hong, the separation of power also aims to give full play to the supervision role of the commission, which is the “long-term goal to deepen reform at disciplinary and supervisory bodies.” Yang argued that through routine disciplinary supervision, a great number of possible violations of law and discipline could be rooted out early on.
To date, there are eight discipline supervision offices and eight inspection offices in Beijing, seven supervision offices and six inspection offices in Zhejiang, and eight supervision offices and three inspection offices in Shanxi.
“If discipline supervision is well implemented, the pressure on discipline inspection offices will be significantly relieved. Discipline supervision is, generally speaking, more fundamental and crucial,” Yang told ChinaReport.
Since the start of the pilot programme, more than 20 regulations on supervision, inspection, investigation and management have been rolled out in Zhejiang. In addition, 45 legal documents and 70 inspection templates have been drafted to facilitate the province’s supervision measures.
Liu Jianchao, head of Zhejiang provincial supervision commission, said that the province has given priority to handling the most noticeable problems as well as trying to establish a mechanism that works pragmatically and practically.
“It is not likely we will reach all aspects of the matter or solve all problems at the same time,” Liu told ChinaReport. “We are not going to produce an encyclopedia or volumes of clauses because that will make things even more complicated.”