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Yearender: Xinhua Insight: CPC gets closer to masses to ensure a "red China"

12-21-2013 19:55 BJT Special Report:CPC Launches Mass Line Campaign |

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- With the Communist Party of China (CPC) clamping down on party corruption as part of its "mass line" campaign, some officials fear they will face hard times unless they get closer to the people.

One official in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality admitted he was talking too much and doing little, like "a shop owner leaving his business to employees."

Another official in the northern province of Hebei said he wrote and revised his self-criticism letters nearly 30 times, and "the more he reflected on his work, the more he sweated" as he realized his mistakes of not caring about people's well-being.

The officials were participating in "democratic life meetings," at which they were required to criticise themselves and their colleagues.

Such sessions, sometimes attended by top leaders, including Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, are part of the mass line campaign, a "thorough clean-up" of the party to rid it of "formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance."

Almost 20,000 Chinese officials had been punished by the end of October for breaches of the anti-bureaucracy and waste guidelines announced by the central authorities late last year, according to a statement from the Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection of the CPC, the Party's anti-graft watchdog.

In the past 90-plus years, the CPC has grown from a revolutionary party of just over 50 members to an 80-million-strong political party ruling the world's most populous country.

However, the Party has been confronted with the increasingly grave dangers of incompetence, a lack of drive, corruption, being out of touch with the people, and other misconduct.

The campaign to promote the mass line, described as the "lifeline of the Party," was launched in June to broaden and cultivate contact with the masses amid growing public discontent over corruption. The campaign is supposed to continue until mid-2014.

During his July inspection tour to Xibaipo in Hebei Province, which served as a revolutionary base for the CPC between 1948 and 1949, Xi urged Party members to serve the people wholeheartedly to "ensure the color of red China will never change."

There used to be concerns that the "mass line" campaign could do little to shake up the party, and the campaign would become ritualized or a formality. However, the public and low-level officials are now seeing more clearly that the central leadership is determined to bolster the party's ties to the people through long-term efforts.

CHANGES

While eating and sleeping in local households, Zhou Benshun, secretary of the CPC Hebei Provincial Committee, and his colleagues were reminded of the days when they walked or rode bicycles to inspect villages and sat chatting with locals on long wooden benches.

In an effort to listen to people's voices and find their own shortcomings, Zhou and other local officials each stayed with locals for at least three days as a measure to fight slack work styles and obsession with superficial performance.

The provincial leaders also drafted 25 rectification measures, focusing on scientific and democratic decision-making and sticking to a clean-handed and people-oriented work style.

The central leadership has repeatedly urged efforts to ensure the results of the campaign can be seen and felt by the public and satisfy as many people as possible.

Dozens of teams of officials were dispatched by Party leadership to make sure that provincial leaders, university principals and the managers of state-owned enterprises seriously implement the campaign, reflect on their own practices and correct any misbehavior.

To implement the mass line, it is necessary to solve the problems that are most urgent and the people are worried about most, said Ma Tianrong, Party chief of north China's Changzhi City. "This year, we are putting priority on settling problems concerning education, employment, medical care and land use."

While promoting "soft" management of society, the campaign is removing with iron hands the privileges enjoyed by officials, which range from the use of government vehicles to lavish funerals.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee has issued a package of rules since December of last year requiring officials to refrain from excessive spending of public money on official vehicles, overseas trips, and receptions, which are the "three guzzlers" of public funds most likely to spark public outrage if used improperly.

A circular issued this week said CPC members and officials are strictly forbidden from hosting luxurious funerals or taking advantage of the occasion to collect condolence money from visitors.

Analysts said the new Chinese leadership is demonstrating its willingness to listen to public grievances and tackle deep-rooted problems that are getting in the way of the Party's development.

 


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