Separating Party discipline from law signals progress in CPC's administration
 ( 2015.10.22 )

BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The newly-revised Communist Party of China (CPC) rules on disciplinary penalties, which separate Party discipline from the law, marks fresh progress by the country in advancing the rule of law.

The rules, unveiled on Wednesday, ensure harsh and consistent penalties for wrongdoers within the CPC, slashed more than 70 provisions which overlap with state law, such as those related to corruption, bribery and dereliction of duty.

It is not enough for CPC members to stand on the edge of the law. This is a concept reiterated by the CPC leaders as Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out the strategic "Four Comprehensives," which include strictly governing of the Party.

Though the law has set the "bottom line" for behavior, CPC rules demand more from its members.

The previous version of the rules, however, were accused of lacking a clear boundary between Party discipline and the law, with nearly half of the disciplinary regulations identical to state laws.

The similarities lowered the criteria for Party members and failed to show the Party's advanced nature, which has been championed by CPC leadership.

The new version has replaced the overlapping clauses with provisions ordering the CPC's 88 million members to "play an exemplary role in observing the law" and vowing Party member law violations would be punished.

Thus, Party discipline is distinguished from and interrelated to the state law at the same time amid the central authority's efforts to advance the rule of law and strictly govern the Party.

Party disciplines and state laws have been both listed as key parts in a legal reform package to advance the rule of law at a key CPC meeting in October last year. The leadership has reiterated the principle that the ruling Party's "discipline and rules must be harsher than the law."

If the new regulations are enforced well, it is expected to dispel a dated distinction between "good comrade" or "prisoners" by having a preventative effect by spotting and giving warning to CPC members' petty misconduct at an early stage.

The CPC top disciplinary chief Wang Qishan said during an inspection tour last month that officials subject to minor disciplinary penalties should be the majority of those who have made mistakes, while severely punished or demoted officials should be a small proportion -- and those who are prosecuted for suspected law-breaking less still.

CPC leaders have stated repeatedly the regulation for comprehensive and strict rule of the Party are never finalized.

To survive and excel, the CPC need to constantly improve Party disciplines and rules as they are implemented so as to keep pace with reality and times and give them a unique role in the discipline of the ruling party's members.