China to create new independent anti-graft body

Beijing, Dec 27 (IANS) China’s National People’s Congress, the highest organ of state power, approved the creation of a new independent anti-corruption body, the media reported on Tuesday.

The creation of this supervision committee is part of the Communist Party of China’s high profile anti-graft campaign that has intensified under a mandate by President Xi Jinping, and will grant disciplinary powers to legislative assemblies for the first time, the China Daily reported.

“It implies that supervision authorities will no longer be affiliated with the government, bringing to an end a long history of internal supervision,” said Li Yongzhong, former deputy head of the Chinese Discipline Inspection Institute.

The new committee will have the same legal capacity as the executive, he added.

It will integrate the functions of the supervision and corruption prevention departments, as well as some of the powers of the prosecution body handling crimes linked with public functions, including corruption and negligence-related crimes.

The committee will investigate corruption and other job-related offences, but will transfer criminal offence cases to prosecutors.

This department, whose establishment was approved Sunday in the meeting of the NPC’s Standing Committee, will not only be able to investigate government officials of the administrative branch but also “courts, prosecutors offices, legislative bodies, and State-owned enterprises”, Jiang Ming’an, a law professor from Peking University told the daily.

Pilot programmes will be held to test the functioning of this committee in Beijing and in the provinces of Zhejiang and Shanxi.

Until now, the Central Discipline Inspection Commission of the CPC was in charge of overseeing all government officials and party members.