Supervisory commissions work under strict oversight

China's newly established supervisory commissions will work under tight internal and external oversight, according to the Beijing Supervisory Commission.

China’s newly established supervisory commissions will work under tight internal and external oversight, according to the Beijing Supervisory Commission.

Zhang Shuofu, director of the commission, told reporters yesterday that supervisory commissions at various levels have strict division of power within the organizations.

“We also have strict procedure on how investigations are carried out in order to avoid collecting evidence by illegal means,” he said.

Externally, the commissions are subject to supervision from the Communist Party of China committees at the same level, and discipline inspection commissions and supervisory commissions at the next level up, Zhang said.

“We are also supervised by the people’s congresses and their standing committees at the same level,” he said, adding that supervision from procuratorates and society generally is also in place.

Last year, Beijing piloted a program integrating the discipline commission with a separate one overseeing the civil service.

China has now established supervision commissions in every county, city and province. The commissions will share offices with discipline inspection commissions to supervise those exercising public power.

The CPC Central Committee has proposed listing the supervisory commissions in the country’s Constitution as new type of state organs. The supervisory commissions will independently exercise their power of supervision and not be subject to interference by any administrative organ, public organization or individual, the proposal said.

The National People’s Congress is expected to pass a supervision law and amend the Constitution at its annual meeting in March, finalizing the establishment of a National Supervision Commission.

Zhang also said a new measure “liuzhi,” referred to as “detention,” is based on rule of law.

The rights of those placed in such custody would be ensured, along with their living conditions and medical care, he said.

The measure was introduced last year to replace the previous “shuanggui” system, in which Party members submitted to questioning at a location and time chosen by investigators.

“Major crimes related to official duties are not the same as normal crimes, and the investigations cannot be done in the same way,” Zhang said.

Detention is “an important measure for combating corruption by thinking and using means based on the rule of law,” he said. “We are very cautious about taking this measure, and the approval process is very strict.”

Zhang said detention for a period of three months could be ordered in cases where investigators fear a suspect could flee, commit suicide, collude with others, or falsify, destroy or conceal evidence. That could be extended just once for another three months, he said.

In an indication of the frequency of the measure’s use, he said out of 89 cases referred by his office to prosecutors last year, 68 had spent some time in detention.