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People’s Forum: How to Understand “Improper Comments on Party Central’ Decisions”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published new Party Disciplinary Regulations on October 21, 2015. They included a new violation item: "妄议中央." This term refers to officials who make improper comments to, or criticize, Party Central’ decisions.

People’s Forum, a subsidiary under People’s Daily, published an article to explain this regulation. The article claimed that Party members are still allowed to have individual opinions which can be different from the Party’s position and they can express them through proper channels. This disciplinary item aims to prevent officials from making improper comments or criticizing the Party Central’s key decisions in a public format, such as on the Internet, radio, television, newspapers, publications, speeches, forums, or conferences.

The article then gave five examples of fallen officials who committed this violation:

1. Zhou Benshun, the former Party Secretary of Hebei Province, made statements opposing the Party Central’s position on major issues.

2. Yu Yuanhui, the former Party Secretary of Nanning City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said in a lecture to Nanning Party members, "Some Party cadres, when being investigated for disciplinary violations, confessed within a couple of days. They lack the backbone and willpower [to oppose the investigation]."

3. Zhao Shaolin, the former Chief of Staff of Jiangsu Party Committee discussed the function of the Agriculture Bureau with another official. Zhao claimed that the bureau should be eliminated because it does not offer officials real power or profits (gain from corruption).

4. Shen Peiping, the former Deputy Governor of Yunnan Province, told people who reported to him that the state’s assets had been stolen, "Even if you get the state’s assets back, you have to hand them over to the government. Why should you care?" He also instructed the officials in the legal system, "For those people reporting this case, (you) must find a way to sentence them with a crime, regardless of whether they are guilty."

5. Guo Zhenggang, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Major General and son of Guo Boxiong (the former Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission who was taken down earlier this year), made comments about the Party Central’s anti-corruption campaign, "The Anti-corruption (campaign) is just a formality. Making a show at the surface is good enough."

Source: People’s Forum, December 14, 2015