The most important meeting this year on the calendar of the Chinese Communist Party opened Oct. 20 in Beijing and runs through Oct. 23. At the Fourth Plenary Session of Central Committee of the 18th National Party Congress there are 5 issues that can be expected to be covered.
How Far Will Judicial Reform Go?
“With a law that cannot be put into practice, the law would simply be useless words. And the rule of law would be an empty talk,” said head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Xi Jinping during the central political conference in January this year. “Lax law enforcement and unjust judicial system are the results of only a handful of police officers having a sense of professional moral values.”
“Some of the lawyers, judges and prosecutors are working together. And together they become some sort of judicial brokers,” Xi said.
Chang Su-han, a professor from the National Judges College, stated that he expected that personnel and assets from the courts and protectorates will be put under the supervision of individual provinces, reported the Beijing News on Oct. 20.
— Clear Asset Finance (@ClearAF_Leasing) October 20, 2014
This is not the first time that judicial reform has been a topic of discussion. In November last year, during the Third Plenary Session of 18th CCP Central Committee, there were calls for introducing a separation of powers between the courts and the procuratorates, the units responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
Chinese people have long held grievances because of corruption in the public security, procuratorial organs, and courts, which were all under the supervision of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee.
There has been an official effort to dampen hopes for radical change.
South China Morning Post on Oct. 16 quoted the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily as saying, “It concerns us that some people expect the Fourth Plenum to perfect the country’s rule of law overnight and even offer solutions to all problems.”
What Will Happen to Zhou?
Zhou Yongkang, the former security tsar in China, was announced by the Chinese authorities to be under investigation in July this year.
According to Reuters, which cited three sources speaking on condition of anonymity, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the main anti-graft task force in China, will present its investigation on Zhou, and the Central Committee is going to expel Zhou for grave violations of party discipline.
In an interview with the Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily on July 30 Hu Xingdou, a Beijing expert, said that the case against Zhou is the worst corruption case since 1947, and he believes it is likely that Zhou will be given a death sentence or a suspended death sentence.
Who Will Be Promoted?
Five members of the Central Committee—Jiang Jiemin, Li Dongsheng, Li Chuncheng, Wang Yongchun, and Wan Qingliang—have had their Party memberships revoked as part of Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign. At the Plenum they will also be stripped of their positions in the Central Committee.
Jiang Jiemin and Wang Yongchun were kicked out of the Party because of corruption in the oil industry. Li Chuncheng and Li Dongsheng, the former deputy secretary of the Ministry of Public Security, were under investigation for ties to Zhou, while Wan Qingliang, the former Guangzhou party boss, was expelled because of extortion and bribery.
Jiang, Wang, and Li Dongsheng are all important members of the faction loyal to former Party head Jiang Zemin. Jiang Jiemin, Li Dongsheng, Li Chuncheng, and Wang Youngchun are all known to have played significant roles in persecuting the spiritual practice of Falun Gong.
Chinese media has reported that it is unprecedented for 5 members of Central Committee are removed at the same time.
According to Wenweipo, a Hong Kong based newspaper, the leading two reserve candidates on the Central Committee that are likely to be promoted are Ma Jiangtang, director of the National Bureau of Statistics and Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.
More Power for Anti-Corruption Chief?
Wang Qishan, the secretary of the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection and head of the Party’s anti-corruption task force, is likely to be given more political power, according to Hu Xingdou, Professor of Economics at Beijing Institute of Technology, in an article on the state-run Xinhua Net.
“Anti-corruption campaign is the core to the concept of the rule by law,” stated Hu. “Based on what Xi has done since becoming the top leader, there is likely to be an independent ‘national anti-corruption bureau,’ which is a combination of multiple government departments and bureaus including the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, State Bureau of Letters and Calls, National Audit Office, and others.”
“Even if a national anti-corruption bureau is not set up, there is surely some integration of the different government agencies so the anti-corruption campaign can be more effective,” said Hu.
Consensus on Hong Kong?
As talk is scheduled on Oct. 21 between student protesters in Hong Kong and government officials, the stance that Chinese top leaders have regarding Hong Kong is surely going to be under close watch.
Currently, there is a tug of war within the Chinese political circles regarding the situation in Hong Kong.
“Rule Hong Kong in accordance with the law,” is what is likely to be re-emphasized, according to the Hong Kong China News Agency on Oct. 19.