OPINION – Fight against crime and corruption: a strong state in China

The formal approval of a law against organized crime by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on December 24and2021 and an important speech delivered by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CCP) Xi Jinping at the 19th meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing on January 18and2022 marked the persistence of a strong Chinese party-state in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of the main tasks of this strong Chinese state is to fight both organized crime and corruption and prevent them from infiltrating the party-state and spreading through society.

The Anti-Organized Crime Law (AOCL) had nine chapters, the most important of which are Chapter 2 (Prevention and Management), Chapter 3 (Case Management), Chapter 4 (Identification and Disposal of Assets), Chapter 5 ( disposal of national staff members involved in organized crime) and chapter 6 (international cooperation).

Article 1 of the AOCL states that the law aims to prevent and punish organized crime, protect national security, maintain social and economic order, and protect the legal rights of citizens and groups. Article 2 defines organized crime as organizations and leaders participating in triads and gangs, as stipulated in Article 294 of the Criminal Law of the PRC. Article 3 asserts that AOCL shall uphold the “comprehensive view of maintaining national security” through the use of law, economics, technology, culture and education, which are the means of establishing an “effective apparatus for the fight and prevention of organized crime”.

In short, the enactment of the AOCL enriches the content of Article 294 of the Criminal Law and protects the national security of the PRC.

Article 6 mentions the need for the supervisory agency, people’s court, people’s procuratorate, public security organs, judicial and executive departments to coordinate to fight against organized crime. Government departments should mobilize the masses and rely on village committees, residents’ committees, social enterprises and social organizations to fight organized crime.

The PRC regime is mobilizing its government departments, mass organizations and grassroots committees to wage war against organized crime at all levels, especially at the village and people’s level.

Article 9 of Chapter 2 specifies the need for village committees and residents’ committees to assist the administrations in the prevention and fight against organized crime. Article 10 stresses that the work of combating organized crime must be made public to citizens through education, the media and the Internet. Article 11 mentions the role of education departments and schools in raising students’ awareness of organized crime. Schools have a responsibility to report to public safety and education agencies any attempt by an organized criminal group to infiltrate schools to develop triad membership.

Clearly, the PRC government is concerned about the likelihood of organized criminal groups penetrating society, ranging from villages to residents’ committees and schools.

Similarly, Article 13 stresses that the leaders of the market surveillance agency, the monetary surveillance agency, the transport and logistics sector as well as the natural resources sector must work with the security agencies. to prevent and combat organized crime. By implication, the government is concerned about the penetration of organized criminal groups into these strategic economic sectors.

Article 16 emphasizes the need for the telecommunications industry and Internet service providers to prevent ideas involving organized crime from spreading to the public and they should also work with public safety. Article 18 emphasizes the role of prisons, detention centers and rehabilitation agencies in monitoring and educating criminals involved in organized crime. These criminals are expected to reform and integrate smoothly into society after serving their prison terms – a typical Chinese approach to reforming citizens who have committed criminal offenses.

The government is concerned about the penetration of organized criminal groups into the private sector. Section 20 states that businesses started by organized crime leaders will be closely monitored and investigated, while Section 21 states that immigration, customs and maritime law enforcement authorities have the right to deny entry to the mainland to those who are elements of organized crime outside of China.

Chapter 3 deals with the management of organized crime cases, including the disenfranchisement of political rights; the confiscation of assets and the imposition of fines on elements of organized crime (article 22); and the empowerment of public security agencies to verify the deposits, remittances, securities, stocks and funds of suspects (Article 27). In urgent cases, the confiscation of suspects’ assets cannot exceed 48 hours (article 27). Organized crime suspects can be imprisoned in a prison in another locality, or imprisoned alone, but this imprisonment must inform the suspects, their families and the defendants. Article 34 explicitly states that the property and assets of organized crime elements may be confiscated. Article 35 adds that organized crime leaders can be imprisoned for 10 years or more.

Chapter 4 focuses on asset management of organized crime elements. Article 41 stipulates that if the investigation of the suspects reveals that the companies concerned are not linked to organized crime, the confiscated assets must be returned to the victims.

Obviously, there are checks on public security agencies that may, in the process of implementing the law, override its powers. In other words, the interests of innocent suspects are protected by the AOCL.

However, Article 42 emphasizes the need for public security agencies to acquire information from anti-money laundering officers on suspicious transactions and the latter must work with the former. Clearly, elements of organized crime were laundering their proceeds, raising concerns among law enforcement authorities.

Chapter 5 shows the government’s concern about state officials who might be involved in organized crime. Any official likely to direct, participate in, assist, protect, intervene or be negligent in organized criminal activities may be sanctioned (Article 50). Article 52 emphasizes the need to punish any state official who discloses information about the investigation to elements of organized crime.

A link between elements of organized crime and government officials is prohibited in the AOCL.

Chapter 6 highlights the need for the PRC to establish international cooperation in the fight against organized crime, including strengthening cooperation mechanisms with other police in different countries (Article 55) through the exchange of criminal intelligence. , mutual legal assistance and extradition (Article 56 ) and the issue of the surrender of evidence.

Besides the AOCL, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping on Jan. 18 stressed the need for the party center to centralize leadership in the fight against corruption. He said the CCP should “strictly govern itself” according to law, such strictness should not waver, the party should adopt “zero tolerance” towards corruption, and the party should lead the “revolution Social” to advance anti-corruption work (Mingpao, January 19, p. A13).

In a nutshell, the CCP must implement “self-revolution” so that its longevity, legitimacy and success can and will persist.

What was significant about Xi Jinping’s speech was that he stressed the need to unearth “a minority” of CCP members who were corrupt in order to “perfect the party and the nation’s oversight system.” “. If the CPC persists in its anti-corruption work, then a “global surveillance system coverage” mechanism can and will “strengthen in the long term and steadily and effectively.” Xi stressed that the fight against corruption must be “permanent” so that the “different colors of interest groups” involved in corruption can and are weeded out.

If “permanent revolution” was a feature of China under Chairman Mao Zedong, a new “permanent social revolution” in China under Chairman Xi Jinping can be seen in the anti-corruption campaign, which is expected to be prolonged, persistent and growing. deepen in the direction of establishing a self-monitoring mechanism that can and will strengthen the CPC.

According to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CDIC), in the first nine months of 2021, there were 470,000 anti-corruption work cases involving 414,000 sanctioned people, and twenty-two “tigers” who were civil servants working at provincial and ministerial levels. levels. In addition, 2,058 departmental level party cadres and 17,000 departmental level cadres were also punished.

To publicize the anti-corruption work, a series of television programs entitled “Zero Tolerance” were broadcast; Government officials who were corrupt were also shown admitting their mistakes and repenting on state television.

In short, China undoubtedly demonstrates a strong state emphasizing clean governance along the lines of persistent work against organized crime and corruption. Organized criminal groups and individuals cannot be allowed to enter or infiltrate state institutions, society and private sector businesses – a phenomenon that is evident in the content of the Crime Act organized recently enacted. On the other hand, corruption cannot be allowed to grow inside and outside the ruling party, whose officials and leaders must respect the principle of clean governance so that the The CCP-led Chinese state can and will continue to enjoy a high degree of legitimacy and longevity.

Maria D. Ervin