Full Text: Progress in China's Human Rights in 2013 (7)

Building political integrity is the premise of the effective operation of a democratic system. In 2013 the CPC and the Chinese government further intensified their efforts to combat corruption, putting power, government operations and personnel management under institutional checks to ensure that the people oversee the exercise of power and that power is exercised in a transparent manner. Institutional reform of the State Council was fully launched; the central government decentralized and canceled 416 items of administrative approvals in 2013. In view of multiple corruption problems in certain fields, the CPC Central Committee issued the Work Plan for Establishing and Improving the System of Preventing and Punishing Corruption (2013-2017). In 2013 discipline inspection and procuratorial organs at all levels received 1,950,374 complaints of related offences through petition visits and letters, including 1,220,191 accusatory and prosecutable cases; filed 172,532 cases, concluded 173,186 cases, and punished 182,038 violators. In 2013 procuratorial organs at all levels filed and investigated 37,551 cases of official crimes involving 51,306 suspects, up 9.4percent and 8.4percent respectively on a year-on-year basis. China increased its efforts to handle major cases, filed and investigated 2,581 cases of embezzlement, bribery and appropriation of public funds, each involving over 1 million yuan, and 2,871 state functionaries at and above the county/division level, including 253 officials at the prefecture/bureau level and eight at the provincial/ministerial level. The courts at all levels fully performed their duty of combating corruption through criminal trials, intensified efforts to punish embezzlement and bribery crimes, wound up 29,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and infringement of rights by state functionaries, and convicted 31,000 persons.

In China, socialist consultative democracy is an important form of ensuring the people's democratic rights. Socialist consultative democracy values final decision-making results as well as extensive public participation in decision-making, stresses respect for the opinion of the majority as well as ensuring that the minority can fully express their opinion and protect their own rights, thereby expanding the scope of democracy so as to realize the people's democracy to the maximum extent. In 2013 China accelerated the building of a consultative democratic system with reasonable procedures and complete links, expanded the consultation channels of state power organs, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) organizations, political parties and groups, community-level and non-governmental organizations, and conducted extensive consultations on issues relating to legislation, administration, democracy, political participation and social problems. Taking these specific consultation forms as the base, China conducted extensive consultations on major issues in social and economic development and specific problems concerning the immediate interests of the people, so as to reach and enhance agreement. As an important channel of consultative democracy, the CPPCC vigorously promotes consultative democracy, innovates consultation forms categorized by specialized topics, connecting all social circles, relying on special committees and by means of panel discussions; actively conducts consultations on particular topics, between representatives from relevant sectors of society, between parties with common concern, and with relevant departments in the handling of proposals. It promotes diversified consultation activities, invites responsible persons of related departments to listen to opinions and proposals directly, so as to transform such opinions and proposals into tangible results. The CPPCC makes specific plans for consultation topics, forms and activity organizations every year. In 2013, it carried on and innovated the biweekly "consultation symposium" mechanism, and conducted consultations on macroeconomy, architectural industrialization, protecting the interests of workers and staff members, deepening the reform of scientific and technological systems, enhancing automobile exhaust control and other topics.

Community-level democracy is being advanced in an orderly manner, and protection of electoral rights and community-level autonomy have been further strengthened. In 2013 the Procedures of the People's Republic of China on the Election of Villagers' Committees was promulgated and implemented, which further specifies the procedures and requirements of villagers' committee elections. Secret ballot and open vote-counting are fully practiced; secret ballot booths have been set up; and campaign speeches and village governance speeches are being extensively promoted. Now, 98percent of villages in China have formulated village regulations, villagers' agreements and rules for self-governance by villagers; villager's participation in decision-making and management of their own affairs has been improved by a large margin. By the end of 2013 cities and towns throughout China had held seven rounds of general elections for community residents' committees. Proprietors' management committees and other non-government and volunteer organizations are now playing a greater role in community democratic self-governance. (more)