China's Xi stresses importance of democratic centralism to top leadership
By Zhang Ruijun

2016-12-28 11:31 GMT+8

5km to Beijing

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has stressed the importance of adhering to the concept of democratic centralism. 
The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee must continue to stick firmly to democratic centralism, Xi told a meeting of the Political Bureau held on Monday and Tuesday, during which members discussed measures to improve intra-Party political life and supervision. 
Democratic centralism is a "fundamental organizational principle" of the CPC. According to the Chinese constitution, "The National People's Congress (NPC) and the local people's congresses at different levels are instituted through democratic election," with the NPC "responsible to the people and subject to their supervision." 
In an interview with Xinhua in November, Wang Chuanzhi, of the Qiushi Journal Press – a magazine of the Central Committee of the CPC devoted to policy-making and theoretical studies, said that the essence of democratic centralism is democracy with leadership. 
Wang further explained that "only by finding and then maintaining a natural balance between centralization on the basis of democracy and democracy under centralized guidance will we be able to guarantee the smooth operation and effectiveness of democratic centralism." 
Xi praised the Political Bureau in sticking to democratic centralism in the past, saying it has expanded democracy in many ways, and has advanced a scientific, democratic and legal decision-making process. 
He urged the Political Bureau to integrate centralization on a democratic basis. 
"Everyone present here is a member of this leadership and should put yourselves in a correct position," Xi told the Political Bureau members. "No matter what position and how powerful a post one is serving, everyone should implement collectively-made decisions." 
"No matter what kind of decision one is making and what one is doing, it must be done in accordance with the need of the overall situation," Xi added. 
Stating that strict discipline is an important guarantee for a centralized and unified Party, Xi urged every Party member to respect the Party's political discipline and rules and strictly abide by them, stressing that the Political Bureau members should be the first to do so. 
Political Bureau members should "stay especially sober and be especially firm in stances" on theory, policy and major matters of principle, he said. 
Xi Jinping (C), general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, presides over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing./ Xinhua Photo 
Stressing the importance of loyalty to the CPC, Xi said such loyalty should be pure and unconditional, and must be shown by being loyal to the Party's belief, organizations, theories, and policies.
The people's interests should be both the fundamental aim and outcome of all the Party's work, Xi said. "Zhongnanhai must always be directly linked to the people, and we must always think about the people."
"The Party must be free from corruption to win the people's hearts and ensure the authority of the CPC Central Committee," Xi said.
He warned Political Bureau members to avoid acting superior regarding their power or status, and tighten management of their family members and staff.
Xi also said Political Bureau members must establish "four consciousnesses," which refers to consciousness of the ideology, the whole, the core and the line, stressing that they are not empty slogans and should be put into action. 
Attendees agreed that members of the Political Bureau should consciously maintain a high degree of consistency with the CPC Central Committee, with Xi as the core, in thoughts, politics and actions, according to a statement released after the meeting. 
Party organizations at various levels and all Party members, especially senior officials, should firmly uphold the authority of the CPC Central Committee, as well as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the core of the whole Party, through concrete actions and their daily endeavors to boost reform, development and stability, attendees said. 
While acknowledging the progress in cleaning up undesirable work styles, attendees stressed that some problems still need to be addressed. For example formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance have taken on some new forms, while some Party cadres are unwilling to take responsibilities, incompetent, or inefficient in executing orders.
There is no restricted zone or exception in intra-Party supervision, the attendees said, adding that efforts to improve supervision should start with the CPC Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee. 
The Central Committee and the Political Bureau should lead and push forward intra-Party supervision, while serving as a "signal tower" and "benchmark" in this regard, they agreed. 
In addition to supervision within the Party and self-supervision, members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau should also subject themselves to supervision from outside the Party, as well as by the people and the press, the statement said. 
(With inputs from Xinhua)