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437 77 Some Comments on the Central Committee’s “Decision on Strengthening Ties with the People”1 (Draft for Feedback) (February 26, 1990) I’d like to discuss three problems that have bearing on the Central Committee ’s draft report on strengthening ties with the people: the Party’s poor relations with the populace; lack of distinction between Party, government, and enterprises; and inequity in allocation. Poor Relations with the People Why are the Party’s relations with the people so poor right now? At the moment, Party and power are intertwined. We are the party in power, but our socialist democracy and legal institutions have yet to make Party members and ordinary people all equal before the law—it’s always the case that “punishments do not extend up to senior officials.” That’s why they say that the Party ’s standards for its members are sinking lower and lower. It used to be that Party members were supposed to “be the first to taste hardship.” Although they now stress “going through thick and thin together,” often they can’t even do that much. It won’t do for us not to give this issue a prominent place in our discussions. Our Party members, and especially Party members in leadership positions, do have some special powers and privileges. We need to raise this problem to a higher level; we need to have a method [of dealing with it]. As the highest organ of power and of legislation, the People’s Congress should play a role in oversight , and the Party and the people should be equal before the law. 1. On February 26, 1990, Qiao Shi (then a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and secretary of the Central Discipline Commission) convened a meeting in Shanghai of leading members of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, and the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee. Its purpose was to solicit opinions on the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Strengthening Ties with the People” (Draft for Feedback). These are the main points of Zhu Rongji’s remarks at the meeting. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 437 12/26/17 12:01 PM 438 The Central Committee’s “Decision on Strengthening Ties with the People” Lack of Distinction between Party, Government, and Enterprises Some of our institutions make no distinction between Party and government, between government and enterprises, or between Party and enterprises—this gives rise to corruption. During my recent extended stay in villages,2 I discovered that the housing problem discussed in this draft document is only one aspect [of the overall issue], that housing allocations is another. The housing allocated to Party members and cadres isn’t just one or two times greater than for ordinary farmers; it is several times or even several dozen times greater. What led to such a situation? It’s because from the township level on down, there is no distinction between Party and government, or between Party and enterprises. When housing is discussed in this document, it suggests the concept of “township and above.” In terms of the actual situation in Shanghai, this regulation fails to get to the heart of the problem, because in Shanghai we are [already] quite tightly focused on cadres at the township level and above. We’ve already dealt with several township heads as well as with one member of the Municipal Party Committee. Cadres from the township level up to the county level don’t dare to misbehave because we have our eye on them. The serious problems now are at the level of “township and below”: although we can still exercise a little supervision of township heads and township finances at this level, the villager committees [at this level] are mass-based self-governance organizations and not primary-level government authorities. Moreover, the chairperson of each committee is also the head of [the village’s] cooperative economic entity, as well as the secretary of the village’s Party branch in charge of all the village’s enterprises. That is to say, Party, government, enterprises, people, money, and materials—these are all in the pocket of this one person. Things are done the way he wants them done; permits are given to those he says should receive them; promotions are given to those he wants to promote, and money is spent however he wishes to spend it. Without a system of supervision, it would be hard for someone...


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