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Eight-point regulation

CPC Encyclopedia

An eight-point regulation (in simplified Chinese 八项规定) was a document adopted in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the country's top-ruling body, on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012. The document made explicit requirements on how Political Bureau members shouldimprove their work style in eight aspects, focusing on rejecting extravagance and reducing bureaucratic visits, meetings and empty talk.

The requirements, the first detailed guidance for a new working style adopted after the election of the Political Bureau members in Nov 2012, were issued to strengthen ties between the people and officials, whose malpractice including corruption and power abuse have distanced them from ordinary citizens.

The political bureau, which has 25 members, includes the top decision-makers, such as State leaders, Party chiefs of several key provincial-level regions, ministers and top army officials.

Backgrounds

The meeting, presided over byXi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, was held less than three weeks after the 18th CPC national congress, which convened on Nov 8-14, 2012.

The CPC vowed at the keynote congress to "always work hard and practice economy." It also promised to reject the practices of extravagance, formalism and bureaucracy.

China's new leaderXi Jinpinghas consistently stressed the importance of more work and less talk, commentators and experts said.

Zhu Lijia, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the measures reflect Xi's consistent principles on the Party's working style.

In 2010, Xi told the CPC Central Committee Party School in a speech that there was a great deal of room for improvement in many speeches by officials, as they contained too much jargon and empty words.

He reiterated his stance in his first speech as the general-secretary of the CPC Central Committee on Nov 15, when he also addressed ending bureaucracy and pomp.

On a visit to the National Museum of China on Thursday, Xi again told officials that empty talk harms the nation, while hard work strengthens the country.

Key points

1. Leaders must keep in close contact with the grassroots. They must understand the real situation facing society through in-depth inspections at grassroots. Greater attention should be focused on places where social problems are more acute, and inspection tours must be carried out more thoroughly. Inspection tours as a mere formality should be strictly prohibited. Leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at the grassroots, and people's practical problems must be tackled. There should be no welcome banner, no red carpet, no floral arrangement or grand receptions for officials' visits.

2. Meetings and major events should be strictly regulated, and efficiency improved. Political Bureau members are not allowed to attend ribbon-cutting or cornerstone-laying ceremonies, or celebrations and seminars, unless they get approval from the CPC Central Committee. Official meetings should get shortened and be specific and to the point, with no empty and rigmarole talks.

3. The issuing of official documents should be reduced.

4. Officials' visits abroad should only be arranged when needed in terms of foreign affairs with fewer accompanying members, and on most of the occasions, there is no need for a reception by overseas Chinese people, institutions and students at the airport.

5. There should be fewer traffic controls when leaders travel by cars to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public.There should be fewer traffic controls arranged for the leaders' security of their trips to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public

6. The media must not report on stories about official events unless there is real news value. The regulations also ban worthless news reports on senior officials' work and activities and said such reports should depend on work needs, news value and social effects.

7. Leaders should not publish any works by themselves or issue any congratulatory letters unless an arrangement with the central leadership has been made. Official documents without substantial contents and realistic importance should be withheld. Publications regarding senior officials' work and activities are also restricted.

8. Leaders must practise thrift and strictly follow relevant regulations on accommodation and cars.

Expert views

Analysts said although the measures target senior Party members, it also sends a strong message to society.

Zhu Lijia, professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the measures address issues that the public resent the most, such as tedious meetings and frequent traffic disruption by cars transporting officials.

"The measures have set a good example. Its wording and phrasing are clear, to the point and easy to understand," he said.

Zhu said although Party officials who violate the measures will be investigated, the requirements may get better results if the State Council, China's cabinet, can adopt similar measures and make them legally valid.

Liu Shanying, a researcher on political science at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new measures are welcome but it will still take the supervision of media and society to help implementation.

Liu said it will not be difficult for the top leadership to carry out the new requirements. But he expressed concern about officials at the grassroots as they may have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle.

Media comments

Given the profound changes that the Party, the country and the world are facing today, we should realize the utmost importance of improving work style, thePeople's Daily, the CPC's flagship newspaper said in a commentary on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012.

"Improvements in the Party's work style will win people's hearts," it added.

"Fewer meetings and traffic controls for the officials mean there will be smoother traffic in cities, and less media coverage on officials will leave room for more news dedicated to public welfare," according to a commentary in theBeijing Newson Wednesday.

The implementation of any aspect of the regulations will be translated into benefits for the masses, the newspaper added.

Public reaction

Comments went viral soon after the release of a statement that reveals the requirements.

On China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo service, netizens were upbeat about the prospect of imminent changes to China's culture of officialdom, which often features speeches of tedious jargon, expensive banquets and routine pomp.

Web user "liferecorder_lz" said these requirements are "pragmatic" and will overhaul the practices of China's officials if implemented well.

While gauging the potential effect that the regulations will have in improving relations between officials and the public as well as addressing social problems such as corruption, many Internet users took a wait-and-see attitude.

A netizen identifying himself as Zhou Wenbin said he was very excited after he read about the news, but soon regained calm because he needed to see how the leadership would carry out their new orders.

"Several of the requirements are considerably pragmatic. It can make a difference to some officials' work style if they are implemented. I hope the officials can match actions to their words," wrote an Internet user named "Leizishierniu."

Another, named "Li Zhiyong," said it was necessary to enforce public supervision and hold violators of the regulations legally responsible, in a bid to ensure they are followed.

"The key is to implement the regulations in a top-down manner," wrote web user "pingshuixiangfengji."