Amid the controversy surrounding the disappearance of former Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Gang W Subsequent dismissal from officeDiscussions by the Standing Committee of China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress, on draft amendments to China’s criminal law seem to have been hidden from the public eye. The draft amendments, which are open for public comment until August 24, propose that private sector companies operating in China be included in the scope of anti-bribery and anti-corruption provisions of the Criminal Code. Previously, the provisions mentioned only applied to state-owned companies and public institutions.
On July 14, the CPC Central Committee, jointly with the State Council of China, issued, “Opinions on promoting the development and growth of the private economywhich said that there is a need to introduce judicial interpretations to toughen punishment for acts of corruption such as embezzlement, buying positions, misappropriation of funds, and bribery committed by employees of private companies. The triple objective here, presented by the Views, is to deepen compliance reforms across sector entities. Private enterprises operating in China, strengthening “from the source” governance in private enterprises, and guiding them to establish strict financial auditing and accounting systems.Through the proposed amendments, the Criminal Law Office of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National Council of Magistrates has tried to put the “opinions” into practice.
The Bureau has proposed amendments to Articles Articles 165, 166, 169, 387, 390, 391, and 393 of the Penal Code, all of which relate to penalties for bribery and corruption. Under Articles 165, 166, and 169, for example, directors, managers, or other employees of private entities must be included in the fold of penalties that previously applied to state-owned companies and public institutions for bribery and corruption offences. The idea behind this step too articulated By the Director of the Legislative Affairs Commission Shen Chunyao, aims to achieve equal treatment of state-owned enterprises and private enterprises, as well as promote the concept of “two health” – the healthy development of the non-public sector of the economy and the private sector. Proper growth of individuals working in the non-public sector. That was the concept suggested first Chinese President Xi Jinping said it in his speech at a seminar on private companies in November 2018.
The proposed amendments to Articles 390, 391 and 393 relate to tougher sentences in serious bribery cases – such as when bribes are offered multiple times and/or to multiple persons; when bribes are given on “major projects” or “major programmes” (which may mean public and private sector projects closely linked to state interests); when bribes are given in strategic areas such as law enforcement, justice, disaster relief, social security, education and health; and when bribes were given to facilitate criminal activity.
These standards are a repeat of those mentioned in “Opinions on further progress in the joint investigation into bribery and bribery”, Published in September 2021 by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), jointly with law enforcement and other disciplinary measures in the Chinese state. Interestingly, this document also proposed toughening penalties for anyone who did not restrain themselves in giving or receiving bribes after the Eighth Congress He joined the Communist Party of China in 2012—a benchmark not mentioned in the draft amendments.Xi rose to power at the 18th Party Congress and made fighting corruption a hallmark of his government.
Although on multiple occasions, including in Chen’s comments, Chinese policymakers have described the actions of giving and receiving bribes (the latter often synonymous with “corruption”) as “two”.Poisonous watermelonGrowing from the same vine, these particular mods take the crime of giving bribes very seriously when considering the punishment. This may be attributed to the fact that according to statistics declared before Chief of the Criminal Law Bureau, Wang Aili, said that the ratio of bribery cases to corruption cases in the past few years has reached 1:3, which means that the crime of giving bribes is prosecuted much less.
While answering reporters’ questions about the draft amendments, Wang also ironically said that the reason behind the increasing prominence of corruption is that many bribe-takers “haunt” Party cadres and tempt them to take bribes. Hence, the amendments attempt to go after this root cause to address both sides of the coin.
In addition, in his responses to reporters’ questions, Wang also made an interesting statement to explain why private companies should be put into the fold of penalties related to bribery that previously only applied to state-owned enterprises. “Some internal employees or employees within companies mistakenly believe that it is a crime to seize state property in a state-owned company, but it is not a big deal to seize the money of a business boss in a private company,” he said. In saying so, he seems to have echoed the sentiment that the law is as much about protecting private enterprises from loss, theft, and internal corruption as it is about punishing them (and their employees) for wrongdoing. This was also repeated by Shen in his comments, in which he clarified the contents of the draft amendments.
If passed, the amended criminal law would provide a twofold impetus to Xi’s ambitious anti-corruption campaign. Increased regulatory intervention In the private sector. It could also be supplemented by a system of “blacklisting” of businessmen convicted of bribery and/or corruption, a system which Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI announced). In 2021. it was It was carried out in Hunan Province106 “untrustworthy” employees from six companies were blacklisted for offering bribes, and their access to markets was restricted. These numbers may see a significant rise across provinces with the force of the amended law.
In the past, Xi Jinping and some CCDI officials have done so argue That it is necessary to maintain a “clean relationship” between governments and corporations, to listen to the concerns of private corporations regarding the protection of their rights and property, and for the party committees associated with said corporations to properly explain the main policies to them. The draft amendments to the Criminal Code envisage a relationship between the state and private enterprises on the basis of these basics, with the aim of creating equal opportunities for state-owned companies and private enterprises in terms of protection granted and penalties imposed.