“We have committed to ‘examining ourselves in the mirror,

tidying our attire, taking a bath, and treating our ailments,”

Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China.

On October 18, 2017, at the renowned Great Hall of the People, Mr. Xi Jinping opened the 19th National Party Congress by delivering a memorable political work report which highlighted, among other notable achievements of the Party, the implementation of an awareness campaign nationwide identifying a series of requirements for Chinese Officials. The requirements were aimed at creating a positive political ecology by strengthening discipline and political integrity. Mr. Jinping stated that the Party had successfully been able to ensure compliance in and complete governance over the party members by enhancing a sense of political responsibility at each level. This success was inspired by the observance of the philosophy of the ‘Three Stricts and Three Earnests’ which includes being “strict with oneself in practicing self-cultivation, using power, and exercising self-discipline; and to be earnest in one’s thinking, work, and behavior.” It was through an institutionalization of the requirement to have a firm grasp over the understanding of the Party’s constitution, regulations, policy addresses and standards that the conviction of all members of the Party to improve their calibre and perform their duties to the fullest was raised. 

An eight-point agenda was announced at a meeting of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party in December 2012 on improving the conduct of the government by instructing leaders to be in close contact with the grass root levels of the society; improve the efficiency of major meetings and events; reduce the rate of issuance of official documents; ensure that official visits to foreign countries are conducted only when necessary; implementing fewer traffic controls when travelling to avoid public inconvenience; impose a ban on worthless media reports on Chinese officials; avoid publishing unsubstantial works or congratulatory letters themselves; and to strictly practice thrift. Mr. Jinping, in his address at the 19th Party Congress, confirmed that the Party had been able to observe the eight-point regulations and used an iron fist against “formalities for formalities’ sake, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance”. It is pertinent to highlight here that it was in accordance with the Party’s philosophy of opposing extravagance and privilege seeking that Mr. Meng Hongwei, the former Chinese Interpol Chief, was expelled from the Party for allegedly abusing his position to attain personal gains. Mr. Hongwei is now set to be prosecuted in his home country on account of maintaining a lavish lifestyle through illegal means of income and disrespecting the principles of the Communist Party. Hence, the scheme under which the public officials of China operate is currently characterised by ideals of right-mindedness, discipline, self-purification, and pragmatism; a violation of which is met by great sanctions.   

Despite the existence of distinct political systems in China and Pakistan, the Chinese attempt to engender a political consciousness and tighten discipline among party members has blazed a trail for the political parties in this country to embark upon. The Preamble of and the Objectives listed in the Constitution of the ruling party of Pakistan, that is, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to a certain extent, seem to be in line with the manifesto of the Chinese Communist Party. The Constitution recognises that the country has traditionally been led by an elite class which comprises of “inept, corrupt and selfish politicians” among others, and stipulates that the Party’s objective is to save the country from the “brink of disaster” by mobilizing the citizens on a path of social justice and prosperity. The Constitution further provides that among the objectives of the Party is the formulation and execution of policies which seek to eradicate all forms of corruption and tyranny through the creation of permanent institutions of accountability. Moreover, the document specifically states that PTI aims to put an end to the personal enrichment of public officials through an exploitation and abuse of authority. Although Prime Minister Imran Khan does seem to be determined to implement the provisions of the Party’s constitution by rooting out corrupt practices from the very core of the country, and Mr. Aleem Khan’s resignation from the ministry following his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is testament to the same, much work still needs to be done to ensure that the political leadership of Pakistan foregoes personal incentives in favor of the bigger picture. Whether members of the ruling party of Pakistan will ‘tidy their attire’ and ‘treat their ailments’ completely is yet to be observed.