New supervisory commissions are being set up across the country following successful pilot programs in three areas, as Zhang Yan reports.
The first corruption suspect detained by the Zhejiang Supervisory Commission, a civil servant, was imprisoned for 15 years and fined 2 million yuan ($318,000) by Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court in December.
China's supervisory commission pilot program had been launched in Zhejiang province, as well as in Beijing and Shanxi province, just over a year earlier.
When Jin Huanmin, a senior official at the Zhejiang Supervisory Commission, spotted the news on his smartphone, he glanced up at a pile of files on his desk.
A former deputy head of the Zhejiang People's Procuratorate's anti-corruption and bribery bureau, he had been told of his transfer to the commission as a supervision director 11 months earlier.
Alongside the files on his desk, several flowering potted plants that had also made the move from his former work unit had sprouted [MG_SEO]new leaves. At the same time, Jin's doubts about his new position had completely disappeared.
In the commission building, more than 50 supervision officers who, like Jin, also used to work for the prosecution authority, put in long hours as they perform their new duties.
In early November 2016, the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued a plan to set up supervisory commissions in the three pilot areas. At the Zhejiang People's Procuratorate in February last year, the sign for its anti-corruption and bribery bureau was removed.
"After working for 23 years as an anti-graft official in the prosecuting department, I didn't expect that the reform would be so fast," Jin said. "I was so reluctant to take off my prosecutor's uniform."
But his experience as a prosecutor made him realize it was time to integrate the country's scattered anti-corruption forces.
The duties of the various anti-corruption authorities, including those responsible for mounting prosecutions and those tasked with supervising the administration, had previously overlapped, he said, which made supervision more cumbersome.
"Only with reform will it completely change," Jin said.
After the anti-corruption and bribery bureau was disbanded, Jin was unsure of his next posting until late February last year, when Ma Guangming, deputy head of the Zhejiang Commission for Discipline Inspection, called him to his office.
"The Party has decided to transfer you and another 57 anti-graft colleagues in the prosecuting department to work in the Zhejiang Supervisory Commission," Ma told him. "You will serve as director of the No 12 supervision unit."
Jin, facing a new post and new requirements in a new environment, began working at the commission in early March last year.
A senior prosecutor for half of his life, Jin thought he could just move his working style and methods from the prosecuting department to the new post, but he quickly realized he was wrong.
There were 11 supervision officers in his new unit－six from his former department and five from the Party's anti-graft watchdog.
"When handling cases in the beginning, our working concepts, experiences and customs were all different and we didn't understand each other," Jin said.
Just a week into his new job, Jin's unit landed its first case, involving a provincial-level official suspected of graft.
"With no case to follow and no experience to draw from involving a provincial-level official, we just broke the ice and did it," Jin said.
He divided the inspectors into three teams, including one to interrogate the suspect and one to collect evidence. They investigated and analyzed more than 100 of the suspect's bank accounts and followed the flow of funds through about 20 companies to gather evidence.
Because of their close integration and their careful examination, they obtained the evidence they needed and ordered the detention of the suspect in April last year.
"Without detailed detention procedures or legal instruments for reference, we conquered difficulties to conduct the investigation and collect evidence," Jin said.
It took us only 20 days to confirm the facts of his crime and establish solid evidence, and in June the suspect was transferred to Zhejiang prosecutors to face charges. He is now awaiting trial on charges of accepting bribes.
This year, Jin's unit has received nine cases involving civil servants suspected of graft or violating Party rules. Three of the cases have been concluded, while work is continuing on the other six.
"Our ultimate goal is to prevent public servants being corrupted and build a clean government, not to punish them," Jin said.