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Updated: January 9, 2012 22:45 IST

Gen-next must focus on graft: Hu

Ananth Krishnan
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AS OFFICIALS LINE THEIR POCKETS: Residents attend a rally in Wukan in Guangdong province against official corruption recently. Photo: AFP
AS OFFICIALS LINE THEIR POCKETS: Residents attend a rally in Wukan in Guangdong province against official corruption recently. Photo: AFP

Chinese President Hu Jintao called on the next generation of the China's leaders, slated to take over later this year, to present a “new face” of the ruling Communist Party and to curb rampant corruption amid rising public anger against graft.

The Communist Party of China's (CPC) newly chosen members, who will take up positions at local, provincial and central levels over the course of the year in a once-in-a-decade transition, should develop “a correct attitude towards their work and stick to the principles of putting people first,” Mr. Hu, also the CPC's general secretary, told a meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), an anti-corruption body, on Monday.

“We should be fully aware that the battle against corruption is time-consuming, complicated and difficult,” he was quoted as saying by the State-run Xinhua news agency. “We should have firm confidence and step up efforts.”

Mr. Hu's remarks come against the backdrop of rising anger against corruption following a string of scandals. Most prominently, the former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun was sacked over serious disciplinary violations, charged with taking hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes. Corruption and widening social inequalities would be among the party's priorities ahead of a leadership transition that will see a new generation of leaders take over in 2013, Chinese scholars were quoted as saying by the party-run Global Times on Monday.

“Compared with the past, the problems of today are more complicated, and a new way has to be found to make our policies more open and comprehensive,” said Xiao Gongqin, a scholar at the Shanghai Normal University.

“Without improving people's livelihood, the discontent and growing resentment over wealth inequality will only exacerbate social problems and could result in confrontation with the government,” he warned.

Zhu Lijia, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said China's next leaders needed to create “a more transparent way of making decisions and choosing government officials”.

In recent months, new officials have been appointed to CPC committees at local and provincial levels. Most importantly, the CPC will choose a new central committee at the eighteenth party congress to be held in the second half of this year.

The party will also appoint seven officials to the powerful nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, which will be headed by current Vice-President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who are expected to succeed Mr. Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively.

“I think reforms over the next five years have to be focused on greater transparency,” Mr. Zhu of the Central Academy of Governance said. “If we don't examine power under the broad light of day, then reforms will benefit special interests, not the interests of the general public,” he said.

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