The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) General Secretary Xi Jinping has begun his term as head of the party by delivering a strong warning to the new Politburo, cautioning that unchecked corruption could bring about social instability and even cause the collapse of the State.
A day after Mr. Xi, on Saturday, addressed the military for the first time and pledged to take forward anti-corruption measures, the CPC General Secretary chaired a study session of the newly-selected 25-member Politburo.
State-run newspapers reported that Mr. Xi told the meeting corruption was like “worms breeding in decaying matter”, referring to a Chinese proverb that meant those who were weak risked their downfall.
“In recent years, some countries have stored up problems over time leading to seething public anger, civil unrest and government collapse,” Mr. Xi was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Corruption has been an important factor in all this”. “A great deal of facts tells us that the worse corruption becomes,” he added. "The only outcome will be the end of the party and the end of the state! We must be vigilant!”
Mr. Xi acknowledged that the CPC had faced “serious discipline and legal cases of a despicable nature” which had “bad political effect and shocked people”.
Separately on Monday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party’s top internal disciplinary body, said the cases of purged Politburo member Bo Xilai, who was expelled from the party in September, and former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun, who was sacked for corruption, “showed the Party’s firm determination to fight corruption”.
The CPC’s recently concluded 18th Party Congress selected a new CCDI, to be headed by newly appointed Politburo Standing Committee member, Wang Qishan. The sixth-ranked PBSC member is a former banker with vast experience in the financial sector.
The outgoing CCDI, in a report submitted to the Congress last week that was released on Monday, said 668,429 people had been given “Party or administrative punishment” in the past five years. Of the 643,759 cases investigated by the internal body, it had settled 639,068 of them, while 24,584 people were handed over to judicial authorities. Both Mr. Bo and Mr. Liu have had their cases transferred to judicial authorities.
Following the two cases, the Party has faced calls to make its anti-corruption efforts more transparent – for instance, by giving courts more independence in taking forward cases and by passing a long-debated law that would force officials to make their assets public. The CCDI, which holds authority to initiate cases against Party members, is widely seen by many Chinese scholars as often being driven by political considerations in launching investigations into erring officials.