China’s new leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday launched a year-long “clean-up” campaign to improve the “work styles” of Communist Party officials, warning that the failure to do so could alienate the ruling party from the people.
Mr. Xi, who took over as the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) General Secretary in November last year, and China’s President in March, has in the past few months repeatedly railed against what he has described as the “four forms of decadence” among party officials: formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.
The year-long “clean-up” campaign, which was launched here on Tuesday, would seek to “build work styles” among officials working at county-level or higher and improve relations between the CPC and the people, amid rising anger in China against official corruption.
“Winning or losing public support is an issue that concerns the CPC’s survival or extinction,” Mr. Xi warned.
Outlining the themes of the coming “education campaign”, Mr. Xi said it would look to “consolidate the CPC’s foundation and position as China’s governing party; boost its creativity, cohesion and combat capabilities; keep its advanced nature and purity; and win public trust and support”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
At the launch of the campaign on Tuesday, Mr. Xi addressed the members of the Politburo and officials around the country through a teleconference.
He warned his audience of top CPC officials of the “mounting hazards” they faced, ranging from “laxity, mediocrity, distancing themselves from the people and corruption”.
“These four forms of decadence are the most hated and complained problems by the people, severely damaging Party-people ties,” he said, adding that the campaign would look to correct these problems.
The campaign would rely on “self-purification, self-perfection, self-renewal and self-progression”, the Chinese President said, urging Party members to “watch themselves from the mirror” by strictly following the CPC Constitution.
After taking office in November, Mr. Xi has frequently pledged to crack down on corruption in the party, vowing to tackle both “tigers and flies”, suggesting that high-ranked officials were also on the radar.
But many anti-corruption and rights activists in China say the rhetoric has not been followed by commensurate action: anti-corruption advocates and whistleblowers have recently come under renewed pressure from authorities for exposing officials and demanding long-debated measures to force CPC officials to declare their assets.
In the absence of an independent judiciary, many activists are of the view that the deep-rooted problem of corruption cannot be addressed without such a law.
Mr. Xi, however, stopped short of backing any such move in his comments on Tuesday, only saying that “a long term mechanism should be established to encourage Party members and officials to serve the people, be down-to-earth, upright and corruption-free”.