China’s Xi Jinping steps up anti-corruption drive

Nationwide crackdown on ‘schemers and plotters’ to include non-party members

Chinese president Xi Jinping: anti-corruption campaign will cover all China. Photograph:  Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese president Xi Jinping: anti-corruption campaign will cover all China. Photograph: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

 

Fresh from a power-enhancing Communist Party congress last week, China’s president Xi Jinping aims to step up the anti-corruption campaign to a nationwide hunt for “schemers and plotters” among the cadres.

The news came in a report from the party’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which was released by the Xinhua news agency this week.

“All provinces, regions and cities must closely connect regional practices, integrate reform pilot scheme experience, implement the overall plan according to the decision of the party’s central committee, and promote organisational integration,” the report said.

Last week, Mr Xi made a 3½-hour policy address and had his “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” enshrined in the constitution, a major expansion of the president’s power.

The announcement that the corruption campaign would be spread nationwide came from Zhao Leji, who took over as head of the CDDI from Mr Xi’s close ally Wang Qishan during the congress.

The widening of the anti-corruption campaign will now include non-party members and will also cover the whole country.

Sweeping victory

Mr Zhao called for a “sweeping victory” over graft to make corruption impossible in China.

The CDDI report described former Chongqing party boss Sun Zhengcai, who was held on corruption charges in the run-up to the congress, and a group of other top officials ousted for graft, including former security chief Zhou Yongkang, were “schemers” and “plotters” who were only concerned with boosting their own status. Both men are seen as political rivals of Mr Xi, although the official version is that corruption was the reason for their downfall.

Since he came to power in 2012, Mr Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has netted 1.4 million “tigers and flies” within the party ranks.

Following the congress, Mr Xi issued a statement urging people to “study and implement the findings of the party congress . . . and adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era”, saying it was the primary role of the party.

Reshuffling posts

Meanwhile, the Communist Party set about reshuffling key posts after several top cadres were elevated to the leadership.

Li Qiang, who was formerly Shaanxi party boss, has been named head of the organisation in Shanghai, while Li Xi, who was previously head of the party in Liaoning province, has been appointed head of the prosperous southern province of Guangdong.

That role was formerly held by Hu Chunhua, who visited Ireland this year with a major trade mission. Mr Hu is tipped for more a more senior role, even though he was not named to the standing committee of the politburo. The question remains open because Mr Xi has not named an official successor, prompting speculation he may plan to stay on as supreme leader beyond the usual 10-year term, which ends in 2022. (Additional reporting: Reuters)