China's Xi not letting up on corruption

BY PETE SANKEY
Senior associate editor
sankeyp@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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BEIJING, China — President Xi Jinping, who in his first five-year term as head of the Communist Party of China (CPC) managed to put a dent in corruption, is not letting up.

“We have taken firm action to take out tigers, swat flies and hunt down foxes. The goal of creating a deterrent against corruption has been strengthened, and moral defences against corruption are in the making. The anti-corruption campaign has [been] built into a crushing tide, is being consolidated and continues to develop,” the Chinese leader told the opening of the 19th National Congress at the Great Hall of the People here Wednesday.

No place, he said, has been out of bounds, no ground left unturned, and no tolerance shown in the fight against corruption.

“We have given top priority to ensuring compliance with party discipline, and tackled the prominent problems that prompt the strongest public reaction and that threaten to erode the very foundation of the party's governance,” said Xi. We… have taken tough action against the practice of formalities for formalities' sake, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance, and have staunchly opposed privilege seeking,” he added.

According to Xi, disciplinary inspections have cut like a blade through corruption and misconduct; have covered every party committee in all departments at the central and provincial levels.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China reported last week that US$9.36 billion in illegal assets from ill-gotten gains were seized over the last five years.

A report outlining the data was presented last Monday at a plenary session of the committee, which will be discussed at the CPC's 19th National Congress which opened here Wednesday.

The China Daily newspaper, in a report carried in its October 10 edition, said one senior official has been expelled from the party following recommendations from the anti-corruption watchdog. The official, He Ting, former director of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, and a former deputy mayor, was ordered into early retirement for his alleged engagements in “superstitious activities to get political promotion, resisted a disciplinary inspection and disobeyed austerity rules introduced by the central leadership of the CPC to reduce undesirable work practices”.

The CCDI, said: “He wasted public property, went to private clubs, frequently had banquets provided by private entrepreneurs, and improperly used public vehicles and offices.” He was also accused of improperly promoting officials and of not telling the truth when questioned by the commission. The newspaper report said the CCDI also approved the suspension of two other senior members of the CPC for anti-graft violations.

One of the officers was placed on a one-year probation within the party and recommended to be removed from membership of the anti-corruption body, while the other was given a two-year probation, “for serious violation of party discipline”.

According to the newspaper report, since members of the CCDI were elected in late 2012, the commission has undertaken a massive campaign against corruption and extravagance.

The commission investigated 280 senior members at or above ministerial level; 66,000 at country chief level; and 8,600 at bureau or department level (one rank below ministerial level); handed over 14,000 to judicial authorities for suspected corruption in 2015; 12,000 in 2014; and 9,600 in 2013. Figures for 2016 were not available; and more than 3,000 fugitives wanted for graft returned to China as of August 1 this year.

In the meantime, Premier Li Keqiang presided over Monday's meeting of the Leading Party Members' Group of the State Council, where departments across the Cabinet were asked to firmly uphold the authority of the party leadership, follow its lead and stay in accordance with the CPC Central Committee.

They were also told to display composure in terms of politics, discipline, morality, and the resistance to corruption. And departments and units of the State Council should appreciate the achievements made by the CPC over the past five years, and be fully aware of the historic tasks in hand.

The meeting of the Leading Party Members' Group of the 12th NPC Standing Committee was presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. The meeting underlined the party's leading position in all aspects and its role of overseeing all work and coordinating all parties, as well as the integration of the party leadership, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law.

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