Xi's anti-corruption resolution arouses expectations

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping's latest resolution on fighting corruption has triggered heated discussion among experts and the public.

Xi, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Tuesday told members of the CPC's disciplinary arm that the CPC will unswervingly fight corruption and work to restrain official power.

Cage of regulations

The most quoted phrase from Xi's speech was "Power should be restricted by a cage of regulations," which some believe connects with the theories of classic Western political philosophers.

Xi explained that such a cage refers to sound disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanisms to ensure that people do not dare to, are not able to and cannot easily commit corruption.

The speech has received a warm welcome, as well as comments indicating increased expectations, from public intellectuals and netizens.

Incorporating the "cage" concept into the CPC's ruling guidelines marks historical progress and deserves public support, said a microblog entry posted by "nanduo" on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang wrote on Sina Weibo that identifying weaknesses in the current system will help direct future reforms.

Restricting power should be implemented by limiting the government's interference in the market, the enforcement of law, the distribution of resources and the freedom of speech, Ren wrote.

Xi also reminded officials in his speech that no one can enjoy absolute power outside of the law and that anyone who exercises power must "consciously accept supervision by the people."

The key to a workable mechanism is transparency in the government's operation, said a report on news portal yicai.com that cited legal expert Li Shaozhang from the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

Transparency should be boosted regarding the disclosure of officials' and their relatives' assets, as well as public finance and personnel management, Li said, adding that concrete measures and action in these fields are necessary.

Consistency & persistency

Xi reiterated that the fight against corruption will be a long-term, complicated and arduous task and that anti-corruption efforts must be consistent.

Huang Weiding, a researcher from "Qiushi," the official magazine of the CPC Central Committee, agreed that corruption cannot be eradicated in a short time.

The consistency and persistency of anti-corruption efforts not only represent the CPC's resolution to rule itself strictly, but can also consolidate public confidence in combating corruption, said Huang.

In 2012, a total of 4,698 officials at the county level or higher were punished by the CPC's disciplinary body, while 961 officials were transferred to judicial organs, according to the figures from the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Among them were Liu Zhijun, former minister of railways, Huang Sheng, former vice governor of east China's Shandong province and Tian Xueren, former vice governor of northeast China's Jilin province. Their cases have been transferred to judicial organs.

Nearly 73,000 people were punished for corruption or dereliction of duty in 2012.

Improving work

Experts also highlighted Xi's call for a better working style among CPC members.

"Undesirable practices, if unaddressed, will evolve to become an invisible wall that separates the CPC from the people," Xi said, urging all CPC organs and members to make more efforts to be frugal, oppose ostentation and reject hedonism and extravagance.

Professor Wang Yukai at the Chinese Academy of Governance said studies of previous corruption cases have shown that the majority of corruption stemmed from a poor working style.

"Xi's speech revealed a close connection between the improvement of working styles and the fight against corruption," Wang said.

A Dec. 4, 2012 meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee resulted in the issuance of eight bureaucracy- and formalism-fighting guidelines to curb extravagance and improve officials' working styles.

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