Xi promises harsher anti-corruption drive

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in Beijing on Jan. 14. [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday stressed that the anti-graft fight is vital for the Party's integrity in the long term, urging independent and authoritative supervision from disciplinary agencies.

"Preventing the Party from being corrupted in its long-term rule of the country is a major political mission. And we must do it right," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, when addressing the third plenary session of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) that opened Monday.

He stressed zero tolerance of graft and promised to seriously punish every corrupt official being caught.

Xi urged efforts to ensure "relatively independent and authoritative supervisory power" of disciplinary agencies at all levels.

Authorities should reform the Party's disciplinary inspection system, improve the anti-graft mechanism and enhance the checks and supervision of power, he said.

"Do not let regulations become 'paper tigers' or 'scarecrows,'" he went on, adding that endeavors would be intensified to hold officials accountable for wrongdoing.

"Every CPC official should keep in mind that all dirty hands will be caught," he said. "Senior officials should hold Party disciplines in awe and stop taking chances."

In 2013, the Party leadership struck hard on corruption and made major progress, Xi said.

"The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee set the example for lower officials," according to Xi.

The country brought down both "tigers" and "flies," metaphors for senior and low-ranking corrupt officials, and mounted high pressure on corrupt officials, he told his audience.

The CPC tightened supervision and inspection on the use of power and expanded channels for the public to supervise and report corrupt officials, which earned positive feedback from the people, Xi added.

According to the CCDI, discipline inspection agencies punished about 182,000 officials nationwide in 2013, 13.3 percent more than in 2012. Thirty-one high-profile officials were investigated by the CCDI itself and eight of them were handed over to prosecutors.

Power restriction

While praising the achievements, Xi stressed that hotbeds of corruption still exist, and the anti-corruption situation is still austere and complicated.

Describing the problem as "a disease that calls for powerful drugs," Xi urged all Party members to continue the fight against corruption until the end with the resolution and courage depicted in an ancient Chinese idiom where a man has to cut off his own snake-bitten wrist to save his life.

Power should be subject to stricter checks, for which purpose the way how powers are distributed among different levels and departments of governments and how are they exercised must be improved, he said.

The president also stressed intensified supervision on leading officials' exercise of power as well as internal supervision within the leading bodies.

To ensure correct exercising of power, its operational process must be made public, with citizens invited to supervise, he said.

The prevention of corruption must be taken into consideration in the country's various reform measures so as to stop all potential loopholes and ensure reform proceeds smoothly, according to the president.

Xi urged Party officials to follow a selfless work style, divide public and personal matters clearly, give priority to public matters, discreetly wield their power and lead open and honest lives.

"Problems in work style are always related to public money and official power. Not one cent of public money should be squandered and not a slight bit of official power should be abused for personal ends," Xi said.

Stressing unconditional obedience to Party disciplines, he urged disciplinary departments at all levels to safeguard these disciplines and investigate every case of violation.

According to Xi, long-term efforts are needed to solve problems that hinder the flesh-and-blood relations between the Party and the people, and a good start must be followed by surefooted steps.

He cited a five-year (2013-2017) plan on building a system to punish and prevent corruption as a guideline that needs meticulous implementation by Party committees at various levels in all their work aspects including reform, development and stability.

Released last month by the CPC Central Committee, the plan vowed a "high-handed posture" in the anti-graft drive and urged particular efforts to deal with cases involving power-for-money deals, judicial corruption, major violations of political discipline, corruption-induced mass incidents, commercial bribery, and official selection.

Party organizations

"The strength of the Party comes from its organization," Xi said, adding that all members should enhance their sense of Party spirit.

"Party members should remember that their foremost identity is a CPC member and their top obligation is to work for the Party and maintain their loyalty to the Party," he said.

"CPC members should always bear it in mind that they are part of the organization, and they should keep confidence in the organization, be obedient to the organization and take the initiative in safeguarding the Party's unity," Xi said.

The Party's disciplines should be followed without any exception, and Party organizations at all levels should be resolute to enforce them and rectify violations, so that the disciplines will be regarded as a "high voltage line that is always switched on," according to Xi.

Also, Xi stressed the importance of democratic centralism and organizational rules of the Party.

Efforts should be made to keep members well organized and direct each other and cadres to take matters about Party organization seriously, Xi said.

Members and cadres should be honest and speak the truth, Xi said, adding that they are obliged to accept Party organizations' education and supervision.

Xi noted that decisions and arrangements by the CPC Central Committee should be well implemented.

Party departments as well as Party organizations within the country's legislative authorities, government departments, political advisory bodies, courts, procuratorates, and government-sponsored institutions and organizations should all make efforts to carry out the decisions, Xi said.

The meeting was presided over by CCDI Secretary Wang Qishan. He also gave a report on behalf of the CCDI Standing Committee at the meeting.

Wang urged Party organizations and disciplinary authorities at all levels to take responsibility to cultivate a clean governance atmosphere within the Party and supervise practices in this regard.

Wang also called for strengthened anti-corruption efforts to resolutely rein in the spread of corruption.

Premier Li Keqiang and other top Chinese leaders Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting.

The power-for-money trade is always a major hotbed of corruption and lack of supervision may give rise to corruption and power misuse, said Ma Huaide, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law.

Ma said effective supervision and restraint of the use of power will be emphasized in the anti-corruption drive.

Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, noted the importance of Party organization as highlighted in Xi's speech.

"The CPC is a well-organized political party and it is the organization that unites every individual member to form a potent whole," Xin said.

"Meanwhile, the Party is anything but a 'personal club,' and it may only be a vigorous one with strong disciplines," he said.

The professor said strict enforcement of disciplines is a must in deepening reforms, and selective implementation of Party decisions to seek interests for individuals or small groups should be prohibited.

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