The Communist Party's leadership has sent special inspection teams to Chongqing, Jiangxi, Guizhou and a state-owned enterprise in a high-profile campaign to curb corrupt practices.
Chongqing was at the centre of controversy last year after the downfall of its former party chief Bo Xilai . His trial on corruption charges is pending.
The dispatch of the special inspection teams coincided with commentaries in state media disavowing Western political practice and saying imperial institutions could provide inspiration in tackling rampant corruption.
In a ceremony in Chongqing on Thursday, the inspection team chief, Xu Guangchun , said the inspection was an "important duty imposed by the party" to check on instances of bribery, extravagance and the abuse of power for personal gain.
"[The inspection] is determined to check if cadres have openly expressed opposition to the theories and policy directions, and if cadres are inwardly resisting major decisions of the central authority," Xu said.
The inspection team would also focus on whether officials had adopted erroneous practices in promoting cadres, Xu added.
Similar teams were sent to Guizhou and Jiangxi and the China Grain Reserves Corporation.
Former Chongqing mayor Wang Hongju , who was moved from Chongqing a year after Bo became party boss, has been heading the inspection team in Jiangxi since Tuesday.
Ironically, Bo was once praised by a similar inspection team in 2010. He said it had paid high regard to his efforts to curb organised crime and promote ultra-conservative ideology.
President Xi Jinping has pledged to tackle corruption since becoming party chief in November. A directive issued a month later required cadres to reject extravagance and minimise bureaucratic visits, meetings and empty talk.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's anti-graft watchdog, said yesterday that 2,290 cadres had been punished for extravagance.
Party mouthpiece the People's Daily said in a commentary on Thursday that government powers could even be kept in check in a monarchy if specialised supervisory agencies were established.
Zhang Ming , a political scientist at Renmin University, said such remarks show "the leadership does not want to revamp the political system, but is resorting to old practices".
Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said: "The party is delivering a message that it can curb corruption with internal measures and within its own house, without the need for the constitution and sunshine laws."