Graft amid lowly Chinese officials worse than by party elite
Corruption among "flies" - lowly officials - is more harmful than that of high-ranking "tigers", a new report by a government think tank says.
"Flies" deal directly with the grass roots and their "undesirable work style" such as abuse of power can severely undermine the image of the Communist Party and government, according to the report, carried by the Beijing Times yesterday.
"Compared to tigers, flies are huge in number, and can spread bacteria over a wider range. Therefore their damage is far more extensive," the newspaper quoted the report on social crisis published jointly by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Flies and tigers became a popular metaphor when the party's general secretary, President Xi Jinping vowed in January to crack down on corruption at all levels. "We should persist in beating tigers in tandem with the flies," Xi told a meeting of the central graft watchdog.
"This shows corruption … at grass-root levels remains the focal point of China's anti-graft work," the report says. "Beating flies is relatively easier but it must be a long-lasting practice given the sheer number of flies."
The report aroused lively debate on the internet. Some criticised it as being misleading about the mainland's corruption problem. "It is tigers who are shielding the flies. It's impossible to remove all the flies without targeting tigers," said one widely followed microblogger on Sina Weibo.