Xi Jinping

Graft situation is grim, Xi warns party's anti-corruption commission

As president issues a rallying cry to party, warning that all ‘dirty hands’ will be caught, new details emerge of investigation into top PLA officer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 12:09am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 3:11am

President Xi Jinping has called for a redoubling of efforts to root out corruption, describing the situation as "grim" and "a disease that calls for strong medicine".

Speaking at the plenary session of the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection yesterday, Xi, who is also the party chief, cited a Chinese idiom: "It takes courage, like a man who severs his snake-bitten hand to save his life.

"We should not allow the [supervision and monitoring] system to become a paper tiger or scarecrow."

Xi's rallying call came on the same day that a news report revealed new details of a long-standing graft case involving the PLA's disgraced deputy logistics chief, Gu Junshan .

Fighting graft has been a centerpiece of Xi's first year in office, as he has repeatedly reiterated that corruption is a major threat to the party's legitimacy.

The two-day plenary meeting closed yesterday after a banner year during which graft-busters disciplined more than 180,000 officials, 13 per cent more than the year before, the commission's annual report said last week.

Dozens of senior officials, including some who have been linked to the former security tsar Zhou Yongkang , are being investigated. An announcement on Zhou's fate is expected soon.

Xi called for improvements at the institutional level and backed the independence of local anti-corruption bodies from local governments. He also talked of the importance of officials being transparent in exercising power.

He stressed zero tolerance of graft and promised to severely punish corrupt officials. "Every party official should keep in mind that all dirty hands will be caught," he said.

But a person who was invited to the CCDI meeting said the disciplinary watchdog failed to discuss a long-awaited system requiring officials to disclose their assets, which is thought to be crucial for clean government.

Meanwhile, news portal Caixin yesterday revealed new details of an investigation into Gu.

The name of the lieutenant general, who was previously in charge of the military's real estate and housing portfolio, disappeared from the defence department's website in February 2012.

Caixin reported, without naming sources, that the military's own anti-graft investigators raided Gu's homes in Puyang , Henan , that year. They seized a golden statue of Mao Zedong and spent two nights removing boxes of mao-tai liquor, a gold wash basin and a golden boat, among other expensive items, from one of Gu's homes. In all, they removed four truckloads of items.

The report also said that Gu was found to own dozens of homes in the centre of Beijing. Gu reportedly told investigators he had planned to use those homes as "gifts".

Gu's brother-in-law, Zhang Tao , was wanted by the police in March last year. Zhang subsequently turned himself in.

Gu's brother, Gu Xianjun , was arrested in August, the report said.

Other than a mention of the probe on Gu by a military researcher in state media in August, there has been no official word about the case.