President Hu Jintao pledged that the Communist Party would fight against corruption with more forceful and 'people-oriented' measures amid growing social discontent, state media reported.
Addressing a plenary session of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the mainland's top anti-graft body, Hu said the situation remained 'grave' and that all work should be done with the fundamental interests of most of the population as the core concern.
In recent years, the party has become increasingly aware of the pressing need to address the problem of corrupt officials, as it has become a major source of social discontent and the biggest threat to undermine the party's rule.
'[We should] strengthen solving the striking problem people have a strong reaction to ... and improve the anti-corruption work at the grass-roots level in people's daily lives,' Hu was quoted by China Central Television as saying when he spoke on the main anti-graft tasks of the year.
The corruption watchdog holds an annual plenary session at the beginning of each year to lay out the task ahead with an anti-corruption theme. Last year it was to establish an all-round, sound and functional anti-graft system.
Hu said problems that violated the public interest seriously and sparked the most public complaints should be addressed to ensure social justice.
He pledged to 'combat graft strictly and punish corrupt officials severely' to win the people's trust.
People-oriented instruction was needed to guide officials to 'willingly stand beside the people, be emotionally close to the people and answer to the people in carrying out their duties', he said.
In the speech, Hu also affirmed the public's role in the party's anti-corruption drive. 'We must closely rely on the people and lead the people to strive to ... effectively fight every type of risk and challenge to reach the social and economic development targets set in the 12th Five-Year Programme.'
Last month, in the mainland's first white paper on corruption, the State Council Information Office hailed the role of the internet in enhancing public supervision. It said Beijing valued that positive role, and that efforts would be made to ensure incidents of corruption could be easily recorded through the internet via a feedback system that offered 'a convenient and unimpeded channel for the public to exercise their right of supervision'.
Last year, discipline inspection agencies received almost 1.43 million petitions and tip-offs and recovered 8.97 billion yuan (HK$10.5 billion) in economic losses for the state, the party disciplinary commission said.
More than 146,000 officials across the mainland were punished for disciplinary violations, including 5,098 leaders at the county head level or above. More than 800 of them were referred for prosecution.