The Communist Party has begun a campaign to instil social ethics and combat corruption, which is in danger of undermining the Government. The party's Central Committee last week issued a document on ethics for citizens that is being viewed as an effort to flesh out Party Secretary-General and President Jiang Zemin's concept of 'rule by virtue'. The party machinery has been cranked up to promote the document, with seminars held nationwide. Government organs, universities, state-run companies and the army have all begun to draft implementation rules based on the document. The focus of the document appears to be on patriotism, followed by other values such as professionalism and being law-abiding. It also urges people to embrace traditional Confucian virtues such as courtesy, sincerity, fidelity, the spirit of self-improvement and dedication. 'While the Government has, since the late 1970s, launched numerous campaigns to boost public awareness about different aspects of social ethics, the latest campaign is the largest and the most comprehensive one,' said Liu Chongshun, a Wuhan-based sociologist from the Hubei Academy of Social Sciences. Beijing's leaders are alarmed by the pace at which social values have seemingly disintegrated. Corruption has become rampant at almost all levels of government. High-ranking officials who have been convicted of corruption include former Politburo member and Beijing party secretary Chen Xitong. Mr Jiang has warned that corruption is threatening the ruling position of the Communist Party. At the same time, millions of state workers, faced with the threat of job losses, have started to question their loyalty to the state, which used to promise a cradle-to-grave welfare system. Analysts said the loss of faith in the party had partly resulted in the rise of various religious or spiritual movements such as Falun Gong. At the beginning of the year, Mr Jiang put forward a theory of 'rule by virtue', which called for high moral standards among officials. According to Wang Wei, a scholar with the Academy of State Administration, the new document had provided the much-needed footnote on the implementation of Mr Jiang's call. But a Hong Kong-based China watcher said the campaign would have very limited appeal. 'With the lack of an independent judicial system and free press, it is difficult to convince the public that the good guy is awarded and the bad guy punished,' said Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, co-ordinator of the China Research Project at City University.