The Communist Party has launched a new offensive in its anti-corruption campaign, targeting 'soft rules', monopoly enterprises and widespread rent-seeking among party officials. The anti-graft campaign appears to be gaining momentum in the run-up to the key party congress later this year, as a national disciplinary conference opened in Guangzhou yesterday. Premier Wen Jiabao sent 'an important message' and Wu Guanzheng , the Communist Party's chief anti-graft official, sent a letter to the working conference, whose theme is to 'rectify bad tendencies', the People's Daily reported. Meanwhile, the Communist Party's mouthpiece magazine Outlook published a lengthy article on the campaign in its latest issue, which it says will pave the way for the 17th Party Congress, to be held in autumn. Mr Wen has called for the party to institutionalise its anti-corruption mechanisms while Mr Wu called for an emphasis on 'those outstanding problems that stirred public outcry', such as exorbitant tuition fees and pervasive medical malpractice, the newspaper said. According to the Outlook article, the latest anti-graft drive aims to rectify those bad tendencies and corrupt practices that have become entrenched in the party departments, administration agencies and monopoly enterprises. Analysts say that the Communist Party is trying to send a signal that corruption must be reined in, partly because of rising public anger over party officials abusing their power. A slew of high party officials were toppled last year for profiteering from their positions, including former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu , former national drug administration head Zheng Xiaoyu , former Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua and former national statistics chief Qiu Xiaohua . Such rent-seeking behaviour was so commonplace and so brazen that it was almost taken for granted, the article said. The latest campaign targets the cozy, often illicit ties between Communist Party officials and businesses, which mostly pervade the coal-mine industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Another focus area of the latest drive is those monopoly industries such as energy, telecommunications and transportation, characterised by low transparency, low-quality service and high user fees. 'The space for corruption originates when there is a monopoly,' the article said. 'Consumers have few choices and often have to suffer from their bad services. It has become a source for social tension.' The article also pointed out a related issue - the pervasiveness of 'informal rules' or 'soft rules' in almost every aspect of society. These rules, including cronyism, kickbacks and red-envelope practices, were routine corruption which could be more dangerous because they were tolerated by citizens, the article warned.