The mainland's top anti-graft official endorsed Chongqing's high-profile crackdown on triads yesterday as the annual parliamentary season opened - the first public show of support by a top-ranking official. He Guoqiang, a member of the top decision-making Politburo Standing Committee and head of the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, praised Chongqing's campaign against organised crime as he paid a visit to the venue hosting the Chongqing delegation for the National People's Congress, the semi-official China News Service reported. 'At the meeting, He Guoqiang gave his approval for Chongqing's clampdown on triads,' it said. He, a former Chongqing party chief, said the central government 'attaches great importance' to the future of the municipality, which should seize every opportunity to press ahead with its economic and social development. Although another member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, had also praised Chongqing for the clampdown in October, his message was relayed by a local cadre and reported only in the local newspapers. In the mainland's political culture, He's public praise for Chongqing yesterday is seen as a vote of confidence for Bo Xilai, the party chief of the municipality. Bo was quoted as saying the municipality still faced severe challenges, but he believed the current fight against triads would help smooth the path ahead. Bo had had difficulty securing public endorsement for his campaign from the central government in Beijing. Until He's endorsement yesterday, there had been no state media reports of the other eight members of the Politburo Standing Committee either visiting the city or voicing support for Bo. The crackdown has so far snared 3,348 people for their 'connections with underground activities' and crushed 14 key triad groups, according to Chongqing's official media. Some observers say Bo's high-profile campaign - which has brought down many senior police officers who had served during the term of his predecessor, Wang Yang, who is now the party secretary in Guangdong - was a move calculated to increase his political capital in the next power reshuffle in 2012. Wang, a rumoured competitor, is also perceived as a strong contender for a place on the Politburo Standing Committee in the reshuffle. Others have criticised Bo for fulfilling his political ambition in a hurried move to wipe out local crime syndicates at the expense of the rule of law. Bo, a former commerce minister, took over from Wang in Chongqing in December 2007. Questions have been raised as to why Bo's predecessors, including Wang, had not used equally heavy-handed tactics to crack down on Chongqing's powerful crime bosses. But analysts say Bo, who comes from a powerful clique known as the 'princelings', has stronger political capital than others to get tough on local gangs. His father, Bo Yibo, was a revered Communist who helped found the People's Republic.