The all-out pursuit of wealth and economic growth, and empty moral slogans, are to blame for rampant corruption in the Communist Party, children of several party elders have said. It was "unthinkable" that some officials took advantage of their political power to become the first to "get rich" after the country embraced economic reforms, they said on the sidelines of a conference in Hong Kong commemorating the founding of the prestigious Huangpu Military Academy 90 years ago. "One of the major reasons [for corruption] is that our party has adopted a problematic guiding ideology," Dong Lianghui said. She is the daughter of Dong Biwu , a key member of the first-generation party leadership and who served as a vice-president. "There is nothing wrong with letting Chinese people get rich, but the officials should never have treated themselves as the group of people who should get rich first," Dong said, referring to Deng Xiaoping's famous remark in the mid-1980s that China should reform its planned economy and "let some people get rich first" . Ye Xiangzhen, the second daughter of the late marshal Ye Jianying , shared Dong's sentiments. "Rampant corruption does not happen overnight," she said. "The reason that there are corrupt officials was that China neglected moral and ethical education during the economic development over the past few decades. We were only thinking about how to enrich people's material life and help the country get richer." They called on the leadership to return to the country's traditional values to find solutions for the moral degradation among party cadres. Lieutenant General Xu Xiaoyan, the son of marshal Xu Xiangqian, said the Communist Party's ideological campaigns were merely empty slogans. The rapid decay of moral values, not only in the party but Chinese society in general, had turned the campaigns into 'slogan-chanting' events, Xu said. "What [the party cadres] did was totally different from the slogans they were chanting," he said. Xu said China should improve its political system and the rule of law to prevent corruption, and that the leadership needed to introduce better policies instead of carrying out more revolutionary campaigns. "The party has not transformed very well from a revolutionary party to a ruling party," he added. Xu and Dong called for greater transparency at both central and local government levels to allow public monitoring. The forum is held once a year to commemorate the founding of the Huangpu academy. The academy is known as the cradle of China's modern revolutions, and its alumni include senior military officers of both the Communist and Kuomintang armies.