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Xi Jinping

First he swept up corrupt officials. Now Xi is tightening party control

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 10:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 January, 2018, 5:18pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on Communist Party officials to carry out the top echelon’s directives to the letter, while also remaining pragmatic.

Speaking at a full meeting of the party’s top graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), on Thursday, Xi reminded cadres to resolutely safeguard the authority and the leadership of the party’s Central Committee.

Noting the party was challenged by “complex” domestic and international factors, Xi said officials should be aware of links between triads and officials, especially the protectors of mafia-style organisations.

China’s graft-busters set to finalise ‘super agency’ plans as war on corruption hots up

“The decisions and plans laid out by the party’s central leadership should be implemented to the letter by all party organisations,” Xi said in a speech live-streamed to officials across the country.

He urged cadres to be “always politically reliable, loyal to the party, be of one mind and one heart with the central leadership, listen to the party’s instructions and fulfil their responsibilities at all times and under all circumstances”.

The anti-corruption campaign launched by Xi since coming to power five years ago is the most sweeping and ferocious in communist China’s history. More than 1.5 million cadres, including some from the highest ranks of the party and military, have been disciplined or prosecuted for graft or disloyalty.

Five years on and Xi’s goal now is to deepen the strict governance of the party and strengthen the organisation’s leadership.

He warned officials against a “formalistic and bureaucratic work style”, and urged them to maintain close ties with the people.

“To ensure the Central Committee’s policies take root, [officials] should thoroughly investigate ways to solve the difficulties [of the people], and ensure they are implemented pragmatically to meet the needs of the people,” he said.

The call comes as the authorities have been under fire over natural gas shortages and rigid enforcement of a coal ban that have left many households without heating this winter.

While pledging strict management on cadres, he also said they should have proper incentives to do their job.

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Zhuang Deshui, an anti-corruption expert at Peking University, said Xi wrapped up the top graft-busting body’s achievements over the past five years, before going on to outline the political task ahead.

“One of the new approaches Xi has highlighted in his speech is the targeting of ‘flies’ which are a bit different from the lowly bureaucrats mentioned in the past. He specifically points his finger at those low-ranking officials colluding with local mafia-style criminal gangsters who, in turn, have effectively sabotaged the ruling Communist Party’s grass-roots regime.”

The three-day closed-door meeting of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) is the first since its new membership was elected at the national party congress in October, a meeting at which President Xi Jinping secured a second term in power.

Additional reporting by Choi Chi-yuk