October 18, 2022
BEIJING – China’s top anti-corruption agency on Monday reiterated that the ongoing anti-corruption campaign, a hallmark of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 10-year tenure, will continue in the years to come to “prevent rot” in the Communist Party.
Deputy director of the National Supervisory Commission Xiao Pei said that the body will crack down not only on party members but also their relatives and close aides, coming down additionally hard on those who commit low-level graft since that directly affects people’s lives.
He was speaking during a press briefing on the sidelines of the ongoing Communist Party of China’s (CPC) twice-in-a-decade congress, where Mr Xi is poised to seek a rare third term.
“The party has comprehensively strengthened the construction of discipline, strictly enforced political discipline and political rules, and adhered to the tone of strictness,” said Mr Xiao, who is also deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which enforces discipline within the CPC.
“We punish corruption with a zero-tolerance attitude; promote (a culture where cadres) dare not, cannot and do not want to be corrupt; resolutely investigate and deal with corruption cases where political and economic issues are intertwined; and resolutely punish corruption around the masses.”
Since Mr Xi came to power in 2012, some 4.6 million cases have been investigated by disciplinary bodies at all levels.
During his first five-year term, 49 cases were members of the Central Committee – among the country’s top leaders – 12 of whom were part of the CCDI. By his second five-year term beginning in 2017, 12 Central Committee members had been investigated, six of whom were in the CCDI.
“As a result of intense pressure and policy, more than 80,000 people have voluntarily surrendered to the discipline inspection and supervision organs since the 19th National Congress of the CPC,” Mr Xiao said.
“Flies and tigers” – a phrase used to describe corrupt low- and high-ranking officials – will be taken down whenever they emerge, he said.
As part of the campaign to instil more discipline among party cadres, Mr Xi in 2012 introduced the “Eight-point Regulation” to tackle what has been seen as a culture of privilege that permeated the ranks.
This set of regulations that governs officials’ behaviours aims to ensure that they are more in tune with the masses and practice more frugality. In practice, this translated to being more inconspicuous when on official business, and cutting back on using excessive public funds for travel and entertainment.
This even extended to barring officials from using public funds to buy mooncakes as festive gifts, Mr Xiao said.
In the months leading up to the congress, several high-profile officials were taken down by graft allegations, including a former vice-minister for public security, three former police chiefs and a former head of the CCDI.