China is facing a historic corruption battle

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Zhao Leji attends a meeting with media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Zhao
Leji attends a meeting with the media in
Beijing.

Thomson
Reuters


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China must win its battle against corruption
or face being erased by history, its new top graft buster said in
an editorial on Saturday, underscoring the ruling Communist
Party’s focus on eliminating corrupt behavior.

Zhao Leji, appointed to the new seven-member Politburo Standing
Committee last month and tasked to lead President Xi Jinping’s
signature war on corruption, wrote in the state-run People’s
Daily that failure would lead to the party’s downfall.

“If our control of the party is not strong and party governance
is not strict, then the party won’t be able to avoid being erased
by history and the historic task the party carries will not be
able to be fulfilled,” Zhao wrote.

Xi has previously warned that rampant official corruption could
weaken the party’s grip on power.

Xi’s corruption fight has ensnared more than 1.3 million
officials. At last month’s five-yearly party congress he said it
would continue to target both “tigers” and “flies”, a reference
to elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats. 

Zhao, formerly a low-profile official, replaced Wang Qishan,
whose sweeping anti-graft campaign had made him China’s second
most-powerful politician.

“The facts tell us and warn us that the party’s position as the
top political leader and power is the foundation of our political
stability, economic development, national unity and social
stability,” Zhao wrote.

Zhao leads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
(CCDI) as head of the party’s powerful organization department,
which is in charge of personnel.

China has plans for a national supervision law and a new
commission next year to oversee the expansion of Xi’s graft
fight.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan)

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