Xi sig­nals na­tion­wide hunt for ‘schemers and plot­ters’

The Irish Times - - World News - CLIF­FORD COO­NAN in Bei­jing

Fresh from a power-en­hanc­ing Com­mu­nist Party congress last week, China’s pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping aims to step up the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign to a na­tion­wide hunt for “schemers and plot­ters” among the cadres.

The news came in a re­port from the party’s anti-cor­rup­tion watch­dog, the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion (CCDI), which was re­leased by the Xin­hua news agency this week.

“All prov­inces, re­gions and cities must closely con­nect re­gional prac­tices, in­te­grate re­form pi­lot scheme ex­pe­ri­ence, im­ple­ment the over­all plan ac­cord­ing to the de­ci­sion of the party’s cen­tral com­mit­tee, and pro­mote or­gan­i­sa­tional in­te­gra­tion,” the re­port said.

Last week, Mr Xi made a 3½-hour pol­icy ad­dress and had his “Xi Jin­ping Thought on So­cial­ism with Chi­nese Char­ac­ter­is­tics for a New Era” en­shrined in the con­sti­tu­tion, a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of the pres­i­dent’s power.

The an­nounce­ment that the cor­rup­tion cam­paign would be spread na­tion­wide came from Zhao Leji, who took over as head of the CCDI from Mr Xi’s close ally Wang Qis­han dur­ing the congress. The widen­ing of the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign will now in­clude non-party mem­bers and will also cover the whole coun­try. Mr Zhao called for a “sweep­ing vic­tory” over graft to make cor­rup­tion im­pos­si­ble in China.

The CCDI re­port de­scribed for­mer Chongqing party boss Sun Zheng­cai, who was held on cor­rup­tion charges in the run-up to the congress, and a group of other top of­fi­cials ousted for graft, in­clud­ing for­mer se­cu­rity chief Zhou Yongkang, as “schemers” and “plot­ters” who were only con­cerned with boost­ing their own sta­tus. Both men are seen as po­lit­i­cal ri­vals of Mr Xi, although the of­fi­cial ver­sion is that cor­rup­tion was the rea­son for their down­fall.

Since he came to power in 2012, Mr Xi’s anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign has net­ted 1.4 mil­lion “tigers and flies” within the party ranks.

Fol­low­ing the congress, Mr Xi is­sued a state­ment urg­ing peo­ple to “study and im­ple­ment the find­ings of the party congress . . . and ad­here to and de­velop so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics for a new era”, say­ing it was the pri­mary role of the party.

Mean­while, the Com­mu­nist Party set about reshuf­fling key posts af­ter sev­eral top cadres were el­e­vated to the lead­er­ship.

Li Qiang, who was for­merly Shaanxi party boss, has been named head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in Shanghai, while Li Xi, who was pre­vi­ously head of the party in Liaoning province, has been ap­pointed head of the pros­per­ous south­ern province of Guang­dong.

That role was for­merly held by Hu Chun­hua, who vis­ited Ire­land this year with a ma­jor trade mis­sion. Mr Hu is tipped for a more se­nior role, even though he was not named to the stand­ing com­mit­tee of the polit­buro. The ques­tion re­mains open be­cause Mr Xi has not named an of­fi­cial suc­ces­sor, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion he may plan to stay on as supreme leader beyond the usual 10-year term, which ends in 2022. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing: Reuters

Xi Jin­ping: anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign has im­pli­cated 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple

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