China's anti-graft drive gaining ground, president says

Reuters

Posted at Jan 13 2016 10:39 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2016 11:51 AM

BEIJING - China's three year anti-corruption drive has shown good results and the ruling Communist Party remains determined to fight graft this year, President Xi Jinping was quoted as saying in state media on Wednesday.

Xi began his sweeping campaign against deep-rooted graft upon assuming power three years ago, warning, like others before him, that the problem is so severe it could affect the party's grip on power.

Since then, dozens of senior officials have been jailed, including former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, once one of China's most powerful politicians and jailed for life last year.

"The anti-corruption campaign has increased the people's confidence in and support of the party, and has been highly appraised by them," Xi said at a meeting of the anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, in comments reported by the official People's Daily.

Winning the people's support remains the party's top priority and efforts will not let up in 2016, Xi added.

"To forge iron, one must be strong," he said, using a traditional proverb to underline the party's resolve.

Since the anti-corruption campaign began, the party tackled the issue of being too lenient in supervising its members, and has tried building a system where officials "do not dare, are not able, and are unwilling to be corrupt", Xi added.

Those efforts are starting to pay off, with an atmosphere forming where officials are "unable and unwilling to engage in corruption", he said.

Some analysts have raised concerns that the ongoing anti-graft drive is contributing to already meager investment growth in China over the past year, as certain officials are afraid to approve projects for fear of corruption accusations.

Xi repeated previous orders for officials to "highlight honesty while managing their families", a reference to the common problem of family members also getting caught up in corruption probes.

Senior officials in particular must set a good example in following the law and party discipline, Xi added.