China leaders warn of corruption

September 27, 2004

In an unusually blunt message, China’s Communist Party has warned its members that corruption and incompetence could threaten its hold on power.

The party’s Central Committee said in a policy paper quoted by the official Xinhua news agency that Communist rule could not be taken for granted.

The anti-graft drive was a “life and death struggle” for the party, it said.

Thousands of officials have recently been punished for corruption, but the problem is continuing, analysts say.

The 36-page report amounts to an admission that the Communist Party is facing a legitimacy crisis, the BBC’s Louisa Lim in Beijing reports.

China’s leaders are now grappling with popular discontent at what is seen as widespread corruption among party members, our correspondent says.

Tough talk, old message

“We must develop a stronger sense of crisis, draw experience and lessons from the success and failure of other ruling parties in the world and enhance our governance capability in a more earnest and conscientious manner,” the report said.

“Some leading party members don’t have a strong sense of responsibility, personal integrity, a down-to-earth style of work or a close connection with the general public,” it said.

Although the report called for expanded “socialist democracy” and “ideological innovation”, the state-run media gave no hint that the party was prepared to relax its power monopoly, while implementing capitalist-style reforms.

The report did not specify how the party would improve its ability to govern, analysts say.

Hu’s rise

The document bears the stamp of party leader Hu Jintao, who has been warning that abuse of power and corruption are undermining the party’s image, our correspondent adds.

A party meeting earlier this month sealed President Hu Jintao’s leadership by appointing him head the powerful Central Military Commission, succeeding former leader Jiang Zemin.

The move will consolidate Mr Hu’s position as China’s paramount leader, analysts say.

Categories: Asia, China, Odious Debts

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