Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 5 News List

China politics ‘unhealthy’: CCDI head

Reuters, BEIJING

China’s top graft-buster yesterday launched a scathing attack on Chinese Communist Party members, writing that the party’s political culture remained “unhealthy” and governance weak even after five years of renewed efforts to fight the problem.

The comments by Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) Secretary Wang Qishan (王岐山) came after sources said a senior official who was considered a contender for promotion at the party’s 19th National Congress to be held this autumn is being investigated for “discipline violations.”

The anti-graft inspections that have begun since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took office five years ago routinely discovered the same problems, Wang said.

“All of the issues discovered during the inspections reflect the weakening of party leadership, shortcomings in party building and insufficient efforts to strictly enforce party discipline,” Wang wrote in the party’s official People’s Daily.

“Party concepts are faint, organization is lax and discipline flabby. The root is in the party’s internal political life being not serious and unhealthy,” he said.

Wang has been the chief enforcer of Xi’s anti-corruption drive and is widely considered as the party’s most powerful figure after Xi.

Despite an unwritten retirement age rule suggesting he should step down this year, Wang, who turns 69 this month, could be kept on by Xi as head of a new National Supervisory Commission that would combine the powers of several graft-fighting bodies, sources with ties to the leadership said.

The fight against corruption would remain “a long process,” Wang said in his piece.

Critics of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign have long accused it of being an instrument to sideline political rivals.

Former Chongqing party secretary Sun Zhengcai (孫政才), who was abruptly removed from office on Saturday, had been seen as a potential candidate for elevation and as a possible future premier, but his star had waned since coming under criticism from the anti-corruption watchdog.

The government has yet to say what has happened to Sun.

Sources with ties to the leadership and foreign diplomats said Sun has been out of favor after the CCDI criticized Chongqing authorities in February for not doing enough to root out lingering “poisonous” influence from disgraced former Chongqing secretary Bo Xilai (薄熙來).

Bo was also a contender for top leadership before being jailed for life in 2013 in a corruption scandal.

Xi’s corruption crackdown has seen dozens of senior officials jailed, reaching into the party’s upper echelons.

Xi has warned that the problem is so serious it could affect the party’s grip on power.

Wang agreed with that assessment in his article, writing: “The greatest challenge to our party ruling for a long time and ruling fully is effective supervision.”

Exposing problems shows the party’s confidence in facing them, Wang added.

“Putting the problems that objectively exist out there shows a high level of self-confidence and staunch focus, winning over the faith, trust and confidence of the people in the party’s center,” he wrote, referring to the party’s top leadership.

The crackdown has not just been focused on issues like bribery and using public money to fund lavish lifestyles. It has also taken aim at those whose political loyalty is found lacking or who publicly express doubt about party policies.

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