Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive a huge success, says new book

Several high-profile Communist Party of China leaders have been investigated and removed, which have led critics to say that the anti-corruption drive is a weapon in Xi Jinping’s hand to tackle intra-party rivals and consolidate his grip on power.

world Updated: Sep 29, 2018 19:57 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Xi Jinping,corruption,China
Xi Jinping launched the anti-graft campaign soon after taking over his first term as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012-13.(File Photo)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s high-profile anti-graft campaign has scored an “overwhelming victory” and a large number of Chinese now believe that corruption levels are down in the country, says a new government-sanctioned policy book.

The book concludes that despite the success of the six-year-old campaign, the momentum of the anti-corruption drive is not slowing down but picking up pace. Xi launched the anti-graft campaign soon after taking over his first term as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012-13.

Hundreds of thousands of CPC cadres and officials have since been punished. Several high-profile CPC leaders have been swiftly investigated and removed from their powerful posts, which have led critics to say that the corruption was — and possibly continues to be — a weapon in Xi’s hand to tackle intra-party rivals and consolidate his grip on power.

Launching it, Xi had famously said the CPC will go after both “high-ranking tigers to lower-level flies” in the country.

Among the big tigers netted were top political leaders like Zhou Yongkang, former security czar, and Bo Xilai who at one point was expected to be part of the top leadership of the CPC. From the military, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, both former vice-chairpersons of the Central Military Commission were also punished.

Beijing also carried out such operations as ‘Sky Net’ and ‘Fox Hunt’ to hunt down venal officials who had fled abroad.

The campaign has seemingly polished the CPC’s image among the public though it is doubtful whether it is to the extent the new “Blue Book of Combating Corruption and Upholding Integrity” compiled by the China Anti-Corruption Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claims.

“The overall trend of the anti-corruption campaign is getting better and better,” Jiang Laiyong, the book’s executive editor, told the state-controlled China Daily newspaper. “Our survey showed that 80 per cent of urban and rural residents believed corruption has been reduced over the past year,” Jiang said.

The newspaper quoted him as saying that anti-corruption efforts have also been a feature in protecting people’s interests and alleviating poverty, which has won people’s favour. The report didn’t mention how that conclusion was drawn — or whether it was purely anecdotal.

Official statistics on the number punished under the campaign are big.

“China’s anti-graft bodies investigated 3,02,000 corruption-related cases and punished 2,40,000 people in the first half of this year. The total number of cases probed is expected to surpass that of 2017 — 5,27,000 — and achieve growth for the sixth year in a row,” the book said.

The state media had earlier reported that more than 1.5 million corrupt officials have been punished and a total of 440 centrally-administrated senior officials investigated since November 2012, according to the CPC’s disciplinary arm.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 19:20 IST