How Serious is Xi on Corruption?

Since Xi Jinping took office as the General Secretary of the Communist Party, he has preserved his image as an anti-corruption iron fist. On Monday, Xi chaired a Politburo meeting to reiterate his resolution to clear out “unqualified” members from the PartyFrom Zhuang Pinghui at South China Morning Post:

A statement issued by the meeting, reported by CCTV, said some party organs were not strict when enlisting members and the quality of new recruits needed to be looked at. Meanwhile, some party members were corrupt and not disciplined.

[...] ”The overall number of party members should be controlled, and the membership structure and quality should be optimised in order to let them play their role,” the statement said.

[...] ”Unqualified party members will be handled in a timely manner and the management of floating party members, those who do not work or live in places where their membership is registered and cannot regularly attend party activities, should be strengthened,” the statement said.

Following the statement, some Chinese political watchers  are calling for stricter Party recruitment standards for new members and harsher punishment for corrupt officials. From Yang Jinghao at Global Times:

Cai Xia, a professor of Party building with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times that the meeting showed that the Party leadership has fully realized the problems existing among Party members and its determination to administer the Party strictly.

[...] Cai Zhiqiang, a professor of Party building with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the CPC’s large size had inevitably brought many management challenges for the Party, considering the increasingly complicated domestic and international situations and diversified values and interests in the new era.

[...] ”The punishment of unqualified members should also be strictly in line with the Party regulations,” said Cai Zhiqiang. In May 2012, 102 Party members were expelled for poor work performances or violations of family planning policy. The cleanout was regarded as a landmark example of Party membership adjustment.

Just this week, yet another corruption investigation of a high-ranking official, Li Jianguo, once again demonstrates resolution on this issue from the top and a thirst for justice from the general public. From Celia Hatton at BBC:

Mr Li, who serves as vice chairman of China’s parliament, reportedly engineered the promotion of his nephew to a plum government position.

[...] Just last week, Mr Xi promised he would battle both “tigers” and “flies”, indicating that officials at all ranks were under scrutiny.

Li Xinde, an influential citizen journalist, was the first person to interview the whistleblower exposing Li Jianguo’s high-flying nephew. The fact that this case has been picked up by the authorities, he says, shows that things are changing in China.

[...] All evidence, he says, that individual citizens are no longer working alone to expose corruption on a case-by-case basis. Instead, there is new hope that the system as a whole is becoming more transparent.

See more on Xi Jinping and anti-corruption work via CDT.