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China president slams 'conspiracies' in Communist Party
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 2, 2016

China's president slammed "conspiracies" in the ruling party Wednesday, saying corruption and election fraud had undermined the country's governance and that a tighter ideological grip on its leaders was needed.

Xi Jinping's strongly-worded statement followed a meeting in Beijing last week of hundreds of the party's elite, who declared him the "core" of China's leadership and pledged to reform "norms for political life".

Since Xi took power in late 2012, the Chinese Communist Party has fought an all-out war on corruption.

Party mouthpiece the People's Daily published two documents Wednesday detailing the four-day meeting's decisions, along with a commentary by Xi.

"A handful of senior Party officials, overcome by their political cravings and lust for power, have resorted to political conspiracies by working with ostensible obedience, while forming cliques to pursue selfish interests," he wrote.

"Nepotism and election fraud have endured," he said, adding that "power abuse, corruption as well as legal and disciplinary violations have been spreading."

In his comments, Xi made special reference to several toppled officials punished for corruption, including former security czar Zhou Yongkang, who state media has previously accused of plotting to challenge the country's leaders.

Their behaviour, Xi said "exposes not just their serious economic problems, but also exposes their serious political problems."

Xi's anti-corruption campaign has punished more than one million officials, with casualties ranging from so-called "flies", minor officials, to "tigers", major figures including Zhou and top generals in the People's Liberation Army.

While aimed at rooting out entrenched graft, some have seen the crackdown as an attempt by Xi -- who also occupies the party's top position -- to amass political power by felling his rivals.

The drive has also laid waste to the party's organisational chart.

"Like natural ecology, political ecology is also vulnerable to pollution," Xi wrote in his statement.

"Once problems emerge, we have to pay a huge price to restore it to its original state."

The newly issued rules appear to further tighten ideological controls that have already increased dramatically under Xi, calling on party members to oppose acts contrary to the CCP's leadership.

"No Party member should make or distribute statements that run counter to the Party's theory, path, principle, policy and decisions," they said.

But the documents stopped short of instituting long-called for transparency rules that would reveal top leaders' assets or suggesting that the party should accept independent supervision.

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