'Flies, tigers' targeted in Xi's corruption battle

'Flies, tigers' targeted in Xi's corruption battle

Party chief Xi Jinping yesterday took his campaign against corruption to the petty bureaucracy and minor infractions of lowly officials who are the bane of many Chinese people's everyday lives.

Xi said it was just as important to go after the lowly "flies" as it was to tackle the top official "tigers" in the battle against graft.

"We must uphold the fighting of tigers and flies at the same time, resolutely investigating law-breaking cases of leading officials and also earnestly resolving the unhealthy tendencies and corruption problems which happen all around people," he told a meeting of the Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

"No exception will be made when it comes to Party discipline and the law," Xi said. "Cases will be investigated completely and no leniency will be meted out no matter who is involved."

Officials must not be allowed to get away with skirting rules and orders from above or choosing selectively which policies to follow, Xi said.

"The style in which you work is no small matter, and if we don't redress unhealthy tendencies and allow them to develop, it will be like putting up a wall between our Party and the people, and we will lose our roots, our lifeblood and our strength," Xi said.

He called for "a disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanism" to be set up to prevent corruption.

Since his election as general secretary of the Communist Party in November, Xi has vowed to root out corruption, warning that the Party's survival was at risk.

The Party chief also called for determined efforts to oppose ostentation and reject hedonism and extravagance, banning officials from making long, boring speeches or being given red carpet welcomes, and ordering local governments to stop holding alcohol-fueled banquets.

Xi asked for efforts to strengthen national anti-corruption legislation and relevant intra-Party regulations to ensure national organs exercise their power within the boundaries of the law.

"The mainstream of our cadres and Party members is good," he said. "But we should soberly recognize that corruption is still prone to occur or happen quite frequently in certain areas."

He said the fight against corruption would be long-term, complicated and arduous.

Efforts should be made to prevent and overcome selfish localism and departmentalism, and nobody or no department should be allowed to disregard policies introduced by the Central Committee, he said.

"We must not relax the use of penalties if we want to rule Party members strictly," he said.

Anyone who exercises power should serve the people, be accountable to the people and accept supervision by the people, Xi said. A fight against privilege should be waged in combating corruption and building a clean government, he said.

A total of 4,698 county-level officials or higher-level cadres were punished by disciplinary watchdogs in 2012 and 961 officials at county-level or above were transferred to judicial bodies.

Among them were Liu Zhijun, former railways minister, Huang Sheng, former vice governor of east China's Shandong Province, and Tian Xueren, former vice governor of northeast China's Jilin Province. Their cases have been transferred to judicial bodies.

Two other provincial-level officials are under investigation. Zhou Zhenhong, a former member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Guangdong provincial committee, was sacked for suspected "serious discipline violations" in January last year, and Li Chuncheng was sacked as deputy Party chief of Sichuan Province for suspected "serious discipline violations" in December.

Nearly 73,000 people were punished for corruption or dereliction of duty in 2012.