Over a million grassroots-level Chinese officials have been punished in the sweeping anti- corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping, which also effectively helped to consolidate his power. Ahead of this month's key National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), its top disciplinary watchdog said around 1.34 million grassroots-level party officials around the country had been punished since the party's 2012 meeting during which Xi was elected leader of the party. He subsequently became the president and the head of the military, becoming the most powerful CPC leader since party founder Mao Zedong. CPC officials said that the anti-graft campaign boosted the sagging image of the party and made Xi a popular leader. According to a recent report by PLA Daily, the official organ of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), those punished include 13,000 military officials. They include Gen Guo Boxiong and Gen Xu Caihou who served as vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the PLA's high command now headed by Xi. They were accused of selling top posts of the military to the highest bidder. Guo, 75, was sentenced to life imprisonment in July last year and Xu died of cancer at the age of 72 in 2015 while in custody and under investigation for graft. The CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), headed by Xi's close confidant, Wang Qishan today released the details of the anti-graft drive ahead of the 19th Congress of the party which will begin here on October 18 during which Xi, 64, is expected to get re-elected for a second five-year term. As per the CPC leadership system followed since 2002, top party leaders will hold power for two terms and retire after 68 years of age.
Speculation is rife that the party this time will change the constitution to enable Xi to continue for a third term. CCDI said the punished officials included those serving at the town or township-level or lower, including 648,000 village officials. The CCDI said this demonstrates the party has extended its strict governance to grassroots-level organisations. As of this August, the CCDI had dealt with 270 issues in 21 county-level administrative regions, carrying out several rounds of supervision on poverty-alleviation work. The CCDI has made public 33 typical cases of corruption in poverty relief work. It said it had conducted inspection and supervision of 155,000 party organisations in the past five years, transferring 65,000 pieces of evidence about matters involving officials for further investigation.
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