President, Xi Jinping has made it his signature campaign to fight corruption in the party
China's president Xi Jinping. AFP Photo
More than 1.5 million members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) have been punished for corruption-related offences over the last five years as the party cracks hard on errant conduct.
Since 2012 when he was elected general secretary of the CPC, China's President, Xi Jinping has made it his signature campaign to fight corruption in the party.
A work report released by China's anti-graft body on the sidelines of the ongoing 19th CPC National Congress shows that a total of 1,537,000 party members have been punished for corruption-related offences since 2012.
Prepared by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the report shows that the party traced 2.674 million leads of discipline violation out of which 1.545 million cases were filed and 58,000 suspects referred to judicial bodies for prosecution.
Yang Xiaodu, the deputy secretary of the anti-graft body told journalists at a briefing in Beijing that the steps were testament of the party's strict stance on discipline.
"This demonstrates our commitment to the principles that discipline must be strictly enforced and that all violators must be punished," he stated.
Vowing to ‘take out tigers and swat flies," Xiaodu said the anti-corruption campaign would spare no party member, irrespective of their status.
In recent years, the party's anti-corruption campaign has ensnared such high-ranking party officials as Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Sun Zhengcai and Li Jihua.
At positions above the provincial and army commander level, at least 440 party members have been investigated, 43 of them members of the CPC central committee (second-highest ranking organ) and 9 from the anti-graft body itself.
President Xi, at the opening of the national congress on Wednesday told delegates that corruption was the greatest threat that the party faces.
"Currently, the fight against corruption remains grave and complex; we must remain firm as a rock in our resolve to build on the overwhelming momentum and secure a sweeping victory," he stated.
"We will impose tight constraints, maintain a tough stance and a long-term deterrence, punish both those who take bribes and those who offer them, prevent interest groups from arising within the party."
Xi, who is widely expected to bounce back to the politburo standing committee, the apex organ of the CPC after serving a five-year term, listed the tightening of inspection at city and county levels as one of the areas of focus for the party.
"We will strengthen deterrence so officials dare not be corrupt, strengthen the cage of institutions so they are unable to be corrupt and strengthen vigilance so that they have no desire to commit corruption," he warned.
He said offenders who flee the country will be brought back and prosecuted, guaranteeing no safe haven for perpetrators of economic and political corruption.
At least 3,453 fugitives have been repatriated over the last five years, including 48 of the 100 on Interpol's red notice list, according to the party's anti-graft body.
Xi, who has spearheaded several economic, political and military reforms, considers the party's conduct critical to the country's development aspiration.
Formed in 1921, the CPC has been in power since 1949 and remains the largest political party with over has 89 million members.