Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidated his power base in the ruling Communist Party as its top policy body today endorsed his anti-graft campaign targeting party bigwigs besides thousands of officials. The fifth plenary session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has endorsed prior decisions to revoke the membership of 10 former officials, including Ling Jihua, a close aide of the previous President Hu Jintao, state media reported.
The plenary meets once in three years. Since he took over power in 2012, Xi consistently firmed up his power base emerging as the most powerful Chinese leader since the reformist Deng Xiaoping who succeeded Chairman Mao Zedong.
Xi, 62, will remain in power till 2022 as per CPC constitution. Heading the party, presidency and the military, Xi has carried out the massive anti-graft campaign. While it was regarded as most popular among people, it also evoked criticism that it was a massive purge of rival elements in the party that has monopolised political power since the country was founded in 1949.
Those who were punished included Zhou Yongkang, the powerful national security chief in Hu Jintao’s regime as well as over 40 top military officials.
A former vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, Ling was found to have seriously violated political codes of conduct and CPC rules, taking advantage of his posts to seek profits for others and accepting huge bribes, Xinhua news agency reported.
Others on the expulsion list are Zhou Benshun, Yang Dongliang, Zhu Mingguo, Wang Min, Chen Chuanping, Qiu He, Yang Weize, Pan Yiyang and Yu Yuanhui, it said.
Their violations include abuse of power, bribery, embezzling public funds and leaking state secrets, according to previous statements from the top anti-graft body.
All the former senior officials were expelled after anti-graft body announced investigations into their conduct amid China’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign, it said. A communique issued after the four-day meet noted that continued efforts must be made to fight corruption and strictly govern the party so that officials “don’t want to be corrupt, don’t dare to be corrupt, and couldn’t be corrupt even if they did”.
The party leadership also recently released new disciplinary regulations that help the anti-graft drive by listing playing golf and gluttony as violations for the first time.