China’s ruling Communist Party, reeling from a corruption epidemic that has seen senior party chiefs jailed around the country, warned today that the fight against graft was a long way from being solved.
The notice comes a day after state media said a top party official in the booming eastern province of Shandong was dismissed for misconduct, following earlier high-profile firings of party bosses in Beijing and Shanghai.
The Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee warned all CPC members that “the phenomenon of corruption is still quite serious”.
It said the Politburo meeting, presided over by Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and also China’s president, “pledged to continue the major task of fighting corruption and achieving clean governance”.
The government has been running a campaign to stop rampant corruption – the cause of widespread public anger that has undermined the party’s authority – and thousands of officials have been punished, and some executed, in the last few years.
Yesterday, the government announced that Du Shicheng, provincial deputy party secretary in Shandong, had been fired for misconduct. He committed a “serious discipline violation”, language usually used to describe extortion, embezzlement and other graft.
“Du’s sacking is another signal of the central government’s hard stand against official malpractice and corruption,” the Xinhua news agency said.
Du also lost his post as party secretary of Shandong’s main business centre, Qingdao, the site of yachting events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Earlier this year, the government fired the vice mayor of Beijing, who oversaw Olympic and related construction projects, for what was later described as “quite serious” wrongdoings.
China has installed a new supervisor for construction projects for the 2008 Summer Olympics as part of efforts to prevent corruption. It said that auditing of the projects had been stepped up to make sure Olympic funds are not misused.
Beijing officials have said that Liu Zhihua’s alleged misdeeds have not affected Olympic projects.
The Communist Party is still trying to sort through a corruption inquiry in Shanghai, where the city’s party secretary, Chen Liangyu, was dismissed and also expelled from the party’s powerful Politburo in September in connection with the scandal over alleged misuse of more than €284m in pension funds.
Numerous other senior city officials have also been detained in the investigation.
Xinhua said today that the Politburo studied a report of the CPC Central Committee for Discipline Inspection covering 2006 and its plans for next year.
“The Politburo urged the whole Party to remain unified in thinking, to have a deep understanding of the long-term, complicated and difficult nature of the efforts to bring about clean governance and fight corruption,” it said.
As part of the crackdown, state media announced recently that new Communist Party corruption watchdogs have been appointed in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
The personnel shifts have in part been seen as efforts by Hu to weed out rivals and shore up support within the party before a major congress to ratify appointments and policies late next year.
The party hierarchies of Beijing and Shanghai have been dominated by supporters of Hu’s predecessor, President Jiang Zemin.