China’s Xi Warns Communists Not to Fall Into Abyss of Corruption

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, in line to take over leadership of the 82 million-member Communist Party later this year, warned in a speech that personal extravagances and corruption by cadres could undermine the party’s hold on power.

“The ancients said that if history is any guide, for any country or household, austerity breeds success while luxury leads to failure,” Xi said in a June 28 speech published today in the party magazine Qiushi. “We Communists should heed this warning.”

Xi’s comments came in a speech about how the Chinese Communist Party can sustain itself and continue to build on successes it has overseen in building up China’s economy. Xi, 59, also emphasized the need for so-called intra-party democracy, in which the party’s members, who make up more than 6 percent of the country’s population, feel “relaxed” about making candid suggestions on how the party should govern.

Xi’s comments come before this year’s Communist Party congress, which will pick a new generation of leaders who will govern China for the next decade. The party has been rocked this year by the biggest political shakeup in two decades with the suspension of former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai from the ruling Politburo and the indictment of his wife, announced last week, for the murder of a British businessman.

Xi said that some party members were focused on the “pursuit of personal pleasure,” engaging in feasting and other activities that led them into the “abyss of corruption.”

— With assistance by Michael Forsythe

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