China Communists to Control Size of Party Amid Corruption Fight

China’s ruling Communist Party will control the size of the organization as it seeks to weed out “unqualified members,” the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing a meeting overseen by party leader Xi Jinping.

Some party members are “corrupt and degenerate,” members of the ruling Politburo said, affecting the party’s “vigor and vitality,” according to the Xinhua report. The party had 82 million members as of last year.

The statement comes as part of a crackdown on corruption following Xi’s elevation to party general secretary in November that has netted officials including Li Chuncheng, a deputy party secretary in Sichuan province removed on suspicion of discipline violations. Chinese leaders have said corruption and official malfeasance risk weakening the party’s grip on power.

In a bid to burnish the party’s image, Xi has called for an end to lavish receptions and displays of ostentation. In September, the party sent the case of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai, who is accused of abuse of power and bribery, to the judiciary after his wife was convicted in the murder of a British businessman.

“If a party has no rules for its political direction, stance and conduct, it is merely a collection of motley fools,” Xinhua said in a commentary dated Jan. 24.

Xinhua also reported today that a county in southern China’s Guangdong Province will require officials there to report their assets, including real estate and automobiles, to the government.

The asset reports won’t be made public until a time in the future, Xinhua reported, citing Zheng Zhentao, party chief of Shaoguan City in Guangdong. Three regions in Guangdong are part of a pilot program in asset disclosure in a bid to fight corruption, Xinhua said.

— With assistance by Michael Forsythe

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