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China's 'Discipline Inspectors' Begin Anti-Corruption Campaign

China's 'Discipline Inspectors' Begin Anti-Corruption Campaign

Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement of a new “Mass Line” campaign against corruption within the Communist Party, a party wing known as the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection proclaimed a new session in which they vowed to enforce the utmost discipline among communists in the nation.

At a meeting this week, according to a report by state outlet Xinhua, “discipline inspectors” would begin working through audits of every single member of the party, from the most high-ranking down to municipal leaders. The group promised to continue “comprehensively advancing rule of law” by weeding out any individual who did not fully commit to the ideals of communism.

Wang Qishan, the chief of the group, described the Communist Party of China’s work as a “sacred mission,” stating, “Once you join the Party, you have to be beyond reproach in your political stance, be obedient to the Party and act as ordered.” He also described the threat of corruption within the party as “a severe and complicated situation.” The discipline inspectors, he noted, would be responsible for “treating sick trees and uprooting rotten ones.”

The move continues a strict anti-“corruption” theme of the Xi administration and promises to add renewed pressure to political infrastructure after months of Xi’s Mass Line campaign.

More than 800 “rotten trees” were uprooted in a massive corruption sweep in April. Their crimes included everything from throwing lavish weddings for family members to “disobeying workplace rules.” The definition of “corruption” within the Communist Party is a broad one. Later in the year, President Xi announced his Mass Line campaign, using Maoist terminology for a process that claims to attempt to align party leadership with the lives of “the people” generally. By October, he deemed this move a success, with Xinhua reporting that 74,000 members of the Communist Party had been “disciplined” for violating party rules, and 160,000 “phantom” workers removed from the payroll.

The campaign spared neither bureaucrat nor soldier; among those arrested was Gen. Xu Caihou, a former deputy chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission. Xu was incarcerated for corruption in June, allegedly for bribery–doing favors for those offering money and property.

For some suspected of corruption or the ability to engage in corruption, in July, Xi also implemented Marxist re-education programs for party officials, which would serve to “work to improve officials’ morals, calling on them to be noble, pure and virtuous persons who have relinquished vulgar tastes.”

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