Having announced a Mao-style “mass line” campaign to eradicate corruption within the Chinese Communist Party last October, Beijing declares through its state-run media that more than 2,000 Communist Party officials have been “punished” for violating “anti-graft” rules.
State media outlet Xinhua reports that 2,133 people were implicated in 1,650 cases of graft, including “private use of official cars, illegal subsidies, lavish spending at weddings and funerals, accepting festival gifts and use of public funds for high-end entertainment activities and travel.” Xinhua noted that a fraction of the more than two thousand had been punished so far, but that the government fully intended to punish more. The article does not specify what type of “punishment” has been inflicted on those found guilty, who they are, or how the government will prove them guilty in their individual cases.
The Communist Party watchdog expanded on the mission to crack down on corruption in an extensive piece appearing on its website Monday, which the People’s Daily state publication translated in part on Wednesday. Repeatedly referring to corrupt officials as “tigers,” the article insists on rounding up and punishing corrupt officials no matter how popular they may be among their constituents.
Warning of “great difficulties,” the party notes that members of Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection are aware of “the danger of [corrupt officials] becoming popular among the public,” stating, “Some of the tigers we are about to deal with are very cunning. … They are good at various maneuvers, such as keeping a low profile during the crackdown.”
The call for an end to corruption among Communist officials has become a staple of President Xi Jinping’s tenure. Those deposed through corruption investigations since Xi assumed power include both high-ranking generals and, presumably, lower-level bureaucrats. The announcements of corruption crackdowns have come in waves throughout 2014 and into 2015: 800 “rotten trees” arrested in April, an article announcing the removal of 160,000 officials for corruption in October and this latest wave in February.
In addition to mass arrest sweeps, Xi has also implemented new Marxist “re-education programs” to teach officials to “safeguard the spiritual independence of the nation and avoid becoming an echo of western moral values.”
The Chinese government has indicated that it feels under cultural attack from both the West (barring the Western ideological phenomenon of communism) and the Middle East. The New York Times reported this month that China is striving to remove any remnants of Western philosophy and ideas from its college campuses. Simultaneously, China has embarked on a campaign to essentially criminalize Islam–particularly in its western Xinjiang province. Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, has moved to ban the burqa, and it is already illegal to publicly observe the holiday of Ramadan or appear in public with long beards or “Islamic garb.”