China’s Xi Jinping indicates he’ll push forward with his fight against corruption

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Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated that an anti-graft campaign that has already ensnared 4.7 million officials will continue well into his third term, focusing over the coming year on areas where power, money and resources are concentrated.

A meeting of the 24-member Politburo chaired by Xi on Tuesday determined that the country has achieved an “overwhelming victory” in its battle against corruption but the work is still “far from over,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The government will keep its stringent measures against graft in place “in the long run to prevent any rebound of the problem,” Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

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The comments by the Politburo reinforce the high priority Xi has placed on addressing corruption during his decade in power. The effort wins public support for cleaning up government after years of rampant graft while also eliminating potential rivals to Xi and his allies.

The latest pledge comes after a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress in October allowed Xi to pack top decision-making bodies like the Politburo with his supporters, while sidelining figures such as Hu Chunhua, once seen as a potential successor. China did away with presidential term limits in 2018, paving the way for Xi to lead the world’s number two economy indefinitely.

Earlier this year, the country’s top anti-graft agency busted what it called a “political clique” led by former police official Sun Lijun, who was sentenced to what amounts to life in prison for taking 646 million yuan ($91 million) worth of bribes and other crimes.

Sun was accused of “cultivating personal power and forming an interest group.” Two other people associated with the group - former justice minister Fu Zhenghua and Wang Like, who was a senior official in Jiangsu - were similarly given suspended death sentences.

Xi’s campaign has also targeted the $58 trillion financial system and the semiconductor industry, as the leadership became frustrated with failures in efforts to boost self-reliance in high-end chip production. Last month, central bank governor Fan Yifei, 58, was placed under investigation, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s top graft buster said.

The drive has also breached the private sector, with the Communist Party expelling an official over corruption charges relating to the “disorderly expansion of capital.”

Zhou Jiangyong, former party secretary of Hangzhou - the base of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. - was ousted in January for serious violations of official duties, taking bribes and abuse of power, according to the CCDI.

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