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China's Hu orders party to fight against corruption
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 9, 2012

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday ordered Communist Party leaders to fight harder against corruption and be more disciplined ahead of a major leadership transition that begins this year.

The next generation of leaders would have the chance to present a "new face and new image" of the ruling Communist Party, Hu said in a speech, in an apparent nod to corruption scandals that have plagued the party for years.

Hu's remarks, reported by the official Xinhua news agency, come amid growing social discontent over a range of issues including official graft that senior leaders have previously admitted posed a threat to their grip on power.

"The fight against corruption remains severe and the task is still arduous," Hu told the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

"We need to intensify supervision and discipline, let public supervision play a positive role and rigorously enforce the party's rules."

The most high-profile corruption scandal in recent years involved railway minister Liu Zhijun, who was sacked last February for "serious disciplinary violations", wording that typically refers to corruption.

State media reports have alleged Liu took more than 800 million yuan (about $127 million) in kickbacks over several years on contracts linked to China's high-speed network.

The public is increasingly intolerant of perceived official corruption, with a growing number of people taking to the streets and social networking sites to criticise the government and protest against pollution and graft.

Last month villagers in the southern province of Guangdong lived under police blockade for more than a week after driving out Communist Party leaders they said had been stealing their land for years.

The 10-yearly transition of power in China begins in October or November this year when Hu ends his second five-year term as party head. He will end his presidency in 2013 when the rest of the government resigns.

Hu said the new crop of leaders needed to stick to the policy of "putting the people first" and "make a great effort to show a new face and new image" of the party.

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