BEIJING (AP) — China's new leader Xi Jinping is highlighting corruption as a scourge that could bring down the Communist Party, though he has yet to offer any specific new proposals to stop it.
In a weekend speech that was carried Monday by the official Xinhua News Agency, Xi told the new 25-member Politburo that the party must be vigilant against graft, noting that corruption in other countries in recent years has prompted major social unrest and the collapse of governments.
"The large number of facts tells us that if the problem of corruption becomes increasingly severe, it will lead to the ruin of the party and the country!" Xinhua quoted Xi as saying in a speech that can be read as an indication of the priorities of the incoming administration.
Xi's language was unusually direct for a top leader, indicating his seriousness about the problem, but his speech gave few indications of how the party could better police itself, said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University.
"He used strong words. It was clearly a warning: 'We have to do something about this,'" Cabestan said. "Clearly, for him, the crux of the matter is corruption. The trouble is, of course, that he doesn't tell us much about what are going to be the efficient tools or weapons he will put together to fight corruption."
Several corruption investigations have targeted high-level leaders in recent years, most notably former Politburo member Bo Xilai, who was purged this year after an aide disclosed that Bo's wife murdered a British businessman. Bo is accused of obstructing the investigation into the murder as well as unspecified corruption while in office.
Foreign media, meanwhile, have reported in recent weeks that the families of Chinese leaders have accumulated enormous wealth.