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Party leaders demand timely removal of unqualified members
Top leaders asked on Monday to "deal with unqualified Party members in a timely way", in what experts called their latest and toughest stand against corruption.
A handful of Party members are "corrupt and degenerate", leaders warned at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
"The faith of a few Party members has wavered and they have a weak understanding of the Party's tenets and have not followed discipline," according to a statement issued after the meeting.
"Some Party organs are not strict with enlisting members, and the quality of members who are recruited needs improvement," the statement said, adding that such problems have affected the Party's image and prestige among the public.
Lin Zhe, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said top leaders have sent consistent messages and showed their resolve to contain corruption among Party members.
"Unqualified Party members" is a term that targets not only corrupt officials but also those who violate Party discipline, use public funds or power for private entertainment or indulge themselves in bureaucracy or an extramarital affair, Lin said.
The Party needs to kick them out. In the meantime, authorities should institutionalize the screening system, Lin said.
Lin listed a few pressing measures to be considered, such as the launch of an asset declaration system for officials, putting a limit on the value of gifts received by officials and naming the key departments in charge of oversight and defining their responsibilities.
Using asset declaration as an example, Lin said the practice has to take a top-to-bottom approach to convince officials at all levels that no one should be an exception.
Long Yuanfu, 49, a lawyer in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, said Party members should be judged by whether they truly serve the people, or instead seek personal gain from power.
Top leaders recently said power should be exercised within the body of regulations, and forceful anti-graft efforts will sweep both "flies" and "tigers", referring to both low- and high-ranking officials.
Long said he expected to see the fall of more officials in frequent anti-graft campaigns in the coming years, but tackling the deep-rooted problem requires more substantial reforms in the judicial system and political arena.
He estimated it will take 10 years for China to build the legislative and juridical framework that can put corruption in check.
Long said lawyers like him have been tasked with pushing forward the process by fighting for social justice in individual cases, and promoting awareness and discussions about the proper exercise of power.
Li Chengyan, a professor who specializes in clean-government studies at Peking University, said expelling unqualified Party members demonstrates the determination to fight corruption.
Top leaders indicated they will institutionalize the supervision of power and anti-graft efforts, rather than rely on political campaigns, which, as shown in the past, could be overdone or achieve little results, Li said.
Earlier media reports raised concerns about the weakness of local disciplinary watchdogs, which avoided disclosing penalties to disgraced officials involved in corruption scandals.
Li said it is understandable that authorities needed considerable time to investigate cases and release their final decisions.
Authorities need to enhance their transparency and public accountability, as more cases are exposed by online whistle-blowers, Li said.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
(China Daily 01/29/2013 page3)