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Power of role models

China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-01 09:00

Ours is a society that sets great store by role models.

The Confucian paradigm of social harmony emphasizes leading by example, so we have the time-tested teaching to "convince with virtue", and the admonishment that "if the upper beam is lopsided, the lower ones will go askew".

The Communist Party of China knows very well the value of examples. And role models have been continuously presented for Party cadres and the public to emulate.

CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping, who is keen on maneuvering style changes across the Party, appears determined to follow through in the battle he and his comrades initiated in their first days in office.

The latest meeting of the Party's top leadership body, the Central Committee Political Bureau, was important because it reaffirmed the resolve that those at the very top of the political hierarchy should be exemplary role models.

"One has to be upright before one can correct others." We have heard this line more than once from Xi in his remarks about corruption and Party-building. With strict self-regulation and a clean image, the Party's core leadership will find it easier to implement disciplinary actions, especially when vested interests are involved.

We appreciate the Political Bureau's consensus that an essential prerequisite for fulfilling its leadership functions is to do whatever it asks others to do, and to "absolutely" not do what it asks others to not do.

Ensuring the upper beam is upright is essential before dealing with the lower ones that are askew.

Corrupt practices and bureaucratic red tape have severely compromised the Party's public image. A damaging credibility crisis is brewing because of the demonstrable abundance of bad examples inside the Party.

Xi and his colleagues have demonstrated impressive political courage taking on corruption, but substantial progress is yet to be made. The CPC disciplinary authorities' recent moves indicate a sense of urgency in reining in leading cadres' misconduct, which is consoling at least.

The entire country is looking to the very top of the political ladder for the "powerful exemplary effects" that Xi has envisioned, as these are an essential part of the "positive energy" he has been talking about; energy our society desperately needs.

As the CPC turns 92 today, let us hope this is at the core of its birthday resolution.

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