More than 182,000 officials punished in China graft crackdown

BEIJING (AFP) - China's ruling Communist Party punished more than 182,000 officials last year in its high-profile anti-corruption campaign, authorities said on Friday.

Anti-graft authorities across the country last year received more than 1.95 million allegations of corruption and agreed to investigate 172,532 cases, said Mr Huang Shuxian, a deputy head of the ruling party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, at a briefing.

Mr Huang said that as a result, a total of 182,038 officials were given disciplinary punishment, which can range from a mere warning to expulsion from the Party or worse.

"Disciplinary authorities at all levels... upheld imposing punishment upon all the corrupt," he said.

Communist chief Xi Jinping has taken a much-publicised hard line against graft since coming to power a little over one year ago, warning that corruption could destroy the party.

Graft causes widespread public anger and Mr Xi has pledged to stamp down on high-ranking officials, or "tigers", along with low-level "flies" to maintain the purity of the organisation.

At the same time he has mounted an austerity drive, with a range of measures including limits on banquets and bans on gift-giving.

So far at least 19 officials at vice-ministerial level or above have fallen since November last year, including Jiang Jiemin, head of China's state-owned assets watchdog, and Li Dongsheng, formerly a vice minister of public security.

But critics say no systemic measures have been brought in to curb endemic graft.

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