Xi tells leaders to 'supervise family'

Former domestic chief Zhou Yongkang (above) and former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai were among the top officials who had been taken down in the anti-graft campaign.
Former domestic chief Zhou Yongkang (above) and former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai were among the top officials who had been taken down in the anti-graft campaign.
Former domestic chief Zhou Yongkang (above) and former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai were among the top officials who had been taken down in the anti-graft campaign.
Former domestic chief Zhou Yongkang and former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai were among the top officials who had been taken down in the anti-graft campaign.

Chinese President exhorts them to rectify family members' problems in timely manner

BEIJING • Senior Chinese leaders need to "strictly educate and supervise" their children and family members and not rest on their laurels amid an ongoing fight against corruption, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of an elite Communist Party body.

Since assuming power three years ago, Mr Xi has embarked on a sweeping campaign against deep- seated graft, warning, like others before him, that the party's very survival was at risk.

Dozens of top officials have been taken down, including the powerful former domestic chief Zhou Yongkang, two retired senior military officers, Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, a one-time aide to retired president Hu Jintao called Ling Jihua, and Bo Xilai, who was party boss in the metropolis of Chongqing.

Speaking to the Politburo, a 25-member body one rung below the Standing Committee, where real power lies, Mr Xi said its members had to avoid a "sense of superiority regarding their power or status".

In comments carried by Xinhua news agency late on Tuesday, Mr Xi urged Politburo members to "strictly educate and supervise their children and other family members as well as subordinates, and to rectify their problems in a timely manner".

The Politburo also had to learn the lessons of Zhou, Xu, Guo, Ling and Bo, he said.

"By seriously investigating their misconduct and punishing them accordingly, the party honours its responsibility to itself, to the country, the people, and history," Mr Xi said, according to state media.

"The party spirit does not grow with age - rather, it requires members to constantly improve and temper themselves."

Family members are frequently implicated in political scandals in China. Bo's wife was jailed for murdering a British businessman, while several family members of Guo, Zhou and Ling have all been implicated in their corruption cases.

Xi said Politburo members should also stay away from vulgar tastes and set good examples for others. "They must hold the idea of serving the people wholeheartedly, always think about the state and the people, and devote themselves to the cause of the party and the people," Mr Xi said.

Chinese officials are not required to disclose their wealth or that of their close relatives, in what critics say is a barrier to Mr Xi's anti-graft campaign.

Mr Xi has relied on internal party agencies to oversee the crackdown, while more than a dozen activists have been jailed for taking out protests demanding that officials be made to declare their assets.

Bloomberg News in a 2012 report cited records showing that Mr Xi's family owned assets worth several hundred million dollars. China responded by blocking the company's website.

The report did not allege wrongdoing by Mr Xi, whom it cited as saying in a 2004 anti-graft conference call: "Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff." The New York Times reported that former premier Wen Jiabao's family had controlled assets worth US$2.7 billion (S$4 billion). China called the report a smear.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2015, with the headline 'Xi tells leaders to 'supervise family''. Print Edition | Subscribe