China 'must heed ancient virtues to fight graft'

BEIJING • China's ruling Communist Party must learn from the traditional virtues which have defined Chinese culture since the ancient times as it tackles corruption, a problem that still hangs "acutely" in front of them, the top graft-buster wrote yesterday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping campaign against graft since assuming the party leadership in 2012 and the presidency in 2013, warning, like others before him, that the issue is so severe it could affect the party's grip on power.

Writing in the party's official People's Daily, Mr Wang Qishan, who is in charge of battling corruption, said the morals and virtues passed down through history were the source of the party's rules on tackling this problem.

"In a series of important speeches, General Secretary Xi Jinping has cited a great number of ancient texts and words from the classics, stressing and lauding the fine traditional culture of the Chinese people, which has meaning in the new era," Mr Wang wrote.

In traditional Chinese culture, morality and law are joined at the hip, rules are observed like rituals and everyone follows them, he said.

The party's rules on fighting corruption and ancient morality can be "traced to the same origin", he wrote, in explaining why the party this week tightened clean-living rules for party members. "In setting and adjusting rules, we must learn from the essence of traditional Chinese culture and move with the times in managing the party in accordance with new situations and new missions," Mr Wang said.

The party listed golf and gluttony as violations for the first time in its newly tightened rules to stop officials from engaging in corrupt practices, while turning an even sterner eye on sexual impropriety.

State media said on Wednesday that senior Chinese army logistics officer Zhou Guotai is being investigated for corruption, the latest military official to be probed in the anti-graft campaign that has seen the fall of high-ranking leaders.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'China 'must heed ancient virtues to fight graft''. Print Edition | Subscribe