context: It is not unknown for carefully worded questions and concerns to be raised about the focus and direction of Beijing’s anti-corruption efforts. In the commentary noted below—authored by what is almost certainly a pseudonym denoting ‘purity’—the centre hits back.

An authoritative People’s Daily commentary from Jiang Jie 姜洁 appeared on the subject of the anti-corruption crusade in the immediate aftermath of Xi Jinping 习近平 CCP General Secretary’s speech. This second commentary is apparently a response to criticisms of the effort to consolidate what Xi referred to as the ‘overwhelming victory’ attained in the struggle against graft.

Jiang states that many people’s first reaction is to shoot down a few ‘tigers’ (high-ranking corrupt officials) and determine how many ‘flies’ (low-ranking corrupt officials) to kill. However, casting anti-corruption efforts as tantamount to seizing corrupt officials is too simplistic, he notes. Jiang argues that if the Party only treats the symptoms but not the root causes, it will fall into a circle of ‘successive corruption’ and ‘more anti-corruption’.

Therefore, Jiang contends, to consolidate and develop the ‘overwhelming victory’ of the anti-corruption struggle, the Party must treat the root causes and pursue a three-pronged strategy that

  • continues to maintain the high-pressure situation of anti-corruption, so as to strengthen deterrence with perseverance through ‘no rest, no relief’
  • upgrades the anti-corruption system and mechanism, deepen reform of discipline inspection, and strengthen oversight of public power to let leading cadres and Party members become accustomed to working in a supervised environment
  • strengthens ideological and political construction and the moral cultivation of cadres to enhance the consciousness of not wanting to be corrupt, recognising that power is the greatest corrosive agent