Top Chinese leader terms graft in Shanxi 'like cancer'

Top Chinese leader terms graft in Shanxi 'like cancer'
Vice-Premier Ma Kai.

The serious corruption seems like a cancer in Shanxi, Vice-Premier Ma Kai said at a meeting of Shanxi delegates during the two sessions.

"If we don't clear it up, it will result in poor selection of officials and great harm," he said. "Shanxi is conducting a sweeping anti-corruption drive with historical significance, which is necessary and regarded as a matter of life and death for the Party and nation."

After taking the helm of the Party at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, President Xi Jinping vowed to fight corruption, targeting both "tigers" of high rank and lowly "flies".

Since November 2012, more than 30 Shanxi officials have been placed under investigation for alleged graft. Between February and August 2014 alone, seven provincial-level officials were probed for corruption.

High-ranking officials investigated included Ren Runhou, former vice-governor in Shanxi; Jin Daoming, former vice-head of the Shanxi Provincial People's Congress; and Ling Zhengce, former vice-chairman of the Shanxi provincial political advisory body.

Ling Zhengce is the brother of Ling Jihua, former vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who was taken away by anti-graft officers in December for "serious discipline violations".

The fall of many Shanxi officials in the latest crackdown on corruption has been likened to an "earthquake".

"Shanxi has been a worst-hit area for corruption, and some corruption scandals have been shocking news," Ma said.

"It's wise the central government has been determined to get rid of the cancer of corruption in Shanxi, which is in line with the long-term interests of the Shanxi people," he said.

If Shanxi doesn't have a good political environment, the market order in the province will be disturbed, and this will have a bad impact on economic development.

In recent years, the main driving force for economic development in Shanxi was coal, and during an intense anti-corruption crackdown, many bosses of mining enterprises were probed on suspicion of corruption, which was a heavy blow for the development of the Shanxi economy, he said.

"Shanxi should grasp both combating graft and developing its economy," Ma said.

Wang Rulin, Party chief in Shanxi, said apart from enhanced efforts to fight corruption, attention will be paid to making adjustments to Shanxi's economic structure and researching the use of clean energy over coal.

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