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As President Xi Jinping firms up his hold over China’s ruling Communist Party with his anti-graft campaign, his backers say Xi’s drive netting over a million corrupt officials is necessary to prevent the party meeting a similar fate as the Soviet Union which collapsed in 1991. The Soviet collapse teaches Communist Party of China (CPC) lessons in party leadership, said a report in the state-run “Global Times” Tuesday, highlighting the importance of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign in which 1.01 million party officials have been punished in the last three years.
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The anti-graft campaign and the party discipline have become buzzword as the CPC started a four-day key meeting here Monday to discuss major issues regarding strict party governance.
Two documents – one on the norms of political life within the party under the new situation and a revision to an intra-party supervision regulation – will be reviewed at the plenary meeting, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Speculation is rife that the meeting plans to change 1981 rule brought in by the party to stick to collective leadership to avoid concentration of powers in one individual.
The meeting has come ahead of the next year’s party congress at the end of the completion of five years of Xi’s tenure as leader of the party, military and the presidency.
Ahead of the meeting, 63-year-old Xi was compared with party founder Mao Zedong amid rumours that the plenum is also set to amend the 10 year tenure rule for the leaders to allow Xi to continue beyond 2022.
The CPC is implementing the anti-corruption campaign and intensifying party disciplines as it learns lessons from the collapse of the former Soviet Union (USSR), the report said.
Many Chinese leaders have frequently referenced the ex-USSR and called on the CPC to learn from its historical experience.
For example, during the second plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in February 2013, Xi had said the breakdown in party disciplines led to the downfall of the former USSR’s 20 million-strong Communist Party, the daily report said.
If party members did and said whatever they wanted, the party would turn into a mob, Xi had said.
“The CPC resolved to learn lessons from the Soviet collapse – from anti-corruption efforts to reforming the use of government vehicles – especially after the 18th National Congress of the CPC held in 2012. The purpose is to intensify Party discipline,” Su Wei, a professor at the Chongqing Committee Party School, told the Global Times.
Su said that the privileges enjoyed by some members of the USSR’s Communist Party, including extravagant overseas vacations, went far beyond the law and party constitution, thereby triggering strong public dissatisfaction.
Apart from stressing the importance of discipline among its members, the CPC has also set up an accountability system to intensify intra-party supervision, Su said.
The collapse of the USSR ruled by the Soviet Communist Party has become a major lesson taught in CPC schools across the country to avert decisions that lead to fall.
Sun Yeli, deputy director of the Party Literature Research Office under the CPC Central Committee, was quoted as saying Xi’s concerns over the fall of the Soviet Union also reminded all party members to behave and maintain their advanced nature in today’s complicated times.
Su said the bureaucracy in the late Joseph Stalin’s administration, including the appointment system and planned economy, were alienated from the public and damaged people’s interests.
“The CPC aims to perfect the rule of law by developing intra-Party democracy as well as socialist democracy,” Su said.