China's Xi urges officials to 'sweat' corruption out of system

BEIJING Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:57am EDT

China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping urged rural officials on Tuesday to make "spicy" efforts to "sweat" corruption out of their systems, state news agency Xinhua reported, as he pressed on with his campaign to crack down on deep-rooted graft.

"The weapons of criticism and self-criticism should be well-wielded, with some spice to make every party official blush and sweat a little," Xi said during a visit to a rural area in central China's Henan province called Lankao, Xinhua said.

Each member of the ruling Communist Party's elite inner core, the Politburo Standing Committee, has been allocated a county where they oversee anti-graft efforts, and Xi has been given Lankao, Xinhua said.

"Party officials are required to check and report their own problems and mistakes while summarizing the flaws of their colleagues to disciplinary supervisors," Xinhua said.

Xi said rural areas were crucial to the party, as development can only happen with the good quality and competence of officials there.

He also urged officials to "reduce unnecessary social activities and keep healthy work and life styles".

Xi launched a crackdown on corruption soon after becoming the party's head in late 2012, seeking to win back public confidence in the face of a seemingly endless stream of scandals.

The party has sought to curtail everything from bribery and gift-giving to lavish banquets, aiming to assuage public anger over graft and extravagance by some officials.

However, the party has shown no sign of wanting to set up an independent body to fight graft, and it has not gone after any really senior officials.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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