China pushes Marxism for party members to root out wrongdoing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ruling Communist Party has begun a year-long campaign to reassert the importance of Marxism and ensure members’ ideological “consistency” to root out bad behavior, state media reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Since assuming office three years ago, President Xi Jinping has come down hard on deep-rooted corruption and tried to return the party to its traditional values of serving the people selflessly, following a series of graft and extravagance scandals.

Launching the new campaign, Xi said all levels of the party should be instilled with good values, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Wednesday. The report was widely carried in major state newspapers on Thursday.

“Arranging the new study campaign is a step toward expanding intra-Party education from ‘a key few’ to the party members more broadly,” Xi said.

The campaign aims to “consolidate party members’ Marxist positions and ensure that the entire party maintains a high degree of ideological and political consistency with the party’s Central Committee”, he added.

“The campaign will address problems and loopholes in the management of Party organizations and misconduct of members so as to set the bottom line,” Xi said.

“Those that fail to exercise their duties will be overhauled and pushed to correct their problems.”

The party, which controls the country’s legal system, has repeatedly insisted it can tackle China’s corruption problem internally, ruling out establishing any sort of independent graft-fighting body.

The party routinely conducts such ideological campaigns, which typically involved members having to attend study sessions where they listen to speeches and are supposed to pledge themselves to upholding the party’s instructions.

Along with his fight against corruption, Xi has also been reining in overt dissent by party members on key issues.

New discipline rules unveiled last year ban “baseless comments” on major policies.

In November, the government said it would prosecute the former editor-in-chief of the official party publication in the violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang on charges of corruption after he queried ethnic and security policies.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore