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China’s anti-corruption drive is changing the political game

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The moralisation campaign is about more than catching crooked administrators.

Since November 2012, when at the conclusion of the 18th Party Congress Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – and then a few months later President of the Republic – the country’s enduring fight against corruption has undergone a dramatic change of pace.

Xi’s predecessors had also attempted to keep corruption under control, but they mainly targeted low-to-middle level officials. Today instead, the country is witnessing arrests of senior officials almost daily, special teams are auditing one province after another, some officials facing investigation commit suicide, others are forced into early retirement to avoid prosecution.

An unprecedented 36 officials at the viceministerial level or above have already been arrested in the new anti-corruption drive. One result is that fear now grips officialdom, partially paralysing government activity.

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