Xi Jinping’s Pure Party

While the Chinese authorities' efforts to root out corruption within the Communist Party are a welcome development, the Party itself is part of the problem. The true test of change will be whether the Party is prepared to subordinate itself to new, inclusive institutional arrangements that are conducive to comprehensive economic reform.

LONDON – China’s annual growth rate has recently increased from below 6% at the start of 2014 to around 7.5% in the second quarter, helped by a series of stealth stimulus measures. But the growth spurt is unlikely to last – and may reverse – as China seeks to control excessive credit expansion. And achieving longer-term sustainable growth will also depend on political factors – particularly the impact of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, aimed at “purifying” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Xi’s campaign is being carried out on a scale rarely witnessed in China’s recent history. So far, some 45 senior CCP officials, or “tigers,” have been disciplined or are under investigation. Aside from former Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai, who is now serving a life sentence, Zhou Yongkang, a former head of internal security and member of the Politburo Standing Committee, and General Xu Caihou, a former vice president of China’s Military Commission, have also been targeted.

More high-profile heads almost certainly will roll. The CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, whose secretary, Wang Qishan, is a Xi ally, is now investigating former President Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai network, whose protégés include Bo, Zhou, Xu, his successor Hu Jintao, and Xi himself. Corruption charges have already been brought against people close to Jiang and Hu.

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