Graft threatens state, party must stay in charge: China’s Hu
* Says China must strengthen armed forces, protect sea territory
BEIJING: President Hu Jintao warned China’s incoming leaders on Thursday that corruption threatened the ruling Communist Party and the state, but said the party must stay in charge as it battles growing social unrest.
In a state-of-the-nation address to more than 2,000 hand-picked party delegates before he hands over power, Hu acknowledged that public anger over graft and issues like environmental degradation had undermined the party’s support and led to surging numbers of protests. In other comments, he promised political reform but ruled out copying Western-style democracy. He also stressed the need to strengthen the armed forces and protect sea territory amid disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian nations. “Combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is a major political issue of great concern to the people, is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the party,” Hu said.
“If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state. We must thus make unremitting efforts to combat corruption.” Hu was opening a week-long congress at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change in the world’s second-largest economy. reuters