Updated: 01/15/2014 00:24 | By Agence France-Presse

China's Xi vows to root out 'dirty' corruption

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promised a no-holds barred anti-corruption crusade, warning ruling Communist Party officials that "all dirty hands will be caught", state media reported.

China's Xi vows to root out 'dirty' corruption

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 14, 2013

Xi has taken a much-publicised hard line against graft since coming to power a little over one year ago, stressing that corruption could destroy the party.

Echoing similar sentiments on Tuesday, Xi vowed zero tolerance of graft and promised to punish every corrupt official caught.

"Preventing the Party from being corrupted in its long-term rule of the country is a major political mission. And we must do it right," Xi told a plenary session of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, according to Xinhua news agency.

"Every (Communist Party) official should keep in mind that all dirty hands will be caught."

The Communist Party punished more than 182,000 officials last year in its high-profile anti-corruption campaign, authorities said last week.

Anti-graft authorities across the country last year received more than 1.95 million allegations of corruption and agreed to investigate 172,532 cases, according to a senior official.

As a result, he said a total of 182,038 officials were given disciplinary punishment, which can range from a mere warning to expulsion from the Party or worse.

In Tuesday's speech, Xi urged increased efforts to bolster "independent and authoritative supervisory" powers of disciplinary agencies.

"Do not let regulations become 'paper tigers' or 'scarecrows'," he said.

Graft causes widespread public anger and Xi has pledged to stamp down on high-ranking officials, or "tigers", along with low-level "flies" to maintain the purity of the organisation.

At the same time he has mounted an austerity drive, with a range of measures including limits on banquets and bans on gift-giving.

So far at least 19 officials at vice-ministerial level or above have fallen since November last year, including Jiang Jiemin, head of China's state-owned assets watchdog, and Li Dongsheng, formerly a vice minister of public security.

But critics say no systemic measures have been brought in to curb endemic graft.

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