Things are getting 'rotten', Xi Jinping warns party leaders

In a warning to officials of the ruling Communist Party, China's new leader Xi Jinping spoke of rot setting in party's echelons, threatening its six decade hold over the country and reminded them of "cyclical rise and fall of rulers" in Chinese history.

In his first meeting this week with the leaders of eight non-Communist parties permitted to operate in China, Xi quoted an ancient Chinese proverb which stated "things must have gone rotten before insects can grow" while asking his party-men to stay clean and self-disciplined.

Xi, 59, who has been cautioning about the likelihood of party loosing its hold over China due to corruption and complacency, caught the leaders of the eight parties by surprise by recalling a warning by non-communist leader to Mao Zedong in 1945 about rise and fall of dynasties in China.

Xi referred to a conversation between Mao and Huang Yanpei, founder leader of the non-communist China Democratic National Construction Association, in which the latter reminded the Communist strongman about how dynasties fell, falling pray to sluggishness after staying in power for long time, despite diligent and frugal beginning.

In response, Mao, who took over power in China in 1949, replied the CPC had found an escape route - democracy.

Mao said the governments will never be slack at work if they are under the supervision of the people.

That conversation, Xi said, remained relevant today as an "impetus and a warning" to the party, state-run China Daily reported today.

The Communist Party was caught in a host of sex, sleaze and corruption scandals. While one of its disgraced leaders Bo Xilai currently awaited trial over his wife's involvement in the murder of a British businessman, a number of sex scandals involving other leaders rocked the party in recent months.

Foreign media reports also alleged that the family of outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao has amassed over USD 2.7 billion assets, a claim denied by him.

Another report alleged Xi's family itself accumulating millions of dollars worth of assets.

Analysts say Xi's campaign in highlighting corruption is aimed at striking a chord with Chinese people, who is increasingly agitated over issues like corruption and growing wealth gap.

Xi's warning shows that top party leadership is aware of potential risks that challenge its power, as well as the determination to promote supervision and socialist democracy as a way out, said Liu Shanying, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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