China's top graft buster attacks 'unhealthy' political culture
FILE PHOTO: China's Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, the head of China's anti-corruption watchdog, stands next to a Chinese flag during a medal ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, for World War Two veterans, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top graft-buster launched a scathing attack on the ruling Communist Party's members on Monday, writing that party political culture remained "unhealthy" and governance weak even after five years of renewed effort to fight the problem.
The comments by Wang Qishan, who runs the party's anti-corruption watchdog, came after sources said a senior official who was considered a contender for promotion at autumn's key party congress is being investigated for "discipline violations".
Wang said the routine anti-graft inspections that have begun since President Xi Jinping took office five years ago always discovered the same problems.
"All of the issues discovered during the inspections reflect the weakening of party leadership, shortcomings in party building and insufficient efforts to strictly enforce party discipline," Wang wrote in the party's official People's Daily.
"Party concepts are faint, organisation is lax and discipline flabby. The root is in the party's internal political life being not serious and unhealthy," he said.
Xi's crackdown on corruption has seen dozens of senior officials jailed, reaching right into the upper echelons of the party. Xi has warned, like others before him, that the problem is so serious it could affect the party's grip on power.
The party has declared that its campaign against corruption will never end.
The crackdown has not just been focused on issues like bribery and using public money to fund lavish lifestyles. It has also taken aim at those whose political loyalty is found lacking or who express doubt in public about party policies.
Wang said some party members practised "political nihilism", casting aside their beliefs, while others were guilty of "phoney politics", seeing the word of the leadership as nothing more than slogans.
The party has long said it alone can deal with corruption, dismissing any calls for an independent body separate from the party to tackle the issue.
"If you leave the leadership of the party, inspections cannot play such an important role and achieve such obvious results," Wang wrote.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)
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