As the latest phase of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown cuts through high-level banking and the elite nuclear rocket force, some have questioned when it might end.
The short answer: it won’t.
It has become a central plank of the system of governance for China’s leader.
And, because the anti-corruption drive has been used to remove anyone with even the slightest hint of a tendency to divert from his way of doing things, Mr Xi is sometimes characterised as an out-of-control Stalin-like figure purging left, right and centre without good cause.
But there are those who do not see it that way.
“Xi might be paranoid about high-level corruption, but his fear is not delusional,” says Andrew Wedeman, head of China Studies at Georgia State University.
“The corruption he fears is certainly real. It is likely also true, of course, that Mr Xi has capitalised on the crackdown to gain political advantage”.
Under Chairman Mao, the philosophy was that corruption could be controlled by fostering a love of the Party.
Then, during the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin eras, the idea took hold that, if you gave people a better living, they’d have less motivation to act corruptly.
By the time Hu Jintao was in change, most Chinese people had a much better life but there were those who wanted more and were prepared to use unscrupulous means to get it, again boosting fraud on a widespread scale.
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