Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is demanding tougher anti-corruption efforts amid a huge political scandal over a now-suspended Politburo member whose wife has been named a suspect in the murder of a British businessman.
Wen's message, published today, differed little from previous calls to fight endemic corruption. But it comes amid a nationwide drive to support the Communist Party's decision to oust Bo Xilai from key positions and launch an investigation into what are described as serious breaches in discipline.
Media reports have raised questions about whether he tried to abuse his power to quash the investigation into his wife, Gu Kailai. Gu and a household employee are being investigated over the suspected murder of the Briton Neil Heywood.
There also have been strong suspicions that Bo, 62, grew fabulously wealthy through his ability to approve investments and make political appointments, although he has not been directly accused of any graft.
Wen wrote in an essay published in the party's main theoretical journal, Qiushi, that despite a series of measures enacted to curb corruption, greater determination and more effective anti-corruption tools are still needed.
Greater transparency and a reduction in the concentration of powers among some government departments is also needed to allow effective citizen supervision, Wen said.
"We need to deeply acknowledge that the greatest threat to the ruling party is corruption," Wen wrote.
Wen did not mention Bo by name or refer to the case directly. However, Wen has been the only top official to speak publicly about the matter, saying at his annual news conference last month that Chongqing officials need to understand its seriousness and put their house in order.
Also today, party newspaper Guangming Daily published the latest in a series of state media editorials calling on readers to support action against Bo and his wife and not to believe speculation that the politician's sidelining is linked to infighting among top leaders.
"Handling the serious breach of discipline is a measures embraced by the whole of the party and so-called 'inner-party conflict' has nothing to do with it," the editorial said.
First Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, 23:04