Calling for combating corruption and promoting political integrity, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Hu Jintao yesterday sounded a caution that failure to handle this major political issue could prove "fatal to the party, even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state."
Hu Jintao, also president of China, said the issue is of great concern to the people and tackling it is a long-term political commitment of the CPC.
He called for enhancing intra-party democracy, reports Xinhua.
The top Chinese leader made the call in a keynote report at 18th national congress of the party.
The congress began yesterday in Beijing with a pledge to further open up China's socialist market economy and to bring reforms and a major leadership change in a decade, reports Reaz Ahmad from the Chinese capital.
The theme of the congress is to "hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory the scientific outlook on development, free up the mind, implement the policy of reform and opening up, pool our strength, overcome all difficulties, firmly march on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects."
As the CPC general secretary ended his 90-minute speech at the opening session of the congress at the Great Hall curtain virtually fell on Hu era.
After ruling China for the past one decade and steering it to become the second biggest economy of the world from the 6th biggest in 10-year time, Hu is now set to leave office.
China faced unprecedented opportunities and challenges, he said, and the nation should "aim higher and work harder".
Hu's speech kicks off the week-long meeting that will see a new set of leaders unveiled, reports BBC.
Vice President Xi Jinping, who is all but set to inherit the CPC leadership's top slot for the next decade, has already been elected general secretary for the 18th congress that set into motion at 9:00am yesterday and ends on November 14.
Some 2,268 delegates representing 82 million party members and for that matter 1.34 billion people of China are set to elect a 370-strong CPC central committee and eventually a 9-member politburo, the core decision-making body of the party founded by Mao Zedong and 12 other revolutionaries back in 1921 in Shanghai.
Leadership changes and bringing in some pro-reform changes in the party charter definitely features prominently in the seven-day congress, but the CPC took graft-tackling as its priority on the agenda for the congress.
Hu's graft caution came at a time when CPC Spokesperson for the 18th congress Cai Mingzhao confirmed to the media on Tuesday evening that a working plan was underway to fight corruption during 2013-17 period.
"The problems of Bo Xilai and Liu Zhijun are serious corruption cases among leading cadres of the party, and the lessons drawn from these are profound," said Cai.
Bo, a CPC politburo member, was stripped of his party membership recently and expelled from public services on suspected crimes of bribery and power abuse.
Liu, ex-railway minister, has been under investigation since February last year when he was removed from office on various allegations.
ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS
Hu said the principle of "one country, two systems," under which Hong Kong and Macao enjoy a high degree of autonomy, must be implemented fully and faithfully.
"We must both adhere to the one-China principle and respect the differences of the two systems, both uphold the power of the central government and ensure a high degree of autonomy in the special administrative regions, both give play to the role of the mainland as the staunch supporter of Hong Kong and Macao and increase their competitiveness," Hu said.