Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), vowed to unswervingly fight against corruption and keep power reined within the cage of regulations.
During a CPC disciplinary watchdog meeting on Tuesday, as Xi ordered enhanced restraint and supervision on the use of power, he said, "Power should be restricted by the cage of regulations."
A disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanism should be set up to ensure that people do not dare to, are not able to and can not easily commit corruption, Xi said.
Xi asked for efforts to strengthen national anti-corruption legislation and relevant intra-Party regulations to ensure national organs exercise their power within the boundary of laws.
Xi made the remarks during a speech at a plenary meeting of the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
Xi said "the mainstream of our cadres and Party members is good. But we should soberly recognize that corruption is still prone to occur or happen quite frequently in certain areas."
He added that some major law violation cases have had a negative impact and the anti-corruption situation is still severe.
He stressed that the fight against corruption is a long-term, complicated and arduous task. Anti-corruption efforts must be consistent and will never slacken.
"We must have the resolve to fight every corrupt phenomenon, punish every corrupt official and constantly eliminate the soil which breeds corruption, so as to earn people's trust with actual results," he said.
Xi also stressed in his speech to fight corruption in a comprehensive way, address both its symptoms and root cause and combine punishment with prevention, with the emphasis on prevention.
He urged those who attended the meeting to unswervingly push forward the building of clean governance and the anti-corruption war.
"We must not relax the use of penalties if we want to rule Party members strictly," he said.
Xi said the Party should crack down on "tigers" and "flies" at the same time by dealing with illegal activities of officials on the one hand and tackling malpractices and corruption cases, which closely impact the people, on the other.
"No exception will be made when it comes to Party disciplines and law," Xi said. "Cases will be investigated completely and no leniency will be meted out no matter who is involved."
He continued, "Party cadres at various levels should keep in mind that no one can enjoy absolute power outside of the law."
Anyone who exercises power should serve the people, be accountable to the people and consciously accept supervision by the people, Xi said.
The general secretary called for efforts to enhance supervision of chief leaders, earnestly implement democratic centralism, and improve the mechanism of publicizing governing activities so as to ensure high-ranking officials do not abuse their powers for personal gain.
A fight against privilege should be waged in combating corruption and building a clean government, Xi said.
He urged the Party to adopt effective measures to curb privilege among its members as it is crucial for the Party to keep its vitality.
PARTY DISCIPLINE & WORK STYLE
Xi stressed all Party organs and members should strictly enforce Party discipline, abide by its Constitution, and implement the Party's theories, line, principles and policies.
He urged them to maintain a high degree of unity with the Central Committee and willingly uphold the authority of the central authorities.
Efforts should be made to prevent and overcome selfish localism and departmentalism, and nobody or no department should be allowed to disregard policies introduced by the Central Committee, he said.
He said the Party will never tolerate any compromise made by officials or departments in carrying out decisions of the Central Committee.
Calling for work style-improving efforts among Party members, Xi said, "Those undesirable practices, if unaddressed, will evolve to be an invisible wall that separates the Party from the people, thus leaving the Party without root, lifeblood and power."
The carrying out of "eight-point" bureaucracy and formalism-fighting guidelines, introduced by the December 4 meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, is only "the first step" in the Party's efforts to improve work style, he said.
Xi said all Party organs and members should be frugal and make determined efforts to oppose ostentation and reject hedonism and extravagance.
Greater efforts should be made to promote the traditional ideas of "honor to frugality and shame to extravagance" among all Party members, according to Xi.
ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT NO EMPTY TALK
The CPC's resolve and distinct attitude on handling serious rule-breaking among some of its cadres, including high-ranking officials, showed it is "absolutely no empty talk" that one will be severely punished for law or Party discipline violations no matter how high a person's official ranking is, Xi said.
He vowed "no exception" when it comes to Party disciplines and law.
A total of 4,698 county-level cadres or higher-level cadres were punished by the CPC's discipline watchdogs in 2012 and 961 cadres at the county-level or above have been transferred to judicial organs, CCDI figures show.
Among them are Liu Zhijun, former minister of railways, Huang Sheng, former vice governor of east China's Shandong Province, and Tian Xueren, former vice governor of northeast China's Jilin Province. Their cases have been transferred to judicial organs.
Another two high-ranking provincial-level officials are under investigation for alleged discipline violations.
Zhou Zhenhong, a former Standing Committee member of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the provincial Party committee, was removed from office for suspected "serious discipline violations" in January last year.
Li Chuncheng was removed from the position of deputy secretary of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee for suspected "serious discipline violations" in December last year.
Nearly 73,000 people were punished for corruption or dereliction of duty in 2012.
Wang Qishan, secretary of the CCDI and also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, presided over Tuesday's meeting and delivered a work report on behalf of CCDI standing committee.
Wang urged Party members to strictly abide by political discipline, maintain the Party's unity, make efforts to improve their working style, and severely punish corruption in accordance with relevant rules and laws.
The CCDI's plenary session opened on Monday.