Chinese President Xi Jinping has told officials not to use his signature anti-corruption campaign as an excuse to slack off and avoid difficult decisions, according to Chinese state media.
Speaking at a meeting of senior party leaders Tuesday, Xi said local officials had to take the hard decisions and “hot potatoes,” while remaining “incorruptible, responsible and hard-working.”
“Officials should carry out the standards for cadres in the new era … Ensure that they are not doing useless work, are not idle, doing nothing but eating all day, and are not being inattentive and lazy,” Xi said, according to state-run media outlet Xinhua.
After taking power in November 2012, Xi rapidly implemented a wide-reaching anti-corruption campaign that was reported to be targeting “tigers and flies,” a metaphor for both the powerful and the weak.
More than 1 million Chinese government officials have been punished since the campaign began, according to Chinese state media.
But there have been reports that the campaign, while effective in many respects, has left some provincial and municipal leaders nervous of taking risks for fear of falling foul of the powerful National Supervisory Commission, the body overseeing the anti-corruption campaign.
But Xi has made it clear he won’t tolerate officials using the campaign to avoid taking risks.
“Officials should (not) use anti-corruption campaigns as an excuse for shirking responsibilities or refusing to perform duties. (They) should have the courage to take the burden, to chew on hard bones,” Xi said at the meeting, which was attended by top Communist Party officials.
Since coming to power in 2012, the Chinese leader has made it a priority to place the Communist Party at the center of all aspects of the country’s government and economy.
Tuesday’s meeting was just one in a series of “party building” exercises currently underway as the government prepared for an important anniversary on October 1, when the country will celebrate the 70 years of the People’s Republic of China.
CNN’s Ying Xiong and Don Giolzetti contributed to this write.