Updated January. 10, 2014 04:16
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended an annual central political and legal work conference held from Tuesday to Wednesday in Beijing, the first Chinese president to do so in 17 years since Jiang Zemin.
President Xi instructed all officials in the legal and political system to eliminate corruption within the system and those who interfere in the judicial process, China`s official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday. He also ordered officials in the political and legal system to "carry the sword of justice and scale of equality" to safeguard social justice and equality. He used the expression "justice and equality" seven times.
Xi`s attendance at the meeting is interpreted as a move to solidify his power. During the annual meeting, which is held at the end or the beginning of a year, all officials at the Central Politics and Law Commission of the Communist Party of China gather together from across the country to review and discuss their work. The commission is a core organization for domestic affairs that overseas public security organs, armed police, the prosecution and the judiciary. The committee`s secretary had long chaired the meeting, while the Chinese president held meetings with major attendees. Therefore, some analysts say that Xi`s attendance at this year`s meeting was aimed at putting the committee under his direct supervision and accelerating his one-man dominance.
The meeting also called a "central" meeting while past ones were named "national" meetings. "Center" refers to the "party center," the apex of the Communist Party of China`s collective leadership. It refers to the Standing Committee of the party`s politburo in a narrow sense but also means the politburo in a broader sense. Therefore, the meeting`s status was elevated from an organ`s level to that of the entire party. Two other Standing Committee members - Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting. The Beijing News reported that the latest meeting was not an internal activity within the legal and political system, adding there were too many public security issues to be addressed by just one organization.
Xi`s order to eliminate those who hinder the judicial process is also creating ripple effects, as it is believed to be directed at Zhou Yongkang, former Standing Committee member who is rumored to be under investigation for corruption. Zhou was the secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission until the 18th party convention in 2012. At the convention, the commission was criticized for having too much power, and its secretary`s position was lowered by one notch to a politburo member.
Meanwhile, the annual central political and legal work conference announced statistics about public security. There were 5.25 million criminal cases reported by law enforcement organizations last year, down 8.8 percent from the previous year. In particular, the number of "mass incidents" including demonstrations decreased significantly. The number of manpower mobilized to suppress demonstrations or maintain order was also the lowest in 20 years, as there were frequent rallies in 1989 including the Tiananmen Square protests.