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Chinese Leader Says Corruption Threatens Rule

Hu Jintao, China's president and general secretary of the Communist Party of China, delivers a speech during the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the party, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing July 1, 2011.

China's leader, Hu Jintao, says corruption within the communist party could undermine public support for the party. Hu issued the warning in a speech to party officials at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The party is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding. The Chinese leader urged the party to continue fast-paced economic development and rigid public security to further the country's development.

Select gathering

The main thrust of President Hu Jintao’s 90-minute long speech was that the Communist Party must adapt to a changing nation and changing world if it is to continue its uncontested rule.

Speaking before a select gathering of the Party’s ruling elite, Hu said without continued fast economic development and social stability, the achievements of the past two decades will be lost.

He warned that acts of corruption by party members who hold political office could cause the public to lose trust. Hu urged the party to strive to eradicate corruption and to create what he described as a "clean government".

High security costs

Government figures released earlier this year indicate some $95 billion is spent on police, jails, state security and other internal security services. That figure exceeds the amount the government says it spends on the military.

Earlier this year, Internet postings in China for a Jasmine-style revolution similar to movements in the Middle East and North Africa were firmly put down by authorities. Chinese security forces have cracked down on dissenting voices, resulting in international condemnation for what is perceived as heavy-handed tactics.

Positive spin

In Beijing and other cities across the nation Friday, the Communist Party was celebrated in pageantry events in schools, offices and in shopping centers.

Like his predecessors, President Hu focused largely on the positive history of the Communist Party in China, ignoring those killed in the 1950s Great Leap Forward, the 1960s Cultural Revolution and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protesters.

The president referenced these pivotal moments in the Party’s history by saying that in the past, it has made mistakes and suffered setbacks. But he says the Party learned from them and today is leading the Chinese to what he says is a victorious future.

He did not mention specifics of any kind of substantive political reform.

Instead, Hu said that after 90 years, there was only one fundamental conclusion - that only the Communist Party can properly govern China.

President Hu is to stand down next year. His expected unelected successor, Vice President Xi Jiping, gave a short speech praising model Party members.