President Hu Jintao has asked officials at all levels to be industrious and thrifty to cope with the economic downturn, and accord priority to what people need.
"Under the current situation, maintaining (the practice of) hard work and frugality makes practical sense," he said in a keynote speech at a plenary session of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) top anti-corruption body yesterday.
Austerity should be practiced in all fields and officials should be honest and practical, he told the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
"Officials must see the facts and tell the truth. They must do practical work and produce actual results."
The "interest of the people" should be the priority of all official work, he said, and urged government and CPC officials to act in conformity with people's needs to ease their worries.
Though the fight against corruption has been successful so far, "the anti-corruption drive is still a long, complicated and arduous task", he said.
In the fight against graft, punishment and prevention should be given equal importance and "symptoms and root causes addressed simultaneously", Hu said.
He asked discipline inspectors to be "conscientious" while performing their duty and to deal seriously with corruption cases that hurt public interest. "Supervision on officials should be strengthened to ensure the proper use of power," he said.
Hu's remarks once again show the CPC's determination to root out corruption, experts said. "They show the focus of this year's anti-corruption work is still 'problems of people's livelihood'," said Li Chengyan, head of Peking University's Clean Government Research Center.
In April, the CPC announced a five-year plan to fight corruption, saying that "problems of people's livelihood" would be the focus of future campaigns, Li said. Such problems usually occur in the business, education, healthcare and construction sectors.
The president dealt with other concerns arising out of the global financial crisis, too, Li said. "Given a weakening economy and lower tax revenue, it's necessary to care more about the people and cut unnecessary government expense."
The Shanghai municipal, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Henan provincial and some other local governments have decided to cut their operational costs this year. For example, the Guangdong provincial government has promised a "zero increase" in the purchase of cars, conferences and receptions, as well as officials' overseas inspection tours.