Chinese courts have tried more than 100 top officials in corruption cases in five years, the country’s top judge said on Friday, as President Xi Jinping pursues a relentless anti-graft campaign.

Government corruption is rampant in China, and Xi has presided over a much-publicised drive against crooked party officials since coming to power in 2012, which some have compared to a political purge.

Zhou Qiang
Zhou Qiang. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

“We have maintained a strong pressure on perpetrators of corruption,” Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court, said in a speech to some 3,000 parliamentarians gathered in Beijing for the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Chinese parliament.

A total of 195,000 corruption and bribery cases involving 263,000 people were heard between 2013 and 2017.

Of these, 101 were officials at or above the rank of minister or head of province, he said.

These include former security czar Zhou Yongkang and former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, a potential rival to Xi.

Zhou did not say how many of the defendants had been found guilty.

xi jinping
Xi Jinping. Photo: CGTN screenshot.

Xi promised during a party congress in October 2017 to intensify the graft crackdown which has so far punished more than 1.5 million party officials at various levels — including top military leadership.

Corruption has long been an intractable problem for the country, and the vast majority of Chinese citizens welcomes the move.

But many experts argue that the campaign also has the hallmarks of a political purge as the Chinese president consolidates his power.

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