Handover of Power Starts in China with Corruption Warning

Article excerpt

CHINA began a historic power shift today amid warnings that it must purge corruption or risk the fall of the state.

Outgoing president Hu Jintao stressed that political integrity must be championed to ensure the Communist Party's future. He gave the warning in a "state of the nation" address before handing over his post as party chief to anointed successor vice president Xi Jinping.

Addressing more than 2,000 party delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Hu said: "Combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is of great concern to the people, is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the party.

"If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state." His two-hour speech opened a week-long congress that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change in the world's second-largest economy. But the run-up to the carefully choreographed meeting was overshadowed by the corruption scandal involving politician Bo Xilai, once seen as a candidate for top office. …