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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Chinese president denounces graft
Chinese president
President Hu Jintao is keen to stamp out graft
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called on members of the ruling Communist Party to put a stop to corruption.

"We cannot slack off for one moment," he said in a speech to mark the 85th anniversary of the party's founding.

"Anti-corruption and building a clean government are an important strategic mission," he said.

Mr Hu's address came a day after the government announced that a deputy commander of China's navy had been sacked for taking bribes.

According to official documents, an unmarried young woman reported Wang Shouye's activities and admitted an "improper relationship" with him.

Last year, the Chinese authorities investigated nearly 8,500 government officials for corruption, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua. Nearly 2,000 of these people were subsequently convicted.

Corruption 'rampant'

Mr Hu told a ceremony in Beijing on Friday that getting rid of corruption was an important mission for the Communist Party.

"Corruption is still rampant in some fields, as cases of cadres abusing power for personal gains are frequently reported," Mr Hu said.

Mr Hu said China's ruling party faced "profound international changes" and "deepening domestic reforms".

China's top leaders have repeatedly warned that the problem is undermining their authority, as poorly paid officials abuse their positions of power to make money.

"If a ruling party cannot maintain flesh and blood ties with the people, if it loses the people's support, it will lose its vitality," Mr Hu said.

China's National People's Congress
Wang asked to be removed as a Chinese legislator
Several senior officials have recently been accused of corruption.

Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Zhihua was sacked earlier this month, after being accused of corruption and bad morals. He had been in charge of construction projects for the 2008 Olympics.

Wang Shouye, 62, became the latest target of the anti-corruption drive.

Xinhua announced on Thursday that he had been sacked as deputy commander of the navy and expelled from the national legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC).

According to documents submitted to the NPC, he was removed from office on account of his "loose morals", and the fact he abused his power to ask for and take bribes.

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