China media: Zhou Yongkang's arrest

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang has been expelled from the Communist Party Image copyright AP
Image caption Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang has been expelled from the Communist Party

Papers say the arrest of China's former security chief reflects the ruling Communist Party's commitment to fight corruption.

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang was arrested and expelled from the Communist Party on Friday.

Mr Zhou is the most senior official to be arrested in China's anti-graft campaign. He was the head of China's vast internal security apparatus before he retired two years ago.

Many of his former associates and relatives also face corruption probes.

The official Xinhua News Agency says "all officials and the public" back the party's decision to expel Mr Zhou.

The report, which has been reprinted by the People's Liberation Army Daily, says Mr Zhou's arrest reflects President Xi Jinping's "courage" to punish corrupt officials regardless of their rank and power.

"The case serves as a very good warning to the rest of the officials," the news agency says.

The case has "greatly touched the grassroots leaders" who will "reflect on the case… and ensure they abide by the rule of law", the article quotes a county secretary from Shanxi province as saying.

The daily says that "the whole military and para-military police" have supported the party's decision.

"The announcement was well-received by all the officers and soldiers… All agree that the move indicates clear direction from the central party… it has deeply won the hearts of the party, the military and the people," it adds

The China Daily says that the arrest has shocked many people and the public had "obviously underestimated the strong will of the party's leadership in its fight against corruption".

The paper also warns aspiring officials, asking them not to underestimate the party's resolution to deal with "elements that threatens the party's legitimacy to rule".

"Mr Zhou's arrest should deal a heavy blow to any middle-level and lower-level officials who are still cherishing the dream of making a fortune by abusing their power, as many of them still harbour the belief that the anti-graft campaign will not last forever," it states.

Meanwhile, the Global Times plays down concerns that other high-ranking corrupt officials may join hands to launch a "counter-attack" that could "destabilise Chinese society".

"The facts tell us that notwithstanding how powerful these officials once were, their influence collapses in an instant when they are caught. Joint counterattacks by corrupt officials are just a distant dream," the paper says.

'Dangerous corruption'

Echoing similar sentiments, Peking University's anti-graft expert, Zhuang Deshui, tells the South China Morning Post that Mr Zhou's former allies want to "sever all connections" with him.

According to the pundit, Mr Zhou's case is "the most dangerous form of corruption as it involves acts committed by cliques or factions rather than just an individual".

"These kind of cliques often hold some political power and social influence. They could totally take advantage of economic and political resources to put the government under their control and affect the policymaking process. Once these cliques develop, they will endanger the regime," the expert says.

Meanwhile, several Chinese law experts are calling for an enhanced legal system to prevent corruption, Xinhua reports.

Wang Shiqing, who heads a law firm, says that Mr Zhou's case occurred because "the legal system in the country was not yet perfect".

He observes that "a small number of high-ranking officials are not administering their power according to law" and it is "an urgent task to raise the awareness of law among these officials".

'Heavy punch'

And finally, papers criticise the Philippines for seeking international arbitration over the South China Sea issue.

Beijing says it will not participate in the international lawsuit with Manila over jurisdiction in the disputed waters where both countries have overlapping claims.

Beijing released a "Position Paper" on Sunday, a week before the arbitration court's 15 December deadline for China to respond to the case.

Criticising the Philippines for "ignoring the opposition from China", a front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily describes Beijing's move as a "heavy punch in diplomacy".

"The action of seeking international arbitration has revealed the vicious intentions of Manila to hurt Beijing's sovereignty rights. If China responds to the case, it will fall into its trap as it will mean that Beijing accepts such resolution method," it says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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