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Published: Tuesday January 14, 2014 MYT 8:35:01 PM
Updated: Tuesday January 14, 2014 MYT 9:59:18 PM

China's Xi warns of grim fight against corruption

China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday the fight against corruption was grim and complicated but nevertheless, it had to be solved quickly with "drastic medicine".

Xi, in lengthy remarks to the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog, echoed comments he has made before and stressed the importance he has placed on tackling official abuse, which is a major source of public discontent.

Xi has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme since becoming president last March and has warned, like others before him, that corruption threatens the party's survival.

"Xi Jinping stressed that while we affirm our achievements, we must also see that the fertile ground for corruption still exists," state broadcaster CCTV said.

"The anti-corruption situation remains grim and complicated, the unhealthy influence of the corruption problem is malignant and needs to be solved quickly," CCTV cited Xi as saying.

Xi said the party must "continue to beat the tigers and flies together" - meaning both high-flying politicians and lowly bureaucrats - to tackle corruption and "take drastic medicine to cure its ills".

Xi urged improving channels for people to report on graft and strengthening supervision and transparency.

China hailed its crackdown on corruption last week, saying "new progress and achievements" had led to a 13.3 percent increase in the number of people punished last year. But critics argue that lasting results are unlikely without meaningful reform.

China has detained at least 16 activists who have called for officials to disclose their assets, according to rights groups, which say the detentions underscore the limits of the government's fight against corruption.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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