Corruption the biggest danger, says China's premier
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says the biggest danger facing the government is corruption, as the Communist Party struggles to contain the biggest political scandal to hit the country in years.
His comments come after charismatic leader Bo Xilai was sacked as head of Chongqing City and dismissed from the powerful Politburo while his wife was named a suspect in the alleged murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
"We must deeply recognise that the biggest danger facing the ruling party is corruption," Mr Wen said.
"If this problem is not resolved well, then the nature of political power can change and 'those who hold political power may perish'."
The speech played prominently in China's tightly-controlled media and mirrored numerous editorials that have urged the public to rally behind the party following the news of Mr Bo's suspension from the Politburo and the investigation into his wife Gu Kailai for murder.
Xinhua news agency said last week Mrs Gu had been on good terms with Mr Heywood, but fell out over economic interests, leading to the alleged November 15 murder.
The ruling party -- apparently nervous that the repercussions of the case will shatter its carefully crafted appearance of unity -- has tried to put a positive spin on the scandal.
"Recently, the central government decided to start an investigation into serious disciplinary violations by Comrade Bo Xilai," the Chongqing Daily said in a Monday commentary.
"This is a great fortune for the party, for the country and for Chongqing, and deeply suits the party's wishes and the people's wishes."