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China’s new leader warns against spread of corruption

BEIJING — In his first speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s elite Politburo, Xi Jinping, the new party chief, denounced the prevalence of corruption and said officials must guard against its spread or it would ‘‘doom the party and the state.’’

The remarks were made Saturday at a meeting of the 25-person Politburo, which announced a turnover of 15 members last week at the close of the 18th Party Congress, the state news media reported Monday.

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Xi’s admonitions echoed points he made in his inaugural speech Thursday. Xi appears to want to take a populist tack in shaping his image and to push an anticorruption drive as one of the first visible acts in his new post.

‘‘In recent years, the long pent-up problems in some countries have led to the venting of public outrage, to social turmoil, and to the fall of governments, and corruption and graft have been an important reason,’’ Xi said, according to a version of the speech posted online. ‘‘A mass of facts tells us that if corruption becomes increasingly serious, it will inevitably doom the party and the state. We must be vigilant.”

Xi also took the occasion to underscore the need to remain true to the party’s founding ideology, and warned that some officials appeared to be heading down a wayward path.

‘‘Faith in Marxism and a belief in socialism and communism is the political soul of a communist and the spiritual pillar that allows a communist to withstand any test,’’ Xi said.

Pu Zhiqiang, a rights lawyer, pointed out that ‘‘every generation of leaders has mentioned’’ corruption.

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