A trademark of Xi Jinping’s governing style is his determination to combat corruption with an iron fist, regardless of the status of the perpetrator. As early as 1988 in Ningde, Fujian Province, Xi led a successful drive to end illegal land occupation.
Xi Jinping was the Party chief of the CPC Ningde Prefectural Committee from 1988 to 1990, despite being the youngest member on the committee.
Shortly after taking office, Xi spent a month in villages, companies, schools and government departments to conduct surveys. People told him that some officials illegally used public land to build their own houses. Xi was determined to stop the illegal land occupation. He led a team on the first steps of an anti-corruption drive in Ningde.
Xi commented on this when interviewed in 2003:
Xi Jinping: I asked an official of the discipline commission
“Do you think ordinary people are happy with the situation?
Are the masses happy with it?”
He said of course not.
I asked: “Isn't it harming people's productivity?”
He said, “yes.”
Then I asked if we should upset about three million people or thousands of officials who violated the Party's discipline.
He said, of course we would rather offend the two or three thousand officials.
I replied, we shall do this, and strive for it without turning back.”