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China's anti-corruption crusader Wang Qishan has stepped down from party leadership. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

Stiff opposition led to resignation of China's graft-buster Wang

Xi met resistance to reappointing powerful but unpopular official

OKI NAGAI, Nikkei staff writer | China

BEIJING -- China's graft czar is stepping down from the job and from the Communist Party's ruling body after a whirlwind five years, his crackdown on corruption generating opposition too strong even for President Xi Jinping to dispel without risking his political clout.

Throughout Xi's first five years as party chief, it was common knowledge that Wang Qishan, his graft-busting right-hand man, was second in command for all practical purposes. The crusading figure smashed the unwritten rule that former members of the elite Politburo Standing Committee were safe from prosecution, going after such heavyweights as Zhou Yongkang, the former head of China's security services now serving life in prison for corruption.

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