China's sweeping anti-corruption drive won't end anytime soon, with the mainland's President Xi Jinping aiming to permanently restore the communist party's legitimacy and power base, two-time Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told CNBC.
"It's not just a one off [where there] is a massive anti-corruption campaign and then everything goes back to normal," Rudd, who is also the president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, said. "What they're seeking to do is to entrench the anti-corruption machinery into the normal workings of the Chinese state and party."
The drive has been sweeping, touching corporate executives, the military and even senior party officials, fulfilling Xi's vow to root out graft among "tigers and flies" -- or at every level. The campaign has gone so far as to try to search for assets that may be hidden offshore and has been blamed for a sharp drop in Macau gambling and luxury sales as officials and others try to avoid looking like high-rollers or big spenders.
"As a long standing China analyst going back 35 years, I'm surprised by how intense it's been, how comprehensive it's been and how long it's gone on," Rudd said. "It is frankly going from top to bottom, across the country. "
Xi's power play
Rudd believes the drive is essential to Xi's efforts to maintain the party's legitimacy.