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FILE PHOTO: New Politburo Standing Committee member Zhao Leji attends a meeting with media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China must win its battle against corruption or face being erased by history, its new top graft buster said in an editorial on Saturday, underscoring the ruling Communist Party's focus on eliminating corrupt behaviour.

Zhao Leji, appointed to the new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee last month and tasked to lead President Xi Jinping's signature war on corruption, wrote in the state-run People's Daily that failure would lead to the party's downfall.

"If our control of the party is not strong and party governance is not strict, then the party won't be able to avoid being erased by history and the historic task the party carries will not be able to be fulfilled," Zhao wrote.

Xi has previously warned that rampant official corruption could weaken the party's grip on power.

Xi's corruption fight has ensnared more than 1.3 million officials. At last month's five-yearly party congress he said it would continue to target both "tigers" and "flies", a reference to elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats.

Zhao, formerly a low-profile official, replaced Wang Qishan, whose sweeping anti-graft campaign had made him China's second most-powerful politician.

"The facts tell us and warn us that the party's position as the top political leader and power is the foundation of our political stability, economic development, national unity and social stability," Zhao wrote.

Zhao leads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) as head of the party's powerful organisation department, which is in charge of personnel.

China has plans for a national supervision law and a new commission next year to oversee the expansion of Xi's graft fight.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan)

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