China's Hu says corruption threatens state, promises reform

Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao has warned that corruption threatens the ruling Communist Party and the state. 

But he said the party must stay in charge as it battles growing social unrest. 

He was speaking at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

He also promised political reform, but offered no dramatic changes and ruled out copying a Western style of government.

In an address to more than 2 thousand hand-picked party delegates before he hands over power, Mr Hu acknowledged growing public anger over graft had undermined the party's support and led to surging numbers of protests.

The party has expelled senior regional leader Bo Xilai and accused him of abusing his office, taking huge bribes and other crimes in a dramatic fall from power that has shaken the leadership transition. 

At the congress, which is held every five years, Mr Hu also positioned the world's second-largest economy for a more assertive role as he insisted China should be a maritime power that resolutely protects its interests.

Heading into the 18th party congress, China has been skirmishing with Japan and other Asian neighbours over a slew of territorial disputes.