In a move to strengthen the government's hold on the law enforcement and judicial officials in China, state media has released a statement, which says that police and judges must be absolutely loyal to the ruling Communist Party.

The party statement – released by the official Xinhua news agency late on Wednesday (18 January) – stated that the country's law and order management officials should have "clear political beliefs, high professionalism, commitment and discipline.

"Judicial and law enforcement professionals should adhere to the rule of law with Chinese characteristics, follow the correct political direction and stay absolutely loyal to the party," it added.

The latest warning from the ruling party comes in the wake of the arrest of former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was given life imprisonment in 2015 for bribery, leaking state secrets and abuse of power. Zhou – who once ran China's fearsome domestic security forces – is the most senior official in China to be trapped in the anti-corruption probe since the ruling Communist Party came to power in 1949.

Although, there was no mention of Zhou in the document released by the state media, it said systems would be established to offer training courses and supervision to guarantee party loyalty.

It added that there would also be stricter regulation so that fraud, abuse of power and other misconduct would be punished.

In December 2016, President Xi Jinping had demanded that the country's colleges and universities must "serve the Communist Party in its management of the country" and added that adherence to the party's leadership "is essential to the development of higher education in the country".