Police in central China detained a former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official on suspicion of raping under-age girls, state media said yesterday.
The move followed an online uproar about the latest case of abuse of power.
Li Xingong (李新功), who was the party’s deputy head in Yongcheng City, Henan Province, is accused of assaulting more than 10 girls during police interrogations, Xinhua news agency reported.
City authorities have “ordered swift and severe punishment on the suspect in accordance with relevant laws,” it added.
The case has been widely discussed on Chinese microblogging sites, after reports about the rapes naming him as the perpetrator began circulating online over the past week.
“Officials these days are all like this. It’s really terrible,” one Weibo user wrote.
“These dog officials are everywhere. Only execution will sate the public’s anger,” wrote another.
While the government has encouraged people to take to the Internet to expose corruption and abuse of power, especially at the grassroots level, it generally keeps a tight rein on what can be said about similar problems with more senior officials.
After briefly allowing free discussion online following March’s sacking of former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai (薄熙來) and the naming of his wife as a suspect in the murder of a British businessman, censors moved to block the topic.
The CCP has long pushed to eradicate corruption, underscoring a broader fear that, if left unchecked, the problem could hurt the legitimacy of one-party rule and maybe even threaten its survival.