Mon, Sep 02, 2013 - Page 4 News List

China investigates assets supervisor

AFP, BEIJING

A high-ranking Chinese official who oversees state-owned firms is being probed for “serious disciplinary violations,” official media reported yesterday, as the country’s new leaders intensify a clampdown on corruption.

The investigation of Jiang Jiemin (蔣潔敏) follows several graft cases against top officials and the dramatic trial of fallen Chinese Communist Party heavyweight Bo Xilai (薄熙來) for alleged bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

In a brief dispatch, Xinhua news agency said Jiang “is being investigated over suspected serious disciplinary violations,” a euphemism for corruption by officials. It said it obtained the information about Jiang, head of the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, from the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The commission is the party’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Xinhua did not immediately provide other details.

Jiang has a seat on the party’s Central Committee, which has more than 200 members. The State Council is China’s Cabinet.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who took office in March, has vowed to oust corrupt officials all the way from low-level “flies” to high-ranking “tigers” amid fears graft could threaten the party’s hold on power.

News of the investigation into Jiang comes as state media last month reported that the party had expelled one of its highest-ranking officials to come under suspicion for graft.

Former top economic policymaker Liu Tienan (劉鐵男) “took advantage of his position to seek profits for others” and was “morally degenerate,” Xinhua reported, citing the party discipline inspection commission.

Liu, once the deputy director of the influential National Development and Reform Commission, lost his party and government posts.

Expulsion from the party is normally a precursor to criminal prosecution for Chinese officials.

On Friday, a Hong Kong newspaper reported that China will launch a corruption investigation into one of the country’s most powerful politicians of the last decade.

The probe of former security tsar Zhou Yongkang (周永康) was reported by the South China Morning Post, which cited “sources familiar with the leadership’s thinking.”

Zhou is a recently retired member of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, its top body, and would be the highest-ranking official to be investigated for decades.

Yesterday’s report comes after the high-profile trial of Bo which ended on Monday last week.

Analysts widely believe that a guilty verdict for Bo — who once ran Chongqing and was one of the 25 highest-ranking members of the party — is a foregone conclusion.

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