Sat, Feb 06, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Sichuan governor fired for disloyalty to CCP

PARTY DISCIPLINE:The Chinese ruling party also announced an investigation into Guangdong vice governor Liu Zhigeng, but gave no details about alleged violations

AP, BEIJING

Then-Sichuan governor Wei Hong, center, attends the opening ceremony of an agriculture expo in the provincial capital, Chengdu, on Nov. 19 last year.

Photo: AP

The governor of a major Chinese province has been accused of disloyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and removed from his post, amid a growing consolidation of power by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) that some have likened to a personality cult.

Deposed Sichuan Governor Wei Hong (魏宏) joins a long list of those sidelined in a sweeping crackdown on dissent, civil society and corrupt officials.

Unusually, the accusations against Wei made no mention of graft. He was accused only of violating “party discipline,” not of breaking the law, demoted to a vice departmental post and removed from his party duties.

Wei had been “disloyal to the party, dishonest and failed to value the many opportunities to receive education and rectify his wrongdoing,” the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in an unusually long statement on its Web site.

Along with “seriously violating political and organizational discipline,” he also sought to subvert the investigation, refused to confess and interfered with judicial activities, the commission said.

No details were given about the specific accusations against Wei, who had spent most of his career in the Sichuan party apparatus and was also a delegate to the national party and government congresses.

The commission also announced an investigation into a vice governor of the southern province of Guangdong on the same charge. It said Liu Zhigeng (劉志庚) was under investigation, but gave no details about his alleged violation of party discipline.

The accusations appear to show an expansion of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign to include those who fail to profess fealty to his leadership personally, said Willy Lam (林和立), who closely follows China’s elite politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Whereas previous leaders had tolerated some degree of factionalism, Xi appears intent on removing all who would fail to toe the line, Lam said.

Wei may have been suspected of being under the sway of one of Xi’s two predecessors, Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), he said.

“This is a warning to party members that they can lose their place,” Lam said. “It is an alarming development in the personality cult around Xi.”

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