China graft watchdog probes top official

September 1, 2013 11:34 am
Jiang Jiemin pictured at a press conference in Hong Kong on March 25, 2010/AFP
Jiang Jiemin pictured at a press conference in Hong Kong on March 25, 2010/AFP

, BEIJING, Sep 1 – China’s anti graft watchdog is investigating the head of the commission which oversees state-owned firms for alleged “serious disciplinary violations,” official media reported Sunday as the country’s leaders ramp up the fight against corruption.

The probe of Jiang Jiemin follows several graft cases against top officials and the dramatic trial of fallen Communist Party heavyweight Bo Xilai for alleged bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

In a brief dispatch, the state run Xinhua news agency said Jiang “is being investigated over suspected serious disciplinary violations”, a term used as a euphemism for corruption by officials.

Xinhua 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 anti-corruption watchdog.

Xinhua did not immediately provide other details.

Jiang has a seat on the ruling party’s central committee, which has about 200 members. The State Council is China’s cabinet.

President Xi Jinping, 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.

Zhang Zhiwei, an economist with Nomura International in Hong Kong, said that the commission Jiang heads is significant as it oversees China’s state-owned enterprises, which play a major role in the economy.

“This announcement suggests the anti corruption campaign is picking up speed,” he said in a report.

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 “took advantage of his position to seek profits for others” and was “morally degenerate”, Xinhua reported, citing the party discipline inspection commission.

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