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China Fires Regulatory Official Involved in Corruption Probe

  • VOA News

Chinese state media say the Communist Party has fired the head of a commission that regulates state-owned companies, just days after announcing he was being investigated for corruption.

The Xinhua news agency said Tuesday Jiang Jiemin was removed as head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission for "suspected serious disciplinary violations." In China, the charge almost always refers to corruption.

On Sunday, Xinhua said Jiang was being investigated for alleged graft linked to the country's biggest oil company, the state-run China National Petroleum Corp., where the 57-year-old had formerly been a chairman.

President Xi Jinping has pledged to get tough on the widespread corruption within the Communist Party. So far, his widely publicized graft crackdown has netted mostly lower level officials.

There are signs, however, the party could be targeting some within in its senior ranks. Last week, several reports said Beijing has opened a corruption probe into retired politician Zhou Yongkang, who until last year was one of the country's elite leaders.

Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 12, 2011.

Zhou Yongkang gestures as he speaks at a group discussion of Shaanxi Province during the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 12, 2011.

The South China Morning Post reported that the 70-year-old Zhou will be investigated for his alleged part in oil field and property deals that profited his family.

Zhou was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest governing body, from 2007 to 2012. He also oversaw China's sprawling state security apparatus.

China's government has not commented on any investigation. If confirmed, it would be the first time in decades that the party has investigated economic crimes by a former or current Standing Committee member.

The developments come after the recent trial of former Politburo member Bo Xilai. Once a rising political star, Bo is awaiting a verdict on charges of graft, bribery, and abuse of power.
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