China investigating a top party official

Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:48 AM
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BEIJING, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Chinese government, under new leadership, ordered a corruption investigation of a top Communist Party official in Sichuan province, the official media said.

China Daily, quoting an unnamed source, reported Li Chuncheng, 56, deputy secretary of the Sichuan Communist Party who was elected an alternate member of the powerful Central Committee at last month's party congress, was taken to Beijing this week.

The newspaper, quoting analysts, said the investigation of Li for alleged disciplinary violations reflected the party's determination to fight corruption. But no details about any of the charges against Li were provided.

"Inspectors arrived in Chengdu on Sunday and talked with Li in the evening. He was taken the next morning to Beijing and provincial-level officials in Sichuan were briefed about the case in the afternoon," the report quoted the source as saying.

Chengdu is the capital of the southwestern Sichuan province.

The report said the investigation followed a series of recent cases where officials were investigated for corruption and dismissed. It said there was speculation the investigation was related to allegations of corruption against Dai Xiaoming, chairman of the Chengdu Industry Investment Group, a large state-owned enterprise. Dai, identified as a protege of Li, has been under investigation since August for alleged corruption, the source told China Daily.

Li had been deputy mayor of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, before becoming mayor of Chengdu in 2001, and before being promoted to the provincial party post in 2011.

The accusation against Li follows the huge scandal earlier this year that resulted in the ouster of Chongqing province party leader Bo Xilai, once regarded as a rising star within the party hierarchy.

Bo faced corruption and abuse of power charges, which came after his equally prominent wife, Gu Kailai, was sent to prison on a murder conviction in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo's former police chief, Wang Lijun, also was imprisoned in the Heywood case.

China's new leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the need to fight official corruption, which has become a major problem with the economic boom in the country, now the world's second-largest economy after the United States.

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