China's head of state-owned assets regulator under probe

Sept. 2, 2013 at 1:16 AM
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BEIJING, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Chinese anti-corruption officials are investigating the head of the state-owned enterprises regulator for "serious discipline violations," authorities said.

Jiang Jiemin, 58, a senior economist, is the latest high-level Chinese official to face a corruption investigation under the country's new leadership led by President Xi Jinping. The new regime has vowed to crack down on official corruption, which has been publicly recognized as a serious problem threatening the country's security.

The Jiang probe follows last week's highly publicized trial of Bo Xilai, the disgraced Communist Party official, on charges of bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement. Bo, once a rising star in the party before his fall last year, has denied all charges against him in court and a ruling is awaited.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the Communist Party's watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, is investigating Jiang, head of the Cabinet's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, for suspected serious disciplinary violations. No details were provided.

China Daily reported the term disciplinary violation refers to corruption. Jiang's agency supervises and manages state-owned assets, which include appointing and removing top executives of such enterprises.

The Central Committee has 205 members, including the seven members of the powerful Standing Committee of the Politburo.

Jiang, who has held the job since March, is the first chairman of the agency to be investigated since it was established a decade ago, China Daily said. Prior to his current job, Jiang was chairman of the China National Petroleum Corp., the country's oil and gas producer.

China Daily quoted a source as saying the investigation of Jiang is related to alleged graft when he was head of the company.

Jiang's probe follows the investigation of four senior managers of the CNPC. The company announced last week it had decided to fire the four executives.

A law professor at Peking University told the newspaper that state-owned monopoly giants such as the CNPC must come under closer supervision as such enterprises have tens of billions of yuan in assets.

Also last month, it was announced a former vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission was expelled from the party and will be further investigated by judicial authorities.

In July, former railways minister Liu Zhijun was given a suspended death penalty for bribery and abuse of power, making him the highest-ranking official sentenced for such offenses since the new leaders took office in March.

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