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China continues campaign of anti-corruption investigations into top-level officials

2020-01-22 16:12 Wednesday


Officials in China sentenced a former senior national lottery official to eleven years in prison earlier this month for corruption that lead to 750m yuan (U.S.$ 108m) of revenue loss for the country’s welfare lottery system, according to recent reports.

The conviction has brought the number of senior officials punished as part of a years-long probe into malpractice in official institutions to 14 after a 2015 audit and inspection initiative in 2016 uncovered extensive lottery corruption.

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Wang Suying, the former head of the China Welfare Lottery Distribution and Management Center at the Civil Affairs Ministry, was the second senior lottery official to receive a prison sentence. Last summer, her deputy, Feng Lizhi, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and fined 1m yuan for graft and abuse of power.

Two predecessors of Wang's, Bao Xuequan and Chen Chuanshu, have also been placed under corruption investigations.

At the 4th Plenary Session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the CPC last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed further anti-corruption work in the Asia Pacific nation. 

At the meeting, Xi placed emphasis on improving and upholding the Party and state supervisory systems. He added that the efforts would ensure the Party's policies and line are followed carefully and guarantee the prospect of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects" as well as help to fight poverty.

Anti-corruption work stood out as one of the main aspects stressed by the president, who called upon officials to ensure a continuous crack down on "flies" at the lower end and "tigers" higher up. 

To tackle graft, Xi said it was necessary to conduct full investigations into corruption and associated punishments, along with continuing to double-down on efforts in furthering anti-corruption in the financial sectors. 

As part of the latest initiatives to bolster anti-corruption regulations and awareness, a 5-episode television documentary on corrupt officials began airing on Sundays on a popular channel of the state broadcaster CCTV. 

The second episode featured the case of Lai Xiaomin, the former head of state-owned asset manager China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd., who is involved in the biggest corruption case in China's heavily-regulated financial system in recent memory. 

Chen Qingpu, deputy director of the CCDI said in the program: "We've dealt with a number of cases in the finance sector, but none was as shocking as Lai's case in the amount, degree of damage and means and plots of crimes." Lai was arrested two years ago on charges of embezzlement and bribery. 

Under his direction, Huarong aggressively expanded, opened numerous subsidiaries of the firm and quickly grew into a financial conglomerate, with licenses covering investments, securities, banking, trusts, futures, and finance. 

Around 555,000 corruption cases were investigated in China between January to November last year, according to an official statement published by the CCDI.   

In total, around 485,000 officials were disciplined, including 42 senior officials directly under by the CPC Central Committee. Among them, around 19,000 received jail sentences, said the same source. 


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