Silence surrounds fate of rail executive
China CREC Railway Electrification Bureau Group has been evasive about reports that one of its top executives is under investigation.
The company is a subsidiary of China Railway Group, a major state-owned rail construction firm listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
On May 28, CREC Railway Electrification general manager Liu Zhiyuan was taken away for questioning by the authorities, reported the official China.org.cn.
It said Liu was suspected of taking bribes. It reported that Liu was detained on the basis of information from an unnamed senior executive within CREC Railway Electrification who was also being investigated for suspected 'economic crimes'.
'This case has not been concluded yet,' a CREC Railway Electrification spokesman said, adding that he was not sure whether Liu was still working for the company.
Separately, a CREC Railway Electrification spokeswoman said: 'We are not clear about this matter', when asked if he is still with the company.
On May 28, the government announced that former Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun had been expelled from the party after its disciplinary watchdog found he had committed criminal acts.
Liu had been handed over to the judicial authorities.
It was under Liu Zhijun's tenure as railways minister that the country launched the high-speed rail programme in 2008. Since his arrest and removal from the post in February last year, the ambitious high-speed rail project has been scaled down.
In the first five months this year, fixed-asset railway investment plunged 41 per cent to 129.65 billion yuan, far below the government's target of 500 billion yuan for the whole year.
Despite similar-sounding names, the 58-year old Liu Zhiyuan was not related to the former minister, China.org.cn said. Liu Zhiyuan was born in Tangshan city, Hebei province, while Liu Zhijun was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. However, they were close, and some Railway Ministry projects were given to CREC Railway Electrification, the portal said.
Liu Zhiyuan's name and photograph were still on CREC Railway Electrification's website yesterday, together with the name and photograph of chairman Wang Qizeng in a joint statement introducing the company.
In its 52-year history, CREC has provided electricity to 26,000 km of railway, accounting for 80 per cent of the total, according to its website. The company has been involved in 80 per cent of the nation's operational high-speed railway, including the Beijing-Tianjin line and the Wuhan-Guangzhou line.