Graft-busting campaign hits smaller cities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2012, 12:00am
 

Eight mid-level Shantou officials have been arrested for allegedly taking millions of yuan in bribes as part of an anti-graft campaign in Guangdong that analysts say is spreading to second-tier cities.

The arrested officials, one of whom already has a conviction, are former chiefs of the city government agencies for urban planning and land, as well as division heads of the city's police department, the Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday. The report cited the Shantou Communist Party disciplinary chief Xing Taian.

The arrests came amid a high-profile campaign against economic crimes launched in February by provincial party secretary, Wang Yang . More than 1,000 party cadres and civil servants across the province are being investigated.

Those arrested include Shantou's ex-director of land resources, Zheng Zhenqing , and its ex-deputy director, Zheng Chuqiang . They allegedly took 800,000 yuan (HK$981,000) and 600,000 yuan, respectively, between 2007 and 2009, to help endorse contracts for a Shenzhen developer, the report said.

Former planning bureau chief Zhu Jiadong was arrested for taking 4 million yuan in gifts and bribes and embezzling 1.6 million yuan in public funds between 2005 and last year.

The latest arrests were another indication the anti-corruption drive was spreading to second-tier cities, after previously focusing on Guangzhou and Shenzhen, said Cai Lihui , a professor at Sun Yat-sen University's School of Government.

'We will see authorities from other Guangdong cities release their own list of local officials toppled as support for Wang Yang,' Cai said.

'Everything remains uncertain ahead of the 18th National Party Congress,' he said, referring to the autumn meeting when the central leadership hands over power to a new generation - with Wang tipped as a strong contender.

'Wang needs this campaign to garner political credit,' Cai said.

The crackdown has already netted Xie Pengfei , a former provincial deputy secretary general; Wei Jinfeng , a deputy head of the province's financial bureau; Li Zhizhen, former director of Guangzhou's civil affairs bureau; Wu Huasen , ex-head of the Bureau of Coal Geology of Guangdong; and Liang Bizhi , party head of Xiashan district of Zhanjiang .

An official close to the top leadership of Guangzhou said morale among senior cadres had been damaged by the anti-graft campaign. But Cai said top provincial officials were unlikely to be targeted, given the need for political stability.

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