Xinhua brings in extra deputy 'to tackle graft'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 January, 2000, 12:00am

Xinhua's Hong Kong office has appointed a new deputy director who is expected to investigate corruption among mainland-affiliated firms.

The move was revealed after reports a former Xinhua official had fled to the United States amid an inquiry by mainland anti-corruption agents.

The new deputy director is Zheng Kunsheng, who has worked for the mainland's top anti-corruption body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection under the Communist Party.

His unexpected arrival as deputy director, an extra post added to the present five deputy directors, is seen by pro-Beijing politicians as a sign the central Government is determined to tackle corruption in Chinese enterprises in Hong Kong.

Mr Zheng began work on Saturday. His colleague Zou Zhekai, another deputy director, declined to disclose Mr Zheng's portfolio.

The other four deputy directors are Wang Fengchao, Zheng Guoxiong, Liu Shanzai and Chen Fengying.

Each heads a division. Mr Liu, for example, is responsible for overseeing Chinese business in Hong Kong.

Mr Zheng is expected to pick up the anti-bribery job because of his background.

'It shows the Beijing Government understands the importance of anti-corruption among the Chinese-affiliated business sector,' a local deputy to the National People's Congress said.

Zheng Guoxiong also worked for the Central Commission. He is understood to oversee mainland groups in the SAR.

Bribery problems among some mainland-affiliated firms have aroused concerns in the pro-Beijing camp.

Xu Simin, a Standing Committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said he had heard that a former Xinhua official in Hong Kong had fled and that he was being investigated.

He believed more bribery allegations would be revealed.

Xinhua director Jiang Enzhu said he had not heard of the case.

Xinhua is studying the possibility of moving its headquarters from Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, which has been its home for more than 20 years. Reports have said the building is too old for maintenance.