Shanghai harmed by official's graft, says party chief

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2007, 12:00am

The corruption case against former Shanghai Communist Party chief Chen Liangyu has hurt the city's development, his successor said a day after the disgraced leader was stripped of all official positions.

'After Chen Liangyu's breaches of discipline and violations of the law occurred ... they had a serious negative impact on Shanghai's reform and development,' Xi Jinping , the city's new party secretary, was quoted as saying.

Authorities revoked Chen's party membership on Thursday and announced he would face criminal prosecution for allegedly embezzling from Shanghai's pension fund.

Mr Xi, formerly party chief of Zhejiang province, took over Shanghai's top job this year. Chen was removed in September.

Mr Xi vowed yesterday Shanghai would continue to pursue its goal of becoming an international centre of finance and trade.

Anti-corruption watchdog official Xia Zanzhong said the party needed to improve education, establish checks on power, strengthen supervision and increase the severity of punishments to more effectively fight corruption.

'Chen Liangyu's actions completely departed from the principles and ideals that a party member, and high-level party leader and cadre ought to have. His world view, personal view and values had decayed,' said Mr Xia, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Analysts say Beijing has been reluctant to tackle corruption at the highest levels because it fears that revealing the true extent of the problem could threaten its legitimacy.

Chen's removal has broad political implications. He was a member of the 'Shanghai faction' of national leaders, which includes former president Jiang Zemin .

The faction is often at odds with President Hu Jintao's administration, and some analysts have viewed Chen's downfall as a politically motivated purge.

Dissident lawyer Zheng Enchong said Chen's fate reflected badly on Mr Jiang and another former Shanghai leader, recently deceased vice-premier Huang Ju , because Chen's crimes dated to the time when they held power. 'If Chen wasn't protected, he couldn't have gained promotion,' Mr Zheng said.

Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao newspaper said yesterday that Chen's son, Chen Weili , was recently detained in Malaysia. Previous reports said his son had fled the mainland in the wake of the corruption scandal.