Mystery over report on disgraced official

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 July, 2010, 12:00am

The fate of disgraced politician Yu Youjun remains a mystery after a government website reported his visit to a remote county and described him as 'a vice-minister-level leader from the cultural ministry'.

It was the first report about Yu - former Shenzhen mayor, Shanxi governor and deputy culture minister - since he was forced into political exile two years ago. The report attracted immediate attention and was circulated on many mainland news portals. However, the initial report was removed by yesterday afternoon.

Yu was sacked as deputy minister and party secretary of the Ministry of Culture in October 2008 for alleged graft.

The website of the Zhuanglang county government in Pingliang, Gansu, said Yu, 57, inspected the county's rainfall collection and agricultural irrigation facilities on July 7.

The report called Yu a 'vice-minister-level leader from the cultural ministry', but his exact title is not clear because his name could not be found on a list of top officials on the ministry's website.

It is unusual for a cultural official to inspect agricultural facilities. The report said Yu accompanied the deputy director of the provincial cultural department Li Shenbin, Pingliang deputy mayor Wang Darui , Zhuanglang county party head Zhang Zheng and other local officials.

The report about Yu's visit was posted on the county government's website yesterday morning even though the inspection took place more than two weeks ago. The report was removed from the website in the afternoon, although a picture of him inspecting the facilities remained.

Yu was well known for his flamboyant style when he was Shenzhen mayor from 2000 to 2003. He was seen as a front runner for the post of culture minister during a sweeping reshuffle at the party's national congress in October 2007. However, the post of culture minister was taken by Cai Wu the next year.

Yu was stripped of all his official positions and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection suspended his party membership for two years after he was implicated in at least two corruption cases.

He also lost his seat on the elite Central Committee, which he won in 2007. But he was not stripped of his party membership. He was investigated by the party's anti-corruption watchdog in early 2008 after his younger brother was detained in a graft investigation in Shenzhen.