Top Guangdong official caught in graft probe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2012, 12:00am


Another top official in Guangdong is being investigated over graft allegations, but analysts say the ongoing anti-corruption campaign is unlikely to target practices entrenched at the core of the Communist Party.

Dr Zhou Zhenhong, director of the Guangdong party committee's United Front Work Department and a member of its standing committee, was under investigation for severe violations of discipline, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Zhou, 54, was taken away by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Monday. The provincial government website said he attended the closing meeting of the annual session of Guangdong's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Sunday.

The Xinhua report gave no details of the inquiry or the charges Zhou faces. The office of the anti-graft watchdog could not be reached for comment yesterday and the official website of the provincial United Front Work Department was down.

Professor Cai Lihui , a political analyst at Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University, said: 'We should be happy to see Zhou's downfall, which shows signs the anti-corruption campaign will move on this year, towards province-level leaders.

'But we also have to realise that most corrupt, high-ranking officials fall because they took bribes many years ago. Why can't the watchdogs target and beat corruption that is happening now?

'We can't help but wonder whether their downfall shows the success of the anti-corruption campaign or it is just the result of fights among political factions.

'The public and the party need a campaign against the corrupt officials that are taking bribes and sitting in key positions. That's the anti-graft effort we really want.'

The Caixin Century weekly quoted an unnamed insider on its website yesterday as saying that Zhou would be placed under shuanggui, a Communist Party disciplinary mechanism, after being implicated in an anti-corruption crackdown last year that snared several top official in Maoming, western Guangdong. Zhou was the city's party head between 2002 and 2007.