Telecoms chief in inquiry mystery
Telecommunications giant China Mobile says it is checking online speculation that its vice-president, Lu Xiangdong, and the general manager of its Guangdong branch, Xu Long, have been put under investigation.
A staff member who identified herself as an assistant to company spokesman Zhang Xuan said yesterday that China Mobile's 'leaders are studying the case', after rumours on Sina Weibo that the two men have been put under shuanggui, a form of detention imposed on Communist Party members being investigated for corruption.
If the rumour is true, Lu would become the second-highest-ranking China Mobile official to be investigated for graft after former vice-chairman Zhang Chunjiang, who was sacked in December 2009.
Eleven officials from the world's biggest cellphone service operator had been found to be involved in 500 million yuan (HK$615 million) of corruption as of last year, the First Financial Daily reported last month, citing a report from the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to the State Council. A weibo post created early yesterday afternoon said that 'something big' had happened to Lu, triggering widespread online speculation that he had been placed under shuanggui.
Caixin Magazine also carried a report on its website saying that Lu was taken away by Jilin province prosecutors on Tuesday night for investigation for corruption.
Citing unnamed sources, it said that Jilin prosecutors would handle Lu's case, not the party graft watchdog. 'This implies that important evidence has been found in Lu's case,' it said. The report was later removed from Caixin.com.
Lu, in charge of China Mobile's marketing, co-operative projects, billing clearance and mobile data services, was scheduled to be visiting the United States.
Before the rumour broke, Xu was reportedly about to be transferred to the company's Beijing headquarters.
Wu Weining, head of China Mobile's terminal department, was taken away by Jilin prosecutors for investigation in late November last year, the Caixin report said. Wu was responsible for charging matters at the company's Fujian branch when Lu was branch head.