Top official first target in state-publishing corruption investigation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 7:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 7:45pm

A top official with the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign language publishing house has become the target of a corruption investigation, the party’s anti-graft watchdog said in a statement on Thursday.

Qi Pingjing, 59, is being investigated for “severe disciplinary violations”, the party’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission said using party speak for an investigation into allegations of embezzlement or bribery.

Internet users were quick to find Qi’s Sina Weibo microblog, where in a post from April of last year Qi had commented on a corruption investigation into Mao Xiaoping, the party secretary and mayor of Wuyi city in Zhejiang province. At the time, Mao was charged with accepting 570,000 yuan in bribes and many internet mocked him for being a “clean official” as he had embezzled a relatively small amount of funds compared to others.

“It is evident that the people’s moral expectations have fallen to a low level,” Qi wrote in his blog, commenting on those mocking Mao.

Qi’s last public appearance in his 38-year-long career in the state-run publishing industry was on September 14 when he visited the China Periodicals Fair in Wuhan.

He worked at the China International Publishing Group, which is part of the State Council Information Office and the Communist Party’s Foreign Propaganda Office.

Qi, who is still listed as deputy head of China International Publishing Group on its website, is the first high-ranking official in the state-owned publishing industry to be named after graft investigators spent nine weeks this summer auditing the group, a closely linked conglomerate that oversees 27 publishing houses including some China’s largest.

Investigators found some instances of “discipline violations and imperfect discipline oversight”, according to a report by the Central Discipline Inspection Commission. “Some work units sell openly or under disguised ISBN numbers, some violate discipline when co-operating with private enterprises, [while] some members of the work units’ leadership groups violate the group’s financial and salary regulations,” the report said.

The investigating team was one of ten that between May and August audited, in addition to China International Publishing Group, five administrative divisions, the Ministry of Water Resources, Renmin University in Beijing, the Export-Import Bank of China, and China Grain Reserves Corporation.