The head of Sichuan's provincial political advisory body has been placed under investigation for graft, China’s anti-corruption watchdog announced on Sunday, as President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive continues.
Li Chongxi, chairman of Sichuan provincial committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is currently being investigated by the authority under suspicion of serious discipline and law violations, said a brief statement on the ruling Communist Party’s discipline inspection agency website on Sunday morning.
Officials under investigation for disciplinary offences in China, if officially confirmed, are almost certain to be removed from their current posts and charged with corruption.
The investigation of Li Chongxi came after President Xi Jinping led a nationwide effort to rein in corruption in the past year that has led to the sacking of sixteen ministerial-level officials.
Some have speculated the investigation could have links to Zhou Yongkang, China's former security tsar and one of the most powerful members of the Communist Party, as Li had risen to the top circle of provincial posts during the early 2000s when Zhou was party secretary of Sichuan.
South China Morning Post and several other overseas media organisations earlier reported that Zhou had been under secret investigatios for corruption-related scandals. The Chinese government has neither confirmed nor denied these claims.
In last December, the deputy party secretary of Sichuan province, Li Chuncheng, widely regarded as Zhou's ally, was removed after being suspected of influence-peddling and questionable real estate deals.
According to public record, Li Chongxi himself has previously taken multiple discipline inspection posts in 1990s before promoting to the top ranks of officials in Sichuan province in the new centrury including the deputy party secretary and the deputy of head of the People's Congress. He has overseen the Sichuan's CPPCC since the beginning of the year.
The organ CPPCC on each level of government in China is designed to give advises to governments and legislatures and are usually led by Communist Party members.
Although theoretically speaking such organs have no administrative powers, their top posts are often occupied by senior officials who can wield considerable clout over the local government’s decision-making.
The head of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, for example, is ranked number four among the most powerful national leaders just after the nation’s president, premier and the head of National People’s Congress.