A deputy mayor of Jinhua, in Zhejiang , is being investigated by the Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog over allegations he illegally granted land to a developer, Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.
Zhu Fulin , 53, and his wife were taken away by the party's provincial discipline inspection commission on August 24 and have been put under shuanggui, a disciplinary measure under which party members are detained and interrogated, the newspaper said, citing government sources from both Jinhua and Zhejiang.
A staff member at the Jinhua city government's general office told the South China Morning Post that Zhu had been absent from work "for several days".
"We also heard the rumour about Zhu being under shuanggui, and it is likely to be true."
Repeated calls to the party's anti-graft watchdog in Zhejiang went unanswered yesterday.
According to Jinhua's government website, Zhu's last public appearance was on August 22, when he attended a meeting on rural housing construction in Yiwu . As a deputy mayor of Jinhua since 2008, Zhu oversaw urban planning and construction, environmental protection, land resources, civil air defence and railway construction.
The Oriental Morning Post quoted an anonymous source as saying that the discipline inspection commission had asked the boss of the property group to assist with the investigation before Zhu was taken away.
Jinhua residents on an online forum and microbloggers said Zhu's detention again highlighted the intertwined interests of local governments and developers. One microblogger asked: "Why is it always officials in deputy positions that get caught?"
In the past month a slew of deputy police chiefs in Guangdong, Hunan and Zhejiang have been put under investigation or sentenced for corruption or other offences. In April, Yang Aijin , a former deputy mayor of Fuzhou , in Fujian province, was placed under shuanggui.
Former Shandong vice-governor Huang Sheng was expelled from the Communist Party for serious corruption in June, and former Jilin vice-governor Tian Xueren shared the same fate in July.
Commentator Hu Xingdou said deputies were more prone to fall, as they had less experience than their superiors and were more likely to become victims of political struggles.