Xingtai mayor resigns following online rumours

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 5:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 6:04pm

Government news outlets this week announced the resignation of the mayor of Xingtai – months after online rumours surfaced that he had been taking bribes and keeping a mistress.

The local legislature in Xingtai, which is in Hebei Province, accepted Liu Daqun’s request to resign as mayor, said in a brief news report on Tuesday.

The announcement did not elaborate, but many suspect an earlier report, ciculating online for more than a month, might have triggered his resignation.

The online report accusing Liu of violating discipline – a serious charge for officials in China – went public last December. Signed by 29 cadres, the report claimed Liu received bribes, worth 13 million yuan, from developers through land transactions and road construction projects.

He was also reported to be abusing power and illegally giving mistress a government position.

Amid public concern about the report, a Hebei discipline inspection commission said it was aware of the rumours and would investigate.

Liu, 54, earned a doctorate in science from University of Minnesota. He was principal of Agricultural University of Hebei before launching his political career in 2006. He became mayor of Xingtai in 2010.

When a major milk scandal occurred in Hebei in 2008, Liu, was head of Hebei Provincial Department of Agriculture. The scandal rocked the mainland and led to the sacking of a number of officials. But Liu emerged from it relatively unscathed. He only received a warning from Communist Party officials.

Xingtai, which is one of the oldest cities in Northern China, has a total population of around 7.1 million. It is an important centre for natural resources, including coal.