Nanjing mayor Ji Jianye placed under disciplinary investigation

Ji Jianye, seized in Jiangsu capital, is linked to businessman under investigation; he was formerly party chief of Jiang Zemin's hometown

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 11:50am

The mayor of Nanjing has been placed under Communist Party investigation for "economic crimes", a euphemism for corruption, sources and state media said.

The action against Ji Jianye comes amid an ongoing anti-graft campaign which has intensified since President Xi Jinping took the helm of the party in November.

The news portal affiliated with the party mouthpiece People's Daily reported late last night that Ji, who occupies a vice-ministerial position as the mayor of the city, the Jiangsu provincial capital, was seized in recent days by party disciplinary officials.

Ji made his last public appearance on Tuesday, attending a meeting to discuss a local river project, according to the official microblog of the city's water department.

A source said he was informed that Ji was seized by the disciplinary officials yesterday morning.

"Ji was detained and taken to Beijing for further investigation," the person said.

Another source told the South China Morning Post that the authorities briefed a small group of Nanjing officials yesterday on the probe against Ji.

Before becoming Nanjing mayor in late 2009, Ji, 56, was mayor and later the party chief of Yangzhou , the hometown in Jiangsu of former president Jiang Zemin .

Xi has vowed to target "tigers and flies", indicating that both high-ranking and lowly officials are under the party's scrutiny.

A number of senior party officials have been detained in recent months. Among them are Jiang Jiemin , ex-chairman of state oil and gas giant the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and disgraced former Sichuan deputy party secretary Li Chuncheng .

In August, the Post revealed party leaders had agreed to open a corruption investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang , also a Jiangsu native and once a CNPC executive.

The People's Daily online report quoted unnamed sources as saying the amount of money involved in Ji's case may exceed 20 million yuan (HK$25.3 million). Citing internal sources, it said Ji was implicated in the investigation of Zhu Xingliang , a prominent businessman in Jiangsu.

Zhu, the founder of Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, was detained in July. The company said at the time that Zhu was "assisting a procuratorate with an investigation".

The report, citing an anonymous Nanjing official, also said Ji initiated massive urban renovation projects during his days in Yangzhou, with work on the projects often tendered to contractors with ties to him. He embarked on a similar renovation spree when he moved to Nanjing.

The unnamed official said the fall of Ji was "expected".

Wang Qishan head of the party's anti-graft agency, yesterday told provincial and ministerial chiefs corruption problems should be rooted out and dealt with as soon as possible to prevent them becoming serious.