China’s Communist Party has fired a senior provincial official for “suspected serious disciplinary violations”, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, making him the latest target in a crackdown on corruption.
Guo Youming, the vice-governor of the central province of Hubei, was removed from his post after China’s corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), announced a probe into the official this week.
The Xinhua report, which cited the ruling party’s central Organisation Department, gave no further details, but the term 'discipline violations' is generally used to denote corruption.
Guo’s dismissal comes a day after China launched a pilot programme to make new officials disclose their assets as part of an anti-graft campaign, a step critics say is critical to weed out official corruption.
The government this week also announced that two other officials were being probed over graft allegations.
Xu Jie, a deputy head of the petitions office, has been sacked for suspected graft issues, while Cai Rongsheng, head of admissions at Beijing’s prestigious Renmin University, is under investigation, in what state media said was related to “corruption cases involving large amounts of money”.
President Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a top theme of his new administration, and has vowed to pursue high-flying “tigers” as well as lowly “flies” to assuage anger over corruption and restore faith in the party.
Guo is a long-time official in Hubei, where he served in the water management bureau and as party secretary in Yichang city, near the US$59-billion (HK$457 billion) Three Gorges Dam project.
His official biography says he was in charge of “follow-up work” on the dam, as well as elements of the controversial North-South Water Transfer Project, which aims to divert river water to the industrialised north.
Authorities have already announced the investigation or arrest of a handful of senior officials, among them former officials of oil giant PetroChina, in what appears to be the biggest graft probe into a state-run firm in years.
In May, Liu Tienan, the former deputy head of China’s top planning agency, was removed from his post after online accusations of corruption were posted against him, and a criminal investigation began in August.