Top China internet regulator under graft probe after chief's suicide

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 3:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 3:44am

A top mainland internet regulator has been placed under investigation for graft, less than a month after a fellow supervisor committed suicide.

There is nothing to suggest the two incidents are related, but the inquiry follows the detention of another former senior propaganda official last week.

Authorities said on Wednesday they were looking into the affairs of Gao Jianyun, a deputy director of the fifth bureau of the International Communication Office of the Communist Party's Central Committee. The ICO is also called the State Information Office, and the fifth bureau handles internet censorship, regulation and expanding the government's voice on the Web.

No details on Gao's case were provided by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, apart from a brief statement on Wednesday, saying he was being investigated for "serious disciplinary violations", a euphemism for corruption.

Less than a month ago, Li Wufeng, a deputy director of the State Information Office, leapt from the sixth floor of his Beijing office. Li, 56, was the fifth bureau's director from 2002 to 2012. Why Li committed suicide remains unknown, although some media reports said he suffered from depression.

Shen Weichen, a deputy director of the propaganda department from 2010 until last year, was detained last week.

Former deputy police chief Li Dongsheng, who was sacked in February for suspected graft, was the party's propaganda chief from 2002 to 2008.

President Xi Jinping's sweeping corruption crackdown has brought down a large number of officials, including key associates of former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, whom sources have said is currently being investigated.