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Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign

Graft-buster named as head of China's spy agency as anti-corruption watchdog extends its power

Chen Wenqing becomes the third CCDI deputy chief to be appointed to senior position in a state bureau since Xi Jinping came to power

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 October, 2015, 11:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 October, 2015, 11:27pm

A former senior official at China's top graft-busting agency has been given the highest Communist Party job in state security, mainland media confirmed yesterday, signalling the agency is expanding its power.

Hebei -based Yanzhao Metropolis Daily confirmed the move on Thursday when it reported that Chen Wenqing , 55, a former deputy chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, toured the Xibaipo Memorial Museum on September 22 in his capacity as party chief of the Ministry of State Security. He remains a member of the commission.

Chen is the third CCDI deputy chief to be appointed to take a top job at another state bureau since President Xi Jinping took power more than three years ago. Wang Wei was put in charge of the Three Gorges Dam project in 2013, and Li Yubin was transferred to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

This manoeuvre seems like an expansion of power for the central anti-graft agency
Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan 

Political observers said the move indicated that the CCDI was extending its reach as the anti-corruption drive rolled through more sectors and ministries.

"This manoeuvre seems like an expansion of power for the central anti-graft agency," Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said. "It's more like the anti-graft system becoming more intertwined with other bureaus."

Speculation that Chen would take up the new role began in earnest in April when his name was removed from the commission's leadership list.

On his tour of the museum, Chen reportedly watched a video on party history, and said cadres faced difficult conditions during the 1940s.

Read more: Chinese spy chief Ma Jian placed under graft probe, authorities confirm

"Conditions were really tough back then, extremely difficult," the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily quoted him saying. "If all young people today had this spirit of working hard under tough conditions, would there be any task that we could not accomplish?"

Chen last worked in state security 13 years ago, according to his public profile.

Born and raised in Sichuan, Chen rose from a local police officer to be chief of the provincial state security bureau. He was the bureau's head from 1994 to 2002 before becoming the province's chief prosecutor and then the top graft-buster of Fujian province.

In 2012, Chen was promoted to be the deputy chief of the CCDI, the youngest person in the role at the time.

Under Xi's massive anti-corruption campaign, former deputy minister of state security Ma Jian was detained in January and put under investigation for alleged severe violation of law and discipline, a stock phrase for corruption.

Ma is among a series of senior officials to have been brought down by the campaign, including the nation's former security tsar Zhou Yongkang .