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Corruption in China

Top official at China’s central bank disciplined for paying for banquets, holiday with public money

Assistant governor Yang Ziqiang partly used the cash for trip to Qingdao with his family, anti-graft agency says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 2:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 2:14pm

A top official at the People’s Bank of China has received a disciplinary warning from the Communist Party’s top anticorruption agency for using public funds to pay for banquets and other holiday expenses two years ago.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced details of the misconduct by Yang Ziqiang, one of three assistant governors at the People’s Bank of China, on Sunday. Yang’s naming and shaming, a rare occurrence at China’s central bank, comes at a critical time as the country’s financial regulatory regime is going through a reshuffle. A key national financial meeting is imminent to reshape China’s regulatory system and jockeying for key positions is already under way.

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Yang spent 14,473 yuan (HK$16,800) of public funds on banquets and accommodation during a personal holiday in the port city of Qingdao in Shandong province two years ago, the commission said.

Yang was one of six government officials criticised by the commission in a public notice on Sunday for offences including misuse of public funds and embezzlement.

The party’s internal warning, the least severe of five internal disciplinary punishments, could be used to deprive an official of the chance of promotion.

Yang spent the Dragon Boat Festival public holiday in Qingdao at the end of May and into June two years ago with his family at a training centre run by the central bank’s branch in the city, the statement said.

He was then the bank’s branch chief in Jinan, the capital of Shandong. Yang was promoted to assistant governor at the lender last year.

Yang paid the money back in June 2016 after his misuse of public funds was uncovered, the statement said.

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The amount of public funds Yang used was small compared with sums involved in some of China’s most notorious corruption cases and it is a common practice on the mainland for higher-level officials to accept banquets and entertainment given in their honour, often paid with public funds.

In Yang’s case, he and his family were joined by the head of the central bank’s Qingdao branch, Xin Shuren, and his family. Yang’s relatives also attended banquets in the city, the statement said.

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Thousands of government officials have been punished in a sweeping anticorruption campaign since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. The party has also launched a campaign against waste and extravagance by officials.

Yang has served at the central bank at various locations since 1976. He was promoted to branch head at Jinan in 2004.