A veteran journalist has publicly accused the country's energy chief of forging his résumé, using his family to profit from his position and keeping a mistress.
Luo Changping, deputy managing editor of Caijing Magazine, posted on his Sina account the accusations against Liu Tienan, who is director of the National Energy Administration and the deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Separately, a Xinhua report has confirmed that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng for "severely breaching party discipline".
Li was elected as an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party during the 18th party congress last month. He was among the least popular alternates selected, in terms of votes received, as his position among the alternates was 155th out of 171.
Luo said that Liu's wife and son were shareholders in a private company that used forged documents to obtain bank loans and transferred a "huge amount of money" to their personal account.
The journalist also said Liu's master's degree from Nagoya University in Japan, received while he was working as counsellor for economic affairs at the Chinese embassy in Japan, was an honorary degree rather than a credential earned through graduation.
Finally, Luo claimed that Liu kept a mistress while in Japan and threatened to kill her after they broke up.
Liu was in Moscow yesterday to attend a China-Russia energy negotiators' meeting and could not be reached, but a press official with the National Energy Administration denied the reports, telling Beijing News that they were "pure rumours".
The graft allegations against Liu were the latest levied against government officials, apparently because whistle-blowers have been emboldened by the new leadership's pledge to toughen anti-corruption efforts.
Also yesterday, Economy and Nation Weekly, a Xinhua-run publication, reported that Beijing transportation chief Song Jianguo was being probed by the party's disciplinary watchdog for allegedly rigging a number plate lottery for cars.
The magazine cited an unidentified source "in the know" as saying that Song allegedly used his position for personal gain. Some other staff members at the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau were also being probed.
Beijing police denied the veracity of the report, saying "the allegations of favouritism aren't true". But when internet users remained convinced, police issued another statement saying Song was not being investigated.
Song took charge of the capital's traffic authority in 2008. In 2010, the authority announced that 240,000 new number plates would be offered each year, adding that residents would need to win the plates via lottery, amid soaring demand for cars and worsening traffic and pollution in Beijing.
A record 1.26 million people applied for the 20,000 plates offered last month.
Last year, the authority denied a rumour that there had been a specially approved car quota or under-the-table deals.
More recently, the authority denied another rumour last month that Liu Xuemei, director of the vehicle and driver management department of the Ministry of Public Security, had won herself a number plate for seven straight months. The authority said the winners were other people with the same name.