A veteran government official, rumoured to have colluded with big business, was among those hauled away by local discipline authorities at the recently concluded Hebei Provincial People’s Congress, mainland reports said.
Liang Shulin, a deputy to the law committee of the provincial legislature, was seen being apprehended on the last day of the meeting. Reports accusing Liang of colluding with a real estate tycoon and other illegal activities have been circulating since 2012.
However, neither the central nor provincial discipline authority confirmed he was under investigation amid a sweeping crackdown by President Xi Jinping, who renewed his call on Wednesday to launch a tough fight against corruption from the lowest to the highest ranks of government.
Earlier, it was reported that former Hebei reform and development commission chief Liu Xueku had been taken away  by officers during the congress, which closed last Sunday, the 21st Century Business Herald quoted witnesses as saying.
But an unnamed Hebei official told the newspaper that Liang’s case was “less serious” than Liu’s.
Officials at the meeting said Liu, 60, was approached and escorted out by three officers as people were leaving the conference hall, Xinhua reported.
A one-sentence online announcement posted by the Communist Party’s central discipline watchdog on Wednesday confirmed that Liu was being investigated for a “serious discipline violation”.
A whistle-blower alleged that Liu took bribes under a construction project in Langfang city, Hebei.
President Xi Jinping, at a meeting with the central discipline authority on Wednesday, repeated his promise to battle both “tigers” and “flies”, a term for corrupt officials of high and low rank respectively.
In December last year alone, at least one official was investigated for graft per day, state media reported.