Numerous senior science officials in Guangdong, including the deputy chief of the province’s science bureau, are implicated in corruption cases – with one report saying more than 50 of them are being investigated, highlighting how Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive is widening its net beyond politics, business and the academe.
Wang Kewei, former deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Department, is facing a corruption probe, Guangdong’s committee of discipline inspection announced on Friday.
The case against Wang, who was in charge of the industry-university research department, centres on allegations that he dipped his fingers into the light-emitting diode (LED) industry development fund, to which Guangdong allocated 450 million yuan (HK$576 million) under the 12th Five-Year Plan, China Business News reported.
Last month, Wang’s former boss, science department director Li Xinghua, was sacked by the party for corruption.
The newspaper said that so far, more than 50 officials in the science and technology system were implicated in graft cases.
In Guangdong’s capital city, Guangzhou, the municipal procuratorate last week revealed that it investigated 29 people working in the science field implicated in 25 corruption cases involving a total of 50 million yuan.
In December, staff at the science and technology bureau of Foshan city, also in Guangdong, were caught defrauding the government of science subsidies meant for local companies.
In all, 21 people are facing investigation for corruption in Foshan, a report said, exposing how province officials and the staff of science companies might be embezzling funds for scientific projects.
Analysts say that the corruption cases may offer insight on why the high investment of the state into science and research has produced little returns.
China has ranked among the top countries in the world for science funding, with research and development spending reached more than 1 billion yuan in 2012 (the third-biggest science budget among governments in the world), an 18.5 per cent increase from a year earlier.