China’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has turned its sights on one of its own officials, as the Communist Party deepens its campaign against graft.
Shen Weichen, deputy chairman and party secretary of Chinese Association for Science and Technology, and one of nation’s 130 discipline inspection officials, has been placed under investigation on suspicion of “serious violation of discipline and law”, a brief on the Commission’s website said on Saturday night.
The portal did not elaborate on the case, but the charge is worded in jargon typically used by the party to refer to charges of corruption. Officials placed under such investigations are almost guaranteed to be at the end of their political careers, and are likely to face criminal charges in the future.
Shen is the 24th ministry-level official to be placed under investigation since Chinese President and Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping unleashed his extensive anti-corruption drive shortly after he assumed power in late 2012. Xi vowed his campaign would investigate all levels of the bureaucracy, targeting both “tigers” and “flies” in an effort to root out graft he said threatened the future standing of the party.
But the investigation into Shen is extraordinary because he is the first senior discipline enforcer to be charged. Ironically, he was one of the officials who rose to power in 2012 under Xi’s orders to orchestrate and carry out the most extensive anti-corruption drive in decades.
Shanxi-born Shen served in multiple government posts in coal-rich northern province before taking the post of deputy propaganda minister of Chinese Communist Party in 2010. He was appointed to his current post in the middle of last year.
The 57-year-old is credited with effectively promoting the cultural image of Shanxi by organising several popular TV dramas and a photography festival all based on a backdrop of the landlocked province.
Shen made his last public appearance on Wednesday in Jiangxi province where he delivered a speech at the provincial Association of Science and Technology.