More than 800 officials across Guangdong whose spouses and children have emigrated overseas have been penalised with demotions or "position adjustments", according to the provincial authorities.
A statement published yesterday on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog, said that Guangdong had completed its disciplinary inspection of a group of such officials, known as luoguan or "naked officials".
A total of 866 officials, including nine-bureau level cadres and 134 at the department level, had been forced to retire early, were demoted or transferred to nominal posts, the statement said.
The CCDI, which sent a team of inspectors to Guangdong late last year, said in February that the number of naked officials in the province was a serious problem.
Guangdong soon launched a series of investigations and position adjustments across the province by asking officials to report their properties, the employment status of spouses and children, and records of their movements in and out of the country.
According to the latest official selection and appointment regulation issued in January, these officials will not be considered for promotion.
Local media reported that Dongguan recently demoted 127 officials, while Jiangmen reassigned 128 officials.
Late last month, Fang Xuan , the deputy party chief of Guangzhou, became the highest ranking official forced to prematurely retire because of his "naked official" status. The reports did not say where Fang's spouse and children had emigrated.
Fang was born in 1954 and will not reach the official retirement age of 60 for officials of his rank until October. He took the post in November 2011, according to caixin.com .
So far, there has been no official announcement of the reason for the adjustment, or clues that Fang had "violated party discipline", a stock phrase used to describe corruption.
Hong Kong media reported that Zhou Tianming , former deputy head of prosperous Foshan, outside Guangzhou, had been demoted to deputy mayor of Yunfu, a remote city in the west of the province in December after he was named a naked official.
Naked officials are considered to be a corruption risk as most have transferred large sums of money abroad, along with their immediate relatives, to escape investigation and punishment.
In a survey of more than 1,000 residents in seven cities conducted last week by the Global Times Global Poll Centre, more than 75 per cent of respondents said naked officials should be banned from key posts in government, while half believed they were linked to corruption.
The poll found that, among residents of the seven cities, those in Guangzhou were the least confident in the government's regulation of naked officials.