A WHISPER campaign has begun against Beijing Vice-Mayor Zhang Baifa about his alleged involvement in corrupt activities related to the recent suicide of colleague Wang Baosen. Following the resignation of Beijing party secretary, Chen Xitong, rumours were circulating in Beijing that Mr Zhang had been taken into custody over the weekend. 'Zhang was taken into custody for several hours and then released,' said a source. Beijing Government officials were unavailable for official comment as a result of the May Day holiday. In the days leading up to Mr Chen's resignation, a similar whispering campaign occurred. Sources say it is only a matter of time before Mr Zhang is officially criticised or asked to step down for his alleged misconduct. The Vice-Mayor, whose portfolio covers infrastructure and city planning, has reportedly been involved in a number of property deals, the biggest being the Asian Games Village. Sources said he was involved in the construction, financing and current operation of the huge complex. There is speculation that he is also involved with other massive projects in the capital. Mr Zhang worked closely with Mr Chen, most visibly in Beijing's failed attempt to secure the 2000 Olympics for Beijing. There is now talk of illicit practices relating to Beijing's bid. But no hard evidence has been made public in Mr Zhang's case or in any of the other corruption cases now under investigation. Mr Zhang is known for his outgoing demeanour and is viewed as a fairly open person, often participating in public events such as corporate ribbon-cuttings. Unlike Mr Chen, Mr Zhang distanced himself from the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989. He was the talk of the town in 1990 when he supposedly threatened to jump off a building if the Asian Games, hosted by Beijing, did not run smoothly. In the early 1990s, Mr Zhang was talked about as a potential mayor or party boss of Beijing. Just how far the current crackdown against corruption will go remains to be seen. The campaign represents an effort by President Jiang Zemin to secure his position and enlist greater public support for the Communist Party, support that has waned considerably in the past few years. To some extent the campaign has been successful, as Beijing residents have been pleased to see corrupt officials and high-level businessmen such as Zhou Beifang, former chairman of Shougang International, punished for questionable deals. Sources in Beijing said that Mr Zhang might be able to hold out for some time because of his connections with several influential party elders. They said President Jiang might also decide not to rock the boat by replacing too many senior officials in the capital in one go.