Beijing works hard to remove smell of corruption around sacked vice-mayor Beijing has stepped up its battle against corruption to repair the city's image - tarnished by a scandal involving a vice-mayor. With the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games barely two years away, Vice-Mayor Liu Jingmin said the downfall of Liu Zhihua had raised alarm bells among Olympics organisers. But preparations for the Games had not been affected by the scandal. Mr Liu, who is also executive vice-president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog), reiterated authorities' pledges to host a corruption-free event. Liu Zhihua, 57, formerly the vice-mayor in charge of the Beijing municipality's Olympic construction office, has been removed from his post over corruption claims and allegations he led a 'decadent lifestyle'. Since June he has been under shuanggui - a form of Communist Party disciplinary investigation. The party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection was still looking into the case, Mr Liu said. As well as his Olympics role, Liu Zhihua was responsible for the city's construction, housing, transport and sports activities. Games organisers, well aware that Liu Zhihua's fall from grace has tainted the corruption-free image of the 2008 event, have been keen to distance themselves from the disgraced vice-mayor. The Bocog vice-president acknowledged the widespread speculation about links between the sacking and the Games. He indicated that, despite his job title, Liu Zhihua had not been deeply involved in the Olympics. 'To be frank, Liu's influence on Beijing's preparations for the Olympics has been fairly limited because he was not a member of Bocog, nor did he participate in any decision-making in Bocog,' he said. Major decisions regarding Olympics construction were made by the organising committee. The city is expected to spend up to US$2 billion on sports venues, and billions more on new subway lines, roads and other facilities ahead of the Games. 'We believe that Liu Zhihua's downfall is mainly due to his own problems,' he said. 'But it would be too early to say that his case did not have anything to do with the Olympics. I can say that Bocog is clean and has not been affected by Liu.' He said construction of the Olympic venues had not been affected by the case. The introduction of tendering for Olympic construction projects had made the process much less prone to corruption. In the wake of the scandal, Mr Liu and the heads of 23 Bocog departments signed a pledge on Thursday to combat corruption. 'In the light of Liu's case, we must be put on full alert as the two-year countdown to the opening of the Olympics on August 8, 2008, approaches. We must make sure that we keep our pledges to host a corruption-free Olympics. As far as I know, there has been no report so far of corruption charges involving Bocog or its staff,' he said. Mr Liu explained the lengths to which China had gone to keep the Games preparations corruption-free. A little known anti-graft watchdog had been set up by the central government the day the organising committee was established in November 2001, he said. The 23-strong group, chaired by Vice-Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian , included officials from the National Auditing Office and National People's Congress delegates. In addition, 10 auditors answering to the state council had, since last year, been conducting a twice-yearly scrutiny of Bocog's budget and spending. Bocog also keeps in close contact with the corruption watchdog Transparency International. 'I am confident in the anti-corruption campaign for the Olympics,' Mr Liu said.