A senior Chinese monetary policymaker is under investigation by the party’s top antigraft watchdog, in the latest sign that Beijing’s sweeping disciplinary crackdown on the nation’s financial sector has accelerated at the upper levels of the central bank. Sun Guofeng, 49, head of the monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), was removed from office this month and is now subject to a disciplinary review and supervisory investigation on suspicion of “serious violations of discipline and the law” – a common euphemism for corruption. The short statement, issued by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the Tianjin municipal supervisory commission on Wednesday, did not elaborate on the accusations he is facing. Sun attended a press conference in person on April 14 to discuss an easing of monetary policy. China’s enforcers shift focus from corruption to poor performance The announcement made Sun the latest addition to a growing list of detentions and charges announced against high-ranking financial officials and premier institutions’ managers. Before his case, the CCDI announced on April 28 that Zhan Hao, the former director of the General Technology Department of the PBOC’s Financial Information Centre, had been placed under investigation, also suspected of “serious violations of discipline and law”. That was after at least 17 officials in the financial sector, including China Merchants Bank’s former president, Tian Huiyu, were probed or penalised in the same month. Dozens of financial officials have been ensnared since October, when the party launched a wave of inspections into financial institutions and regulators. Sun was born in July 1972. He started working at the PBOC in August 1996 and was head of its monetary policy department since August 2018. The department is responsible for setting the intermediate targets in monetary policy; coordinating efforts to achieve the target; proposing various options of monetary policy instruments and organising their implementation, according to the official website of the PBOC. The department is also tasked with formulating interest rate policy and administrative rules for the Chinese yuan and foreign currencies, and the yuan-exchange-rate policy, along with proposing and implementing interest-rate-adjustment plans and exchange-rate-reform programmes; formulating and implementing policy and operational rules for open-market operations; and providing secretariat services to the Monetary Policy Committee of the PBOC. Sun’s probe came as Beijing is trying to prevent financial risks in its state-dominated financial system from spiralling out of control as the nation’s economy slows. The CCDI uncovered a number of weaknesses within the financial sector during a two-month investigation that concluded in February and included 25 institutions, including the central bank, the banking and insurance regulator, stock exchanges, commercial banks and asset-management companies. China’s corruption watchdog cracks down on bribe-givers In a statement on February 24, CCDI official Gao Fei said the central bank had not done enough work to implement President Xi Jinping’s objectives on financial work. The PBOC’s guidance to financial institutions fell short of public expectations, and it still needs to do more to address private and small businesses’ financing problems, according to a statement by the CCDI that quoted Gao. “There are deficiencies and weak links in financial-risk governance in key areas; the impact of promoting deepening financial reform is not apparent enough; and the building of financial regulations is relatively sluggish,” the statement said. The Politburo, chaired by Xi, also released a statement following the CCDI inspection, saying that Beijing would strengthen control of China’s financial risks and steady the economy. Zou Lan, head of the PBOC’s financial market department, was reportedly given Sun’s position, according to The Economic Observer on Wednesday.