ANTI-CORRUPTION CRACKDOWN

Nanjing Communist Party chief in corruption probe stripped of post

Graft investigation into Yang Weize, ex-party chief in the eastern Chinese city, was announced on Sunday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 January, 2015, 8:13pm

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The Communist Party’s chief in Nanjing in eastern China has been stripped of his post four days after it was announced that he was under investigation for corruption.

The decision to remove Yang Weize from office was made by the party’s Central Committee, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The party’s anti-corruption investigators announced on Sunday that Yang, 52, was suspected of a “serious violation of party discipline and law”, a form of words often used by the authorities in China to describe graft.

No details were given of the allegations made against him.

One woman allegedly involved in Yang’s case has been detained by anti-corruption investigators in Wuxi near Nanjing in Jiangsu province, according to Jiemian, a news website operated by the Shanghai United Media group.

The report cited several unnamed sources as saying that Yu Minyan, a 31-year-old propaganda department chief in a development zone in Wuxi, was detained on Sunday night.

The article described Yu as a confidante of Yang and an unnamed official said she had only smiled when asked about her relationship with the former Nanjing party chief.

Yang had appeared at a meeting when Yu was announced as propaganda chief four years ago and it was rare for such a senior official to mark the appointment of a relatively low-level cadre, sources in Wuxi told the news website.

Jiemian was unable to contact Yu to respond to the allegations.

The news website also alleged that the investigation into Yang may focus on alleged corruption during his time in office in the Jiangsu province transportation department in the 1990s.

The Beijing News reported that before the graft probe was announced Yang had been attempting to distance himself from the former mayor of Nanjing, Ji Jianye, who was detained in a corruption investigation in October 2013.

Disagreements between the pair, including disputes over an 18-billion yuan (HK$22.6 billion) water and sewage project, were an “open secret”, the Mirror newspaper previously reported.

State media have emphasised in recent days that Yang had previously served as Communist Party chief in Wuxi.

It is the home town of Zhou Yongkang, the former national security czar who is also under investigation for graft.

Most reports stopped short of saying the two cases were directly linked, but the Beijing Youth Daily said Yang had been introduced to Zhou when his brother worked at the land and resources department in a district of Wuxi.

State media have also reported that Yang had worked with other officials accused of corruption.

They are Mao Xiaoping, the former mayor of Wuxi where Yang served as party secretary between 2004 and 2011; Jiang Renjie, the ex-deputy mayor of Suzhou when Yang was mayor of the city between 2001 and 2004; and Zhang Junyuan, the former deputy head of the Jiangsu transport department when Yang was its chief between 1998 and 2000, the reports said.

Yang had previously been considered a rising star in the Communist Party.

He was praising President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in an article in the Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily in September.

“It’s easy to be a good official for a short period, but to remain a good official for a lifetime is much harder,” he wrote.

He was still carrying out regular duties in recent days, inspecting work carried out in a district of Nanjing on December 29 in its anti-corruption drive, according to local official media.

Yang started climbing the bureaucratic ladder as a clerk in the provincial transport department in Jiangsu in 1981.