The downfall of Fujian deputy governor Xu Gang was partly related to his opposition to a controversial port project likely backed by Xi Jinping before he became president, state media and a source within the provincial government have said. After months of rumours that Xu was a target, the national anti-graft agency announced on Friday that he was under investigation for suspected violations of discipline, a standard euphemism for graft. Xu is the wealthy coastal province's first big "tiger" to fall in Xi's intensifying crackdown on corruption. Party mouthpiece People's Daily ran an article on its Weibo account almost immediately after the announcement, saying Xu's problems extended beyond corruption and included "political" matters. In 2008, the Fujian government decided to take control of all the deep-water sea ports along a stretch of its busiest coast to streamline management. But the move was met with "extreme opposition" from Xu, who was party secretary of Quanzhou , which operated one of the largest ports in the area, the article said. Xu used "a series of abnormal measures" to boycott the project, the article said, quoting a senior provincial government official. He allegedly used media to turn residents against the project, suggesting local interests would be hurt - such as through an erosion of tax revenues - if control shifted to the provincial government. Protests erupted and Xu won - the streamlining project is still on hold - but he made many enemies at the provincial headquarters in Fuzhou . Xi became the province's deputy party chief in 1995 and governor in 1999 before moving to Zhejiang in 2002. But his connections to Fujian remained, and there were indications he backed overhauling the ports. In 2010, the Meizhou Port Bureau under the provincial government said on their website that they would carry out instructions by Xi, who had risen to vice-president, to complete the port integration as soon as possible. A source within the provincial government also said Xu's opposition to the project was a reason he was placed under probe. A provincial leader criticised him for "not obeying discipline", and "using public opinions to address an issue that could be solved by internal discussions in the government", the Daily said. Other sources close to the provincial government said Xu's subordinates and local residents had filed complaints about his high-handed style when he was Quanzhou party chief. A letter published by a "retired Quanzhou cadre" on the internet in 2011 alleged Xu had become "an arbitrary party chief for the property industry". He was said to be close to real estate developers that carried out several controversial development projects in Quanzhou's old town.