A senior official responsible for Taiwan affairs has been put under corruption investigation, the anti-graft watchdog announced yesterday, to the surprise of may political observers who had seen him as a rising star. Gong Qinggai, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations” – a term often used as a euphemism for corruption – the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said, without giving further details. Gong, 57, joined the Communist Party in 1979, starting his political career in Fujian province. He has been deputy mayor of Quanzhou, party chief of Jinjiang, as well as director of administration of the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone. He was named deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office in 2013. READ MORE: Former rising political star Su Shulin investigated over alleged corruption while at Chinese oil giant Sinopec A Fujian official said Gong’s peers were shocked at the news. “Gong is well-known as a clean-handed official. He was a rising star ... as every one here believed he was likely to replace TAO head Zhang Zhijun when the latter retires,” another official told the South China Morning Post on condition of anonymity. Gong is well-known as a clean-handed official. He was a rising star ... as every one here believed he was likely to replace TAO head Zhang Zhijun when the latter retires Chinese official speaking anonymous A former official from Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said : “I don’t believe he did anything wrong in cross-strait issues ... It’s possible he was involved in projects in Pingtan as he was in charge of everything there.” Another source close to the government said the probe into Gong might be linked to the province’s first “tiger” Xu Gang, former Fujian deputy governor, who was brought down in March 2015. “There is a saying in the Fujian official circle that all who were [former provincial party head] Lu Zhangong’s men, would be investigated as [President] Xi Jinping and Lu had a grudge when Xi was working under Lu,” the source said. Lu was Xi’s superior when Xi was a Fujian official in the early 2000s. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said: We have been paying attention to the mainland’s corruption crackdown ... Regarding Gong’s case, the council has no information ... and is not in a position to comment.” Xi has launched a massive anti-graft campaign since taking power three years ago. Many top officials have been implicated. Fujian governor Su Shulin, once a rising star and top executive in the mainland’s graft-ridden oil sector, was also under probe, authorities announced in October.