China’s former civil affairs minister Li Liguo and his deputy are under investigation by the Communist Party’s top graft watchdog, an official said on Monday. The announcement from an official with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection confirmed a report by the South China Morning Post in November, which cited sources as saying Li and his deputy Dou Yupei were being investigated on suspicion of severe violations of party discipline, a euphemism for corruption. Both officials were removed from their posts in the ministry in November. China’s civil affairs minister and deputy ‘under investigation’ Li was replaced as the civil affairs minister by former CCDI deputy chief Huang Shuxian in early November, and Dou was removed from his position as deputy minister a week later. The news of their investigations was announced by Luo Dongchuan during a press conference in Beijing on Monday. Li, 63, a full member of the party’s Central Committee, should have attended the party’s sixth plenary session in late October. But he was not seen in CCTV news footage of the closing ceremony, prompting widespread speculation that he had fallen foul of the authorities. Luo, the CCDI official, did not give reasons for the investigation. Li joined the civil affairs ministry as a deputy head in 2003 and was named head of the ministry in 2010. Dou worked in the civil affairs ministry for more than 34 years. He was promoted to a vice-minister in late 2005 at the age of 48.