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Corruption in China

Another ex-mayor exits and Nanjing wins place in China’s political record books

  • City’s former mayor comes under investigation – just as his predecessor and boss before him
PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2018, 9:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2018, 9:33pm

To lose one mayor may be regarded as a misfortune but now Nanjing, the capital of the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, has achieved the rare distinction of losing two mayors and a Communist Party chief in five years.

The party’s anti-graft watchdog and the new National Supervisory Commission announced on Thursday that Miao Ruilin – the city’s mayor from late 2013 until he was promoted to Jiangsu vice-governor in January this year – was under investigation on suspicion of severe violation of state laws and party discipline, a common euphemism for corruption.

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Before Miao, 54, took over in Nanjing, the post was held by Ji Jianye, who had held the job for three years before he, too, was investigated over similar violations. Ji was jailed for 15 years in 2015 for taking more than 10 million yuan in bribes.

Both Miao and Ji before him served under Yang Weize, the party secretary of the city until he was also investigated and jailed for 12½ years in 2016 for corruption.

Sources close to the Nanjing government said Miao kept a fairly low profile in the city, with little apparent appetite to pursue ambitious projects.

“It was a stark contrast with his active role as the party chief and mayor of Suqian,” one of the sources said.

Miao was promoted to be party boss of Suqian in 2011 at the age of 47, making him the youngest person to hold the top job in a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu.

“Since Miao became less active in Nanjing, it is widely believed in Jiangsu political circles that Miao’s mistakes, if any, were committed when he was the head of Suqian,” another source who had direct contact with Miao said.

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Another factor, according the second source, could be the downfall of Qiu He, one of Miao’s former bosses in Suqian who was ousted in March 2015 while party secretary of Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan in the country’s southwest.

The source said the two men were close and made significant contributions to Suqian’s development.

Like Nanjing, Kunming has had a run of losses of top officials, with the downfall of four consecutive party heads – Yang Chongyong, Qiu He, Zhang Tianxin and Gao Jinsong – who were either imprisoned or demoted for corruption or other wrongdoings.

Shanxi and Hebei provinces have also seen seven officials at the vice-provincial level or above removed and punished for various transgressions since late 2012.

In Shanxi, some of the biggest names to go were Ling Zhengce, the former vice-chairman of the provincial political advisory body; Shen Weichen, the former party boss and executive vice-president of the China Association for Science and Technology; and Jin Daoming, the former deputy chief of the party’s provincial committee.

In Hebei, provincial party boss Zhou Benshun and six of his colleagues met their downfall in President Xi Jinping’s unprecedented crackdown on corruption.

Another epicentre of campaign is the National Energy Administration, where successive top energy officials have come under investigation – first Liu Tienan in 2013 and then Nur Bekri this year.