China's top graft-buster says no off limits in probes

BEIJING Sat Jul 5, 2014 4:07am EDT

Then member of Central Military Commission Xu Caihou attends a meeting in Changchun, Jilin province July 14, 2004. REUTERS/Stringer

Then member of Central Military Commission Xu Caihou attends a meeting in Changchun, Jilin province July 14, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - No part of China's ruling Communist Party is off limits for its crackdown on corruption, the country's top graft buster was quoted as saying, sounding a warning a few days after the one of the country's most senior former soldiers was purged.

The party this week announced that Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year, had been expelled from the party and will be court-martialled after being accused of corruption.

President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission, which controls the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, has launched a drive against pervasive graft since assuming office.

Speaking during a visit to the northern region of Inner Mongolia, Wang Qishan, who heads the party's efforts to combat corruption, warned that every part of the party would be liable for inspection.

"Inspection work is a 'health check' for the party. There are no off limits for oversight within in the party, and there are no exceptions," the party's graft watchdog cited Wang as saying, in a statement issued late on Friday.

President Xi has vowed to take down powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies".

Xu is the most senior person to date to have been felled.

However, a potentially far juicier scandal is brewing - the case of the powerful former domestic security chief, Zhou Yongkang.

Sources have told Reuters that Zhou is under virtual house arrest, and while the party made no announcement about his case, many of his allies have been publicly taken down.

On the same day Xu's fate was announced, three other former senior officials were also expelled from the party, all closely connected with Zhou, including the one-time head of the state assets regulator and a former deputy public security minister.

The party has sent numerous teams into the provinces and government departments to expose corruption.

Problems discovered during this process show that the party is "absolutely correct" in its judgement that corruption remains a serious and complex problem, Wang added.

"It warns us that we must take the arresting of the spread of corruption as our aim and mission, and that these inspections are absolutely something we cannot do without," he said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (1)
aztec69 wrote:
The Xu case is even more interesting than the Bo case was and I’m a sure a lot of top PLA officers are worried sick, as well as mid-level officers who have just started their own large scale graft and corruption careers, a traditional perk of the job. Two numbers come to mind at the moment. First, according to one reliable source Xu will be charged with stealing about $1.6 million, small change in China, in his formal indictment. Second, according to another reliable source Xu has already returned $160 million that he got await with but apparently didn’t manage to hide very well. The question is, will be survive long enough to enjoy the millions or billions more than he and his relatives managed to stash away out of reach? Stay tuned.

Jul 06, 2014 9:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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