China investigation into state energy body intensifies

BEIJING (Reuters) - A crackdown on China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) is intensifying as two more top officials are being investigated for taking bribes, state media said on Friday, days after investigations into two other NEA officials were announced.

The latest two officials undergoing investigation were Xu Yongsheng, deputy director of the NEA, and Wang Jun, head of the agency’s renewable energy department, the official Xinhua news agency said.

On Wednesday, Xinhua reported investigations into Hao Weiping, director of the administration’s nuclear power department, and Wei Pengyuan, deputy director of the coal department.

Since Xi Jinping assumed the presidency in March last year, China has launched a series of probes into the energy sector as part of a broader campaign to clamp down on official graft in a government widely seen as rife with corruption.

But the drive is also seen as a tool to remove Xi’s opponents in an unprecedented campaign that targets some of China’s most high-ranking officials.

The State Grid Corp of China said this month that it was the focus of a government audit, after a magazine report that one of its most senior executives was under investigation.

Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Ron Popeski