March 20, 2015 / 6:58 AM / 5 years ago

China investigates provincial environment official for graft

BEIJING (Reuters) - The former environment chief in China’s coal-rich northern Shanxi province is being investigated, the country’s anti-graft watchdog said, the latest official to come under suspicion in a broad crackdown on corruption.

President Xi Jinping has spent the past two years waging war on corruption, saying it threatens the survival of the ruling Communist Party. Scores of senior officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned enterprises have been brought down by the campaign.

Shanxi, the top coal producing province, has been on the front lines of Xi’s fight, which coincides with government promises to crack down on polluters.

Liu Xiangdong, head of environmental protection in Shanxi was “suspected of serious violations of discipline,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The commission did not provide further details but the language it used was typical of that which authorities use to refer to corruption.

Pollution and corruption are two of China’s most sensitive political issues because of the anger they cause amongst the Chinese public.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel

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