October 8, 2017 / 5:41 AM / 2 months ago

Chinese watchdog says 1.34 million officials punished for graft since 2013

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s anti-graft watchdog said roughly 1.34 million lower-ranking officials have been punished since 2013 under President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

Xi, who is preparing for a major Communist Party leadership conference later this month, has made an anti-graft campaign targeting “tigers and flies”, both high and low ranking officials, a core policy priority during his five-year term.

China is preparing for the 19th Congress later this month, a twice-a-decade leadership event where Xi is expected to consolidate power and promote his policy positions.

Those punished for graft since 2013 include 648,000 village-level officials and most crimes were related to small scale corruption, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Sunday.

While much of the country’s anti-graft drive has targeted lower ranking village and county officials, several high-ranking figures have been taken down.

In August the head of the anti-graft committee for China’s Ministry of Finance was himself put under investigation for suspected graft.

In September a senior military officer who sits on China’s powerful Central Military Commission, overseen by Xi, was detained and questioned over corruption-related offenses, Reuters reported.

The CCDI said 155,000 country-level party bureaux have set up corruption policing mechanisms as of August, representing 94.8 percent of total bureaus.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Michael Perry

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