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China Continues Corruption Probe into Top State Officials

As part of a giant investigation into graft (bribery and corruption) amongst China’s major, state-owned companies, the ruling Communist Party has just dismissed Jiang Jiemin, the head of the commission that oversees the state-owned companies

On Sunday government officials announced that their investigation would focus on Jiang, and by Tuesday the director and deputy chief of the Cabinet’s commission in charge of all state run companies had been fired, according to the official Xinhua News agency.

Jiang Jiemin
Jiang Jiemin. (SCMP)

Jiang, the former chairman at China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), joins four other top level executives who have fallen at the hands of the graft investigation in recent days, as the government looks to tighten its control on government owned industries.

The powerful state run industries have been blamed in the past for blocking government plans to introduce change and reforms, but since taking power in November, Xi Jinping has taken the fight to the conglomerates in a huge campaign to root out corruption.

Related article: China’s Hydrocarbon Buying Spree Hits $19billion

Willy Lam, an expert on party politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, explained that the huge state-run firms are “empires unto themselves. They have too much money and too much power. This could be a signal that the Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang leadership is finally trying to discipline them and keep a tighter rein over the conglomerates.”

The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese newspaper, reported that Jiang also had close ties to Bo Xilai, the disgraced politician who was also charged with corruption and abuse of power last month. Whilst at CNPC, Jiang often built refineries in provinces where Bo held power, helping to further boost his political status.

Also as part of the widespread investigation, the People’s Daily newspaper reported that Zhang Shuguang, the former head of the former Railways Ministry, has been charged with receiving over $7.6 million in bribes from 2000 to 2011.

Zhou Yongkang, a former security czar and general manager of CNPC with powerful connections in the oil industry, is also being investigated for corruption, along with Hua Bangsong, one of the energy industry’s richest self-made entrepreneurs.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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