01/16/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Chinese authorities acknowledge that the country's national intelligence chief is under investigation

Ma Jian, deputy minister in the Ministry of State Security, which oversees the foreign and counterintelligence operations, is accused of "serious violations" of the law. Suspected of corruption, Ma is the latest top official to fall in President Xi Jinping's campaign against tigers and flies.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The ongoing campaign "against the tigers and the flies" of corruption in China's Communist Party and government has found another eminent victim.

Hong Kong media have reported that Ma Jian, the powerful head of China's national intelligence services, is under investigation for corruption. According to the Communist Party's discipline watchdog, Mr Ma was suspected of "serious violations" of the law.

Although only a deputy minister in the Ministry of State Security, which oversees foreign and counterintelligence operations, Ma has been China's de facto spy chief for the past five years.

Analysts and experts expect that criminal charges against him will be laid later. In the meantime, the existence of an investigation against him indicates that his very likely on his way out of the party.

His arrest is the latest in a series involving top Chinese political and economic leaders. Ironically, Ma himself was instrumental in the trial and conviction of Bo Xilai, the former powerful party boss in Chongqing and the first high-ranking official to fall in the current anti-corruption campaign.

When he took office in late 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to eradicate graft amongst party and government officials - the flies and tigers of the system - calling it a threat to the party's very survival.

In recent months, many officials have been toppled, the most senior being Zhou Yongkang, the former head of the Ministry of Public Security.

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