02/17/2015, 00.00
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China, anti-corruption campaign takes down more senior officials

Su Rong, former vice president of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the first state leader to fall out of favor in the age of Xi Jinping, was expelled from the Party and is awaiting trial. Si Xinliang, former provincial leader of Zhejiang, arrested along with his son. The head of the Department of Transportation in Beijing also in handcuffs, who ran a " license plate lottery " of the capital.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese Communist Party has formalized the expulsion of Su Rong, former vice president of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the first state leader to fall out of favor during President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. The official also held the post of party chief in the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Jiangxi. According to investigators, he will be tried "soon" on charges that he had accumulated "a huge amount of illegal profits" from the sale of public offices and other violations of internal discipline.

The Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection, a body that is carrying out the anti-corruption practices in the State and in the CCP, said Su allowed the family members to take advantage of their position, and that he is the main engine of the "massive corruption" that has shaken the province of Jianxi in recent years. According to investigations, the man's wife, Yu Lifang, would get a sinecure at the Minsheng Bank through Su's influence: the former president of the bank, Mao Xiaofeng, is also under investigation.

Su was arrested while still in office in June of 2014. His arrest triggered panic in the old leadership linked to the "Fourth Generation" - led by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao - because it eliminated de facto impunity granted to communist officials in state leadership. His arrest was followed by that of other high level officials, among them the former national security czar Zhou Yongkang, who is still awaiting trial.

The Commission announced yesterday that it had opened an investigation against Si Xinliang, former provincial leader of Zhejiang, who oversaw the organization department and propaganda department. The official retired two years ago, and it is unclear whether the investigation is connected or not to the anti-corruption campaign. His eldest son Li, manager of the Young Communist League in the same province, is also reportedly under investigation.

Song Jianguo, former head of the transport of Beijing, was charged instead of taking bribes worth 23 million yuan (about 1.8 million euro). According to the official authorities he demanded bribes even for the registry of license plates. In the capital, given the high number of cars on the road and the huge amount of smog, cars are registered by a public lottery every two months. In exchange for cash, Song "favored the extraction" of certain license plates.

The campaign "against tigers and flies" of corruption in China was launched by President Xi Jinping soon after he came to power in November 2012. It aims to punish the communist officials of at all levels who are found guilty of pocketing public money or having an exaggerated lifestyle. The great political analyst and dissident Bao Tong, however, disputed the true nature of this campaign, as a smoke screen for the settling of internal disputes within the Party.


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