Chinese official latest to be investigated in leadership's anti-corruption drive
Liu Tienan, deputy head of economic planning agency, to be questioned about 'suspected serious disciplinary violations'
Associated Press in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Monday 13 May 2013 07.09 BST
Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into the deputy head of the economic planning agency, the latest high-level official to become ensnared in the new leadership's anti-corruption drive.
The ruling Communist party's disciplinary agency said in a one-sentence statement on its website that Liu Tienan, deputy head of the cabinet's National Development and Reform Commission, was being investigated for "suspected serious disciplinary violations".
The statement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Sunday did not provide further details. But the investigation is being seen by Chinese state media as the party's response to corruption allegations against Liu made by a prominent journalist in December.
Liu, 58, wields significant power in his position as deputy chief of the planning agency in charge of steering the world's second largest economy. Liu had also been director of the National Energy Administration, which carried out the country's energy policy, until he was replaced in March.
The journalist who first publicly accused Liu of corruption, Luo Changping, deputy editor-in-chief of the respected Caijing magazine*2, said in posts on his microblog in December that Liu had shady ties with a businessman, was involved in large, problematic bank loans and fabricated his academic qualifications*3.
Luo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In announcing the investigation into Liu, the party did not address Luo's specific allegations against the official. The National Energy Administration's press office initially dismissed Luo's allegations as "pure slander".
China's new leadership under the Communist party chief, Xi Jinping, has vowed to root out the widespread graft that has angered the public and undermined the party's legitimacy.
Liu is the latest high-level official to be investigated for corruption since Xi took power. In December, a deputy party secretary of Sichuan province was removed from his post following state media reports that he was suspected of influence-peddling and questionable real estate deals.
“China probes top economy official for 'disciplinary violations'” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22506786
China detains activist Liu Ping on subversion charges
Liu Ping is one of at least 10 activists who have been detained for campaigning for officials to publicly disclose their assets
Reuters in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 May 2013 10.43 BST
Chinese police have detained an activist agitating for officials to disclose their assets on subversion charges, her lawyer said on Wednesday, underscoring the limits of an anti-corruption push by President Xi Jinping.
Xi, who became Communist party chief in November and president in March, has called for a crackdown on corruption, warning, as many have before him, that the problem is so severe it could threaten the party's survival.
But China has detained at least 10 activists who have led a campaign for officials to publicly disclose their wealth – the first co-ordinated crackdown by the new government on activists, according to Maya Wang, a researcher with the Asia division at Human Rights Watch.
The detention of Liu Ping, 48, makes her the first person to be singled out by the government for putting pressure on officials over their wealth.
Police from Xinyu, in the southern province of Jiangxi, detained Liu for "inciting subversion of state power", her lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, said. The charge is often levelled against critics of the party.
Police could not be reached for comment.
Liu, who has also advocated on women's rights issues, last year started demanding that officials disclose their assets, Zheng said. She took her campaign to the internet and to fellow Chinese.
Zheng said he did not know the exact reason for Liu's detention, but added that he had warned her "to be aware of her actions" six months ago.
"I felt that her profile was too high, I thought she should quieten her heart and just carry out very basic activities for citizens' rights and the law," Zheng said. "But Liu Ping is a person who can't be idle."
Xi's ascendancy in a once-in-a-decade generational leadership transition had given many Chinese hope for political reform, spurring citizens to push officials to disclose their wealth in several movements throughout the country.
Xu Zhiyong, the founder of one such movement, said he was being held under house arrest and that "it could be due to his campaign to push for asset disclosure".
Wang of Human Rights Watch said the detentions of the anti-corruption activists appeared to be part of a co-ordinated campaign to halt public calls for fighting corruption.
"How can calling for anti-graft measures be a crime?" Wang said. "Liu Ping's detention makes Xi Jinping's stated policy goal to fight graft seem like tiresome, broken rhetoric."