China’s Railway Minister Loses Post in Corruption Inquiry (Updated)

Liu Zhijun, China’s railway minister, has been removed from his position on suspicion of corruption. From the New York Times:

The inquiry raises questions about China’s deep investment in high-speed railways, a vast nationwide initiative that has been a favorite project of Mr. Liu, who has spent his entire career in the ministry.

Mr. Liu, 58, is being investigated for “severe violation of discipline,” according to the Xinhua report, which cited the Communist Party’s discipline watchdog. The report did not give details on the exact infractions.

Before Mr. Liu, perhaps the most prominent official to be felled on charges was Chen Liangyu, the party boss of Shanghai and an ally of Jiang Zemin, the former president of China; Mr. Chen was dismissed from his Shanghai post in 2006 and sentenced in 2008 to 18 years in prison.

Mr. Liu’s family has been dogged by charges of abuse of power. In April 2006, Mr. Liu’s younger brother, Liu Zhixiang, was given a suspended death sentence by a court in Hubei Province for hiring people to kill a man who had revealed that he was a corrupt official. The brother, who was the head of the bureau in the city of Wuhan, was also convicted of taking bribes and embezzling public funds and property worth more than $5 million over a nine-year period.

For more background on in the railway industry, and in Liu Zhijun’s family, see a 2009 article from the Los Angeles Times, “Corruption derails travel plans for many Chinese.”

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