Liu Zhijun, China's Minister of Railways, has been placed under investigation for serious disciplinary violations, according to the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.

Liu, 58, who has served as the railways chief for eight years, was also replaced as the ministry's Communist Party secretary. He had been managing the country’s massive multi-billion dollar investment program for China’s railway system.

Sheng Guangzu, 62, chief of the General Administration of Customs, has reportedly been named to replace Liu.

While no details were released about the investigation, its language suggests Liu is being accused of corruption – a phenomenon China has admitted is still [a] very serious problem in the country. Reportedly, Chinese authorities have investigated more than 200,000 cases - including embezzlement and bribery - since 2003.

Just last month, Zhang Jingli, former deputy director of the State Food and Drug Administration, was removed from his post for serious violations, reportedly for taking bribes.

Other high-ranking officials punished for corruption include Kang Rixin, a former head of the China National Nuclear Corporation, and Huang Yao, former chairman of the Guizhou Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Party officials have introduced measures to require its membership to reveal income and investments.

President Hu Jintao has pledged to fight corruption.