The Communist Party of China on Monday expelled high-ranking officials on corruption charges, as Beijing intensifies efforts to combat deep-rooted corruption in the government.
China has banished leading officials from the Party, including Xu Caihou, former vice president of China’s Military Commission; Jiang Jiemin, former head of the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which oversees giant state-owned businesses in more than 100 industries; Li Dongsheng, former vice minister of Public Security; and Wang Yongchun, former vice general manager of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, Xinhua, the state-run news agency, reported.
"We must insist on governing the party in a strict manner," President Xi Jinping said in a meeting to discuss efforts to reduce graft among Party members, according to Xinhua. “Officials at all levels must keep clean, use their power in the right way and be able to withstand temptation.”
Xu was reportedly under investigation since March 15 and was found to have received bribes "personally and through his family members," the South China Morning Post reported, adding that he will now face court martial and could potentially be handed a death sentence.
The latest expulsions followed a Monday meeting of the political bureau of the Party's Central Committee, which approved steps to improve the investigative process. State-owned businesses in China are reportedly worth about 84 trillion yuan ($15 trillion).
“Xu Caihou was being protected for a long time even after the corruption allegations surfaced, but his protective umbrella can no longer help him,” Zhang Lifan, a historian and an expert on Chinese politics told Wall Street Journal. “This is not just about corruption: Behind it there is a power struggle going on, and this is designed to send a message to Xi Jinping's opponents."
Nearly 30 officials at the provincial government level have been investigated on corruption charges since November 2012, while more than 480 officials have been punished, Xinhua reported, citing the Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Chinese officials, over the past few months, have also investigated the operations of foreign companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), Roche Holding Ltd. (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).
“If a senior official is corrupted, it would be hard for his inferiors to keep clean. If there was a large group of low-level corrupt officials, it would not be surprising to find a big boss behind them,” Huang Weiting, a researcher with the official magazine for the Central Committee, said, according to Xinhua, adding: "We cannot take them down if we do not fight them both.”