BEIJING – The corruption watchdog inside China's Communist Party is investigating a former provincial vice governor, making him the latest senior official to come under scrutiny in the new leadership's campaign against corruption, state media said Tuesday.
The official Xinhua News Agency said that Ni Fake (pronounced NEE Fah-Kuh) was being investigated for "suspected serious disciplinary offenses." No further details were given, but such announcements typically indicate that the party official has been taken into custody.
The investigation was disclosed as official Chinese media report a blitz of coverage on the party's latest efforts to stem corruption that is a major source of public anger against the Communist Party.
According to his official resume, Ni was promoted in 2008 to the position of vice governor of Anhui province and was in charge of land, housing, environmental protection and other areas. Such sectors are often plagued by corruption, with officials in powerful positions wielding large influence over land sales, housing developments and factory licenses.
Anhui has made headlines in recent years because of problems in such areas. During a nationwide drive to build subsidized apartments, numerous complaints were filed by Anhui residents over units that had huge holes in the walls and floors. In 2011, a battery factory in Anhui sickened more than 200 children with lead poisoning.
Ni was replaced earlier this year during a leadership shuffle but no reason was provided.
Reports of the investigation into Ni come as state media have been plastered with headlines about the ongoing crackdown on corruption, which include the deployment of 10 inspection teams to various provinces and organizations.
The teams vowing to scrutinize high-level officials have been sent to check on five provinces and five government or state-linked organizations, including the Ministry of Water Resources, the China Grain Reserves Corporation, and the Export-Import Bank of China.
Anti-corruption experts have said, however, that as long as the party does not undertake reforms that serve to check its power, such as requiring officials to publicly declare their assets, the campaign will appear to address only the symptoms of corruption.