A former top graft buster at China’s ministry for intelligence and counterintelligence has been indicted on bribery charges, just weeks before a major congress of the ruling Communist Party whose leader Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a signature issue.
Wednesday’s indictment of Liu Yanping, who headed the State Security Ministry’s branch of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, was a further reminder of Xi’s vow to attack corruption “amongst both the flies and tigers.”
State media said Liu had accepted “huge” amounts of property from others in return for favors. Those often include derailing investigations or offering promotions for cash.
He was expelled from the party earlier this month in a sign he would be indicted, tried, and almost certainly handed a lengthy prison term.
In that initial investigation, it was found that Liu had “lost his ideals and convictions,” was “downright corrupt politically.” He “traded political power for interests and distorted his power into a tool to seek political capital, personal benefits, and wealth,” the reports said.
Liu was found to have “engaged in superstitious activities” and accepted invitations to golf games, banquets, tours, and medical services from private businesspeople “that may compromise his impartiality in the performance of official duties,” the reports said.
Liu is just the latest in a series of high-level officials to undergo corruption charges in the politically sensitive run-up to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
On Friday, former deputy police minister Sun Lijun was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve on charges of manipulating the stock market, taking bribes, and other offenses. The case involved at least two former Cabinet officials.
In Sun’s case, a former justice minister and a former ruling party official who were accused of colluding with him received similar penalties. Sun was convicted of collecting 646 million renminbi ($91 million) in bribes and charged with using his official position in 2018 to manipulate stock trading to help a trader avoid losses. He also was accused of selling official jobs and abandoning his post during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier, Sun was named in a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department against Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn seeking to compel Wynn to register as a foreign agent. The department cited lobbying work it says Wynn performed for the Chinese government.
The lawsuit says senior officials including Sun wanted Wynn’s help in trying to have a Chinese citizen’s visa application denied, according to the complaint. Beijing wanted the man, who was charged with corruption and sought political asylum, returned to China.
Xi launched his anti-graft campaign shortly after taking over as party leader in late 2012. It has at times been seen as a tool to remove political rivals and intimidate the vast bureaucracy into doing his bidding. It also has sometimes sparked a public backlash, as in the case of the rigid enforcement of zero-COVID restrictions that have hobbled the economy and upended the lives of millions.
At next month’s Party Congress, Xi is expected to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader.