Date
26 September 2017
China Unicom is among a number of giant state firms being targeted by graft-busters. The others include Sinopec and  China Southern Airlines. Photo: Bloomberg
China Unicom is among a number of giant state firms being targeted by graft-busters. The others include Sinopec and China Southern Airlines. Photo: Bloomberg

China graft-busters target state firms ahead of reform

State-run conglomerates are under stepped-up inspections by China’s anti-corruption watchdog as part of the most ambitious reform of government industry in nearly two decades.

Anti-graft inspectors are targeting 53 strategic central government-owned groups, where top executives hold the rank of deputy government ministers, Reuters reported Monday, citing a state industry source.

President Xi Jinping has warned that the problem of official graft is serious enough to threaten the Communist Party’s legitimacy and has vowed to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.

Graft-busters have gone after business leaders and politicians alike.

On Friday, one of the country’s top spy chiefs became the latest official to be caught in the dragnet, signaling that the boldest crackdown on corruption in decades had spilled over into China’s powerful intelligence apparatus, the report said.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the ruling Communist Party’s top anti-corruption body, said it would inspect all central government state-owned enterprises this year, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In November, the watchdog announced it had dispatched teams to eight big state firms, including China Southern Airlines Co., China Unicom (0762.HK), Dongfeng Motor Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec).

It said it would prosecute Zong Xinhua, the former head of China Unicom’s e-commerce and information technology unit.

China Southern chief financial officer Xu Jiebo, along with three other top executives at the carrier, were put under investigation and sacked for suspected criminal wrongdoing earlier this month.

The SOE anti-graft efforts coincide with China’s imminent roll-out of ambitious new guidelines to overhaul the country’s inefficient state sector.

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the ministry-level body that directly oversees 112 central government industrial and service conglomerates, is expected to publish the reform plans before the end of March.

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CG/RA

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