China probes VP of highest court for graft

China probes VP of highest court for graft
The front facade of the Supreme People's Court in Beijing.
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

BEIJING - The vice president of China's highest court has been put under investigation, the ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption agency said, the most senior member of the judiciary to be probed as part of a highly publicised anti-graft campaign.

Xi Xiaoming, 61, who joined the Supreme People's Court in 1982, is being probed for suspected "serious disciplinary violations and breaking the law", the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a one line notice.

In May, Xi was tapped to lead a newly created research group focusing on China's civil code.

The notice gave no further details of the charges in the brief statement posted on its website.

Under President Xi Jinping, China's ruling Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to combat rampant graft in the face of public anger over the issue, with Xi vowing to target both high-level "tigers" and low-ranking "flies".

Last month, a court jailed China's former security chief Zhou Yongkang for life on corruption charges, making him the highest-ranking ex-official to be sentenced in decades.

Xiao Tian, a deputy head of China's sports administration, was also put under investigation in June, and is the most senior sport official snared by the campaign so far.

State media meanwhile reported that the ruling Communist party's disciplinary body has targeted 26 state-owned enterprises in a round of investigations that began late February.

The most recent announcement may point to the beginning of corruption probes into the judicial system.

President Xi has emphasised improving the "rule of law" in China, but maintained that the justice system must still ultimately answer to the ruling Communist Party.

But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to increase transparency and help tackle the problem, leaving the drive open to being used for factional in-fighting, while anti-corruption demonstrators have been jailed.

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