China's Communist Party expels official of power gear maker for graft

China's Communist Party expels official of power gear maker for graft

BEIJING - China's ruling Communist Party has expelled a senior official of a state-run power equipment maker for taking huge bribes in violation of the law, the party's anti-graft watchdog said on Monday.

The removal of Huang Baodong, deputy general manager of Power Construction Corporation of China, adds to evidence that the power sector could be the latest to face anti-graft probes by the government.

After Xi Jinping became president in March last year, China has launched several probes into the energy sector, as part of a broader campaign to clamp down on graft in a government widely seen as rife with corruption.

But the drive is also seen as a tool to remove Xi's opponents, in an unprecedented campaign that targets some of China's most high-ranking officials. "Huang Baodong took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others, and accepted huge amounts of bribes from others," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website, but gave no details of the sums involved. "His behaviour constituted a serious violation of the law." The government has not made clear who the targets of its corruption investigation are.

But the party has already set its sights on the state-owned energy sector, including State Grid Corp of China, PetroChina , and its parent firm, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).

Earlier this month, the party's anti-graft watchdog said it was conducting inspections at Power Construction Corp and state-controlled power equipment maker China XD Group.

In March, the chairman and the president of Three Gorges Corp., the company that built the $59-billion project for the world's biggest hydro-power scheme, stepped down, but they have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

A crackdown on China's National Energy Administration (NEA) is intensifying as two more top officials are being investigated for taking bribes, state media said on Friday, days after probes into two other NEA officials were announced.

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