Former top China official to face bribery trial next week

BEIJING - A former senior economic planning officer charged with bribery in China will face trial next week, state media said Friday, as Beijing's much-publicised campaign against corruption continues.

Liu Tienan, the former deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), will be tried next Wednesday in Langfang in the northern province of Hebei, state-run China News Service reported.

Liu fell from grace after allegations of illegal activities first surfaced from a prominent journalist two years ago.

According to his June indictment, Liu sought benefits for others by taking advantage of his position, and accepted "an extremely large amount" of financial incentives, China's official Xinhua news agency previously reported.

He was placed under investigation last August after being expelled from the ruling Communist Party.

Xi Jinping took office as president last year vowing to root out corrupt officials ranging from high-ranking "tigers" to low-level "flies", and warning that graft could destroy the party.

Corruption has caused widespread public anger and the drive has been widely publicised. But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to combat it, while citizen activists calling for such measures have been jailed on public order offences.

Allegations against Liu surfaced in 2012 when a journalist at investigative magazine Caijing accused him of fraud, graft and sending death threats.

In addition to Liu, other current and former top figures who have been ensnared in the anti-corruption campaign include Jiang Jiemin, who oversaw state-owned firms, and Zhou Yongkang, China's powerful onetime internal security czar.

The drive has also seen a recent string of suicides among officials investigated for graft.

The latest such instance came Thursday, when a Communist Party secretary in the eastern city of Nanjing hanged himself after being disciplined for attending an "extravagant banquet", Xinhua reported.

Liu is scheduled to appear before the Langfang Intermediate People's Court next Wednesday morning, according to China News Service.