Influential former China news publisher caught in anti-graft net

BEIJING - The former publisher of a prominent Chinese newspaper known for its investigative reporting has been caught in China's widening anti-graft net.

Dai Zigeng, 56, is being investigated for "serious violations of discipline and law" - an euphemism for corruption - the Beijing municipal corruption watchdog announced in a statement Monday (June 10).

The statement didn't offer any details of alleged wrongdoings.

Dai was publisher of the Beijing News from 2006 to 2017. During his stint, the state-owned newspaper won a reputation for investigations exposing vaccine scandals, ill-treatment of the disabled and other social woes that are rarely highlighted by other Chinese media.

Dai, a communist party cadre, made headlines in 2013 after threatening to resign from his position at Beijing News in support of another critical publication, The Southern Weekly, that was protesting government censorship.

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Dai previously worked at the party-owned Guangming Daily for nearly two decades, reporting from the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang and China's industrial hub, Guangzhou.

He joined a state-owned financing platform Beijing Cultural Investment Development Group, which invested in media and culture-related ventures after stepping down from the Beijing News in 2017.

The statement from the anti-graft watchdog didn't offer details on whether Dai was still employed as vice chairman of the company or whether the investigation is linked to Dai's time at Beijing News or his other roles.

Dai is part of a growing group of Communist Party cadres caught in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign, which critics say has served as a way to remove the leader's political enemies.

Over one million officials have been punished so far during Xi's six-year tenure.