Senior Chinese Commerce Official Deposed for Graft

By Zhang Bin, Liu Peng
Published: 2009-03-12

A senior official in China's Ministry of Commerce was deposed after being found guilty of demanding some businesses to foot his personal bills, the EO learned.

Xu Xi'he, deputy director of the Ministry's Market Operation Regulation Department, had approached some companies with large quantities of receipts and received reimbursement claims from them, a source told the Economic Observer on March 11.

At the Ministry, Xu was in charged of the livestock and poultry business sector. His removal took place when the country's top legislators were gathering in Beijing for the annual plenary session.

As of press time, the Ministry had yet to make public any details or investigation outcome regarding Xu's removal.

Though sacking of senior officials would usually be announced and posted on the government portal, reasons for the removal were more often than not left out.

In its efforts to fight graft, the Chinese authorities from time to time released data concerning graft cases investigated and solved. However, details of investigations were usually kept under a tight lid.

For example, the latest report presented by China's Supreme People's Procuratorate on March 10 to the delegates attending the annual plenary session of National People's Congresswas full of statistics relating to misconduct in the Chinese government.

The report stated that 33,546 cases involving 41,179 officials were investigated last year, with cases including graft, dereliction of duty and abuse of power.

Of the figure, 33,953 people had been prosecuted, an increase of 10.1% over 2007. Those prosecuted included high-level officials, including four from the provincial and ministerial level. Besides them, 181 were from the prefecture level.