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Guangzhou chief sacked after graft investigation

BEIJING--China has dismissed the Communist chief of the metropolis of Guangzhou from his post, media said Monday, after a corruption probe was launched.

Wan Qingliang was removed as Guangzhou's Communist Party secretary, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing authorities, just three days after Beijing announced he was being probed for “serious violations of discipline.”

The term is usually a reference to graft.

“Wan Qingliang was dismissed from his post,” Xinhua said Monday, citing the ruling party's secretive Organization Department, which does not have a website.

As Guangzhou's Communist Party secretary, Wan ranks above the mayor and is the most senior official of the top-tier city, the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, which neighbors Hong Kong.

The post has in the past been a stepping stone to higher office. Wan holds vice-ministerial rank and is one of 171 alternate members of the ruling party's 205-strong Central Committee.

In China, corruption suspects who are dismissed from their positions are usually later expelled from the party as a prelude to criminal prosecution, but the timescale can be variable.

Communist Party authorities have been waging a much-publicized anti-graft campaign since President Xi Jinping ascended to the leadership 18 months ago.

But critics say no systemic reforms have been introduced to increase transparency to help battle endemic corruption.

A commentary in the state-run Global Times Monday said the Wan case “further intensified people's concerns about the degeneration of China's government officials.”

But the article, under the headline “Keep faith in the nation's anti-graft campaign,” said the growth of official corruption “doesn't mean the country's system is facing a major crisis.”

“China's national pathway to prosperity and the fundamental political system remain firmly established, and the Chinese economic momentum still continues,” it said.

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