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UPDATE 2-Chief of China's industry ministry faces discipline probe

UPDATE 2-Chief of China's industry ministry faces discipline probe

Reuters · 07/28/2022 05:00
UPDATE 2-Chief of China's industry ministry faces discipline probe

Adds details, background, comment

By Tony Munroe and Yew Lun Tian

- China is investigating the high-profile head of its industry and information technology ministry, Xiao Yaqing, for suspected violations of discipline and law, state media said on Thursday.

No further details were immediately available.

The comes ahead of a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party at which President Xi Jinping, who has made the fight on graft a hallmark of his tenure, is expected to secure a precedent-breaking third five-year term as leader.

The ministry of industry and information technology (MIIT) oversees a vast swathe of the economy, from -generation telecoms to semiconductors, vaccine production and electric vehicles.

Xiao, 62, has been especially prominent in his promotion of China's energy vehicle (NEV) industry, the world's largest, and his investigation sends a message that the anti-graft drive will continue after the party meeting, typically held in the autumn, experts on Chinese politics said.

"The investigation of a full minister before the 20th Party Congress goes to show the party wants to keep up with the intensity of its anti-corruption drive," said Chen Gang, a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute in Singapore.

At a meeting on Thursday, the party's powerful 25-member Politburo said a round of inspections this month of -level officials showed "the distinctive character of our Party's courage to carry out a revolution against ourselves", and that one was exempt from supervision, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Xiao was mentioned.

His last public appearance was on July 6, when he chaired a virtual conference of information ministers from the BRICS grouping of countries that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

Xiao previously headed the State Administration for Market Regulation, and before that led the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

He was also part of China's small high-level government delegation to the 2018 World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland.

(Reporting by Tony Munroe and Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Clarence Fernandez)

((tony.munroe@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 6627 1288; Reuters Messaging: tony.munroe.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.))