The latest expulsion of a high-ranking China Communist Party official comes complete with the trappings of a Hollywood drama: a vengeful ex-mistress, a celebrity journalist, and an epic fall from grace. Liu Tienan, a former top economic official, has been removed from the CCP and faces criminal charges for accepting bribes that total in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Liu is an ex-vice president of China’s National Development and Reform commission, a government body that oversees economic policy and major investment planning. Until last March, he was also the head of the National Energy Administration – China’s top energy commission.
Luo Changpin, the deputy editor-in-chief of popular investigative magazine Caijing, began posting accusations against Liu last December. Stories of the disgraced politician’s rampant corruption were relayed to Luo by a jilted former mistress. Posts on Luo’s microblog indicated that Liu had “exaggerated his academic credentials and had received bribes for helping a businessman defraud banks of more than $200 million,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Liu is believed to be the first ministerial-level official to face an investigation stemming from accusations on the Internet, which the party has been trying to use to uncover graft, albeit with mixed results,” said the South China Morning Post. China’s “Great Firewall” makes these kind of journalistic victories against high-ranking officials few and far between. Sharp criticism of senior leaders is swiftly censored from the Internet.
China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also added that Liu had abused his position, seeking “benefits for his relatives” while accepting “cash and gifts,” Xinhua said. The commission began investigating Liu last May.
Liu’s public shaming follows two other high profile corruption cases in recent months. In June, Lei Zhengfu was sentenced to 13 years in jail for bribery. A scandalous sex tape with an 18-year-old prostitute, posted on Chinese social media, revealed a $500,000 bribery scheme.
Last month, Railway Minister Liu Zhijun was handed a suspended death sentence for bribery and abuse of power. By pleading guilty, the 60-year-old was spared execution.
Bo Xilai, the prominent ex-politician and husband of convicted murderer Gu Kailai, is expected to go to trial later this month. Gu was found guilty in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood earlier this year.
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