China to prosecute former atmosphere official for graft

BEIJING Chinese authorities will prosecute a former atmosphere official for corruption after an investigation identified he took bribes and accepted invites from firm executives to play golf, the Environment Ministry stated on Friday.

Xiong Yuehui was head of a technological standards division at the ministry until he became topic of a corruption probe in August.

An investigation by graft inspectors identified Xiong actively sought to hamper the probe, forming a “conspiracy of silence” with other people, breaking celebration discipline rules and covering up his individual affairs, the ministry’s discipline physique said.

He employed his position to “seek positive aspects” for other folks, and took gifts like cash, the ministry mentioned in a statement released by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Xiong “a lot of instances went to private clubs and accepted invitations from company bosses to play golf”, it added.

It was not feasible to reach Xiong for comment and unclear if he has a lawyer.

Tales of corruption and officials’ higher living, including extravagant banquets and expensive rounds on golf courses, have stirred widespread public anger due to the fact bureaucrats are meant to live on modest sums and lead morally exemplary lives.

In October, the party for the very first time listed golf as a discipline violation as it tightened guidelines to quit officials engaging in corrupt practices.

Private clubs have also been a target of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping battle against deep-seated corruption due to their reputation in China as places exactly where shady dealings or sexual liaisons are carried out by an extravagant elite.

Xiong has been formally removed from his position and his case handed over to legal authorities, the ministry said, which means he will be prosecuted.

The Environment Ministry is at the forefront of government efforts to tackle the country’s critical pollution issue, which includes the smog that often covers China’s major cities.

In July, the government announced a corruption probe into a former deputy atmosphere minister, Zhang Lijun. There has been no news of him considering that.

In February, China’s primary anti-graft body reprimanded the ministry for a series of troubles, like interference by ministry officials and their relatives in environmental influence assessments.

Environmental degradation is one particular of China’s most serious concerns and a very sensitive one particular also, with thousands of protests each year sparked by concern about pollution, particularly from factories.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Michael Perry)

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