Sep 02, 2013 12:49 PM

SASAC Boss Investigated by Party for Rules Violations

(Beijing) – The head of the country's regulator of state-owned assets, Jiang Jiemin, has come under investigation by the Communist Party for rules violations, Xinhua reports.

The announcement of Jiang's downfall, made public on September 1, comes a week after four high-level executives from China's largest state-owned oil company were put under similar investigation. Jiang was the oil company's chairman until March 18, when he was promoted to director of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).

Jiang is a member of the Central Committee of the party's 18th National Congress, and the highest-ranking party member to be investigated since the congress was installed last fall. Two alternate members to the Central Committee have been brought down this year: Li Chuncheng, the deputy party secretary of Sichuan Province, and Wang Yongchun, deputy general manager of China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and head of the company's Daqing oil field.

Sources close to the situation say that a routine post-promotion audit of Jiang exposed problems related to the four oil company executives. Jiang, 58, became head of CNPC in 2006.

On August 27, the deputy director of SASAC, Zhang Yi, announced investigations into three CNPC officials, and Jiang was required to distance himself from the inquiry. He made a public appearance the next day, visiting the Aviation Industry Corp. of China where he discussed the need to "toe the mass line," a campaign launched by the new generation of leaders to better connect cadres to the general public.

Exit audits like the one into Jiang normally cover an executive's tenure in a state-owned enterprise (SOE), but the inquiry into Jiang went back a decade, sources say.

"The auditors communicated with Jiang about the extension, but it's a fact that the scope of audit is wide this time," a source with knowledge of the audit said.

Usually the so-called economic responsibility audit of out-going SOE heads focuses on a company's financials, legality of business activities, profitability, internal governance and an official's record in managing and supervising state-owned assets. In Jiang's case, the audit covered some "sensitive issues circulated at home and reported by foreign media," the source with knowledge of the audit said, a reference to speculation that Jiang was the subject of corruption investigations.

The audit is carried out by a committee formed of officials from the party's discipline watchdog; the party's Organization Department; the central government's audit office; the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; and SASAC. If any violations are found, the auditors turn the case over to the party's anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Jiang started working in state oil fields in 1972, and he became party chief of the Shengli Oil Field in the eastern province of Shandong in 1986. In 1994, he became director of the provincial oil management bureau in Qinghai, which is in the northwestern part of the country. In the face of declining production, Jiang beefed up natural gas exploration, making the province the country's fourth-largest producer of natural gas. Also under Jiang's management, Qinghai built three natural gas pipelines, vastly increasing profitability.

In 1999, Jiang was moved to CNPC headquarters, becoming assistant general manager in charge of the company's restructuring and preparation for a public listing. He returned to Qinghai in 2000 as deputy governor. In 2004, he returned to CNPC as deputy general manager and deputy chairman and CEO of CNPC's listed arm, PetroChina Co.

An accident at a CNPC gas field in Chongqing in 2004 killed 243 people and injured more than 2,100. It led to the resignation of the company's chairman, Ma Fucai. Afterward, Jiang was promoted to deputy party chief of CNPC, and in 2006 he became its leader. 

Jiang disappeared from public view for about a month in August and September last year. A CNPC spokesman said on September 4 that Jiang had been hospitalized.

SASAC hasn't announced a successor to Jiang.

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