Mar 06, 2015 02:23 PM

Speculation on CDIC Article about Corrupt Prince 'Ridiculous'

(Beijing) – A senior political adviser has dismissed as "ridiculous" speculation surrounding an article about a corrupt 19th century prince that recently appeared on the website of the Communist Party's graft buster.

Shi Zhihong, deputy director of the Society and Judicial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said overseas media outlets were reading too much into the article and had violated the ethics of journalism.

The former deputy director of the party's Policy Research Office made the comments on March 5 on the sidelines of the annual "lianghui" meetings, the coinciding sessions of the legislature and CPPCC, an advisory body.

The Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) put an article on its website on February 25 discussing the misdeeds of Prince Qing, who lived during late Qing Dynasty. The article criticized Prince Qing for abusing his power, corruption and moving personal assets overseas, sparking discussion on China's Internet on whether the article is an oblique reference to a modern official.

The graft-buster's article was widely quoted by media outlets at home and overseas, and a social media account run by the official People's Daily mentioned it.

Some reports and blogs speculated that the CDIC article signaled that another "big tiger," or high-level party official, has become the target of a graft investigation.

Shi told Caixin that the public will know what officials are under scrutiny when the CDIC releases that information.

"Only the tigers that are officially announced by the CDIC and handed over to the (investigation) procedure count," he said. "Interpretation based on official materials from the discipline and judicial departments, no mater how harsh it is, will be welcomed."

The speculation regarding the article about the Qing Dynasty prince is groundless, Shi said. "Saying the CDIC is targeting some prince is ridiculous."

Shi has participated in drafting documents for major party meetings in 2002, 2007 and 2012. Before he joined the Policy Research Office in 2007, he worked as secretary for Zeng Qinghong, a former vice president and ex-member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's top decision-making body.

The party's efforts to fight corruption since late 2012 have boosted public confidence and won wide support, Shi said. The party will not abandon the campaign because of doubts about its possible negative side effects and pressure from an economic slowdown. Since late 2012, 84 officials at provincial level and above have come under investigation, he said, including 38 whose cases were sent to the courts.

The country's courts handled 39,000 corruption cases involving 57,000 people in 2014, data from the country's top court show. Both figures are double-digit increases from 2013.

(Rewritten by Han Wei)

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