March 15, 2015 / 12:27 PM / in 3 years

China investigates auto executive Yunnan official for graft

BEIJING (Reuters) - The chairman of one of China’s top state-owned automakers and a senior provincial official are being investigated for “violating party discipline”, the Communist Party said on Sunday, employing its usual euphemism for corruption.

After taking over as party and military chief in late 2012, President Xi Jinping declared war on corruption at all levels in China, vowing to go after powerful “tigers” and lowly “flies”. Scores of senior officials have been brought down by the campaign, including former security tsar Zhou Yongkang.

Xu Jianyi, 61, chairman of state-owned China FAW Group Corp, and Qiu He, 58, deputy head of the party in southwestern Yunnan province, are being investigated for “serious violation of (party) discipline and laws”, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website. It gave no further details.

FAW Group Corp, one of China’s biggest automakers, has joint ventures with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Toyota and General Motors in China.

Both Xu and Qiu hold a rank equivalent to a cabinet vice minister.

Qui is well-known in China for ambitious projects and his autocratic and eccentric management style, demanding discipline from his staff. Once seen as a political rising star, his style won both praise and criticism.

Caixin, a weekly magazine, said Qiu is being investigated for urban construction projects in Kunming, provincial capital of Yunnan, when he was the city’s party boss from 2007 to 2011.

China’s top prosecutor told the annual full session of parliament that prosecutors investigated 4,040 civil servants at the county level or above in 2014, or an average of 11 a day. The 11-day meeting ended on Sunday.

Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky/Ruth Pitchford

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