File photo: Chinanews.com
The mayor of Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, has become the latest high-level official to come under investigation for suspected discipline and law violations during the central authority's anti-graft campaign, the discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) revealed on Thursday.
Ji Jianye, 56, has been leading the second largest city in East China since August 2009.
The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published the information on Thursday, confirming earlier reports that Ji was put under investigation on Wednesday morning.
Ji appeared publicly as recently as Tuesday, when he chaired a meeting of the city government, discussing improvement measures for a sewage diversion project, according to a Wednesday report in the Nanjing Daily.
The project is one of the many controversial construction projects Ji launched in the past four years. These projects involving huge amounts of work on building and tearing down roads and bridges led to public discontent on the worsening environment in the historic city.
The fondness for huge city construction projects had even won Ji the nickname of "bulldozer mayor."
Sources within the discipline watchdog system disclosed that in addition to some problematic projects and his alleged corruption, the probe is also related to Zhu Xingliang, a locally renowned entrepreneur who runs a Suzhou-based project contracting company, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday. Zhu has been under investigation and residential surveillance since July.
Many of the projects in Yangzhou, where Ji served as acting mayor, mayor and Party chief from 2001 to 2009, were conducted by Zhu's company, the sources said.
"Some local officials tend to go after construction projects after taking office, as opportunities for making profits and taking bribes can be easily created this way, and officials generally enjoy great powers and supervision over the expenditure of projects is lacking," Xu Xianglin, a professor with the School of Government at Peking University, told the Global Times.
A report in the Shanghai-based China Business News confirmed the flaw in the system. It quoted sources as saying that Ji always pushed for the projects in a "forceful" manner, in which he made decisions on the sites without any planning and then completed the formalities according to his schemes.
Ji reportedly has a tough work style and likes to get involved in specific affairs, the China Business News reported, noting that the projects he decided to launch came under strict and frequent supervision over their schedules, and he would aggressively urge officials to push forward the projects.
"I want to do more things that will be the firm foundation for the city's further development. Large numbers of construction projects are underway, but they will all benefit our future generations," the report quoted the official as saying at a recent conference.
"Being devoted to people's livelihood is an official's obligation, but if he breaks the law, he shall be punished," Xu said, stressing that the projects must be carried out in accordance with law. "One can never expand his own power and exploit supervision loopholes."
Ji's case follows the investigation and punishment of a list of high-level officials in the latest anti-corruption campaign, which includes Jiang Jiemin, former head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and Liu Tienan, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to go after both "tigers" and "flies," referring to high-ranking and low-level corrupt officials.
According to a Thursday statement issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, prosecutorial agencies have placed 129 officials at the prefectural level or higher under investigation for suspected corruption and bribery in the first eight months of this year.
Commenting on the tighter grip on corruption, Xu said the new central leadership has made it a major task in a bid to win people's trust.