Keeping Up With the Purges
Xi’s Anti-Corruption Commission Nabs Sitting Governor

President Xi Jinping’s massive anti-corruption campaign has hit its biggest target yet: Su Shulin, the sitting governor of Fujian Province, has been put under investigation by the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, the Party’s corruption watchdog organization in charge of prosecuting the thinly-veiled party purge now underway. The South China Morning Post has more:

Su’s downfall, announced late on Wednesday night, was related to problems uncovered by the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s internal graft watchdog, during their inspection of Sinopec in November, a source close to CCDI told the Post. The mainland’s Caxin financial media group also carried a report, citing several sources.

Su was the general manager of Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, from 2007 to 2011 before becoming a top Fujian official.

CCDI inspectors found Su, 53, had helped a relative’s company secure Sinopec’s oil depot project in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in Hainan province, Caixin said.

Sinopec had also paid for Su’s wife’s shopping trips to Hong Kong, inspectors found.

Graft is a real problem in China, but Xi has often used his “anti-corruption” campaign to consolidate power. Back in August, he expanded the campaign to include 15,000 “cyber criminals.” And last month, he used similar tactics against journalists and stock analysts the Party thought were creating panic. The purge is upsetting the military too, where investigations have targeted high-level personnel.

Targeting a provincial governor, however, is a notable escalation. Xi clearly has larger ambitions for “Party reform” than he had demonstrated so far. As China’s economy continues to creak and groan, it will be interesting to watch the pacing of the purge proceed.

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