China investigates diplomat working at Paris embassy for suspected bribe-taking

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese authorities are investigating a diplomat working at the Chinese embassy in Paris for suspected bribe-taking, state news agency Xinhua has said.

Xinhua identified the diplomat in a report late on Tuesday as Mr Wu Xilin, the minister counsellor for commercial affairs at the Paris embassy. It gave no other details.

In January, the Foreign Ministry said senior diplomat Zhang Kunsheng had been sacked and put under investigation for suspected corruption. Mr Zhang was an assistant foreign minister.

The ministry was implicated in another scandal last year, when China's ambassador to Iceland vanished amid reports in overseas Chinese media that he had been arrested for passing on secrets to Japan. The government has yet to account for what happened to him.

The ministry is one of the only government departments that will regularly answer questions from foreign reporters and so has a high profile, but it has little power or influence compared with other ministries.

President Xi Jinping has cracked down on corruption since assuming office two years ago. He has warned, as others have before him, that the problem is so bad it could affect the Communist Party's ability to maintain power.

While several senior heads have rolled, the diplomatic corps had until recently escaped much censure.