China investigates former tourism official for corruption, leaking state secrets

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese authorities have expelled the former deputy director of tourism from the ruling Communist Party, accusing him of charges ranging from accepting bribes to leaking state secrets, the party's anti-graft watchdog said on Wednesday.

Mr Huo Ke, the former deputy director of the China National Tourism Administration, is the latest senior Chinese official to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption.

The charges against him mean he is likely to face trial.

China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said Huo had also tried to interfere in the investigation of his behaviour.

The investigation found that Mr Huo "accepted gifts, took advantage of his position to select and appoint cadres" and"sought benefits for others", according to a statement released by the CCDI on its website.

"For his personal career advancement, he bribed others and leaked party and state secrets," the CCDI said, without giving details of to whom the secrets were leaked.

It was not possible to contact Huo and it was not known whether he has legal representation.

Mr Xi, like others before him, has warned that corruption is such a serious problem it threatens the party's survival.

Mr Huo was former head of the secretariat of the party's General Office until he left in December to join the tourism administration, according to his official biography on the party's news website.

His term in the party's general office coincided with Ling Jihua, a former senior aide to retired president Hu Jintao. Ling will also be prosecuted for corruption, the government has said.

Mr Xi has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme of his rule and has promised to go after "tigers" - senior officials - as well as those of lower rank who are implicated in corruption.

On Monday, a Chinese military court sentenced former senior officer Gu Junshan to death, with a two-year reprieve, for corruption, the latest official to fall in Xi's crackdown on graft in the armed forces.