China sacks top legislative official Bai Enpei amid graft probe

BEIJING (AFP) - China's Communist Party dismissed a top legislative official and expelled him from the ruling organisation, its anti-corruption watchdog said Tuesday, amid a sweeping crackdown on graft.

Bai Enpei, 68, deputy head of the environment and resource protection committee of China's rubber stamp parliament, was investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) for "serious discipline violations", according to a statement on the commission's website.

During the investigation, Bai, who was formerly Communist Party chief of Yunnan province, was found to have "taken advantage of his position to benefit others" and accepted "huge bribes", it said, without giving further details.

His current position is equivalent to a minister's rank according to internal Communist Party rules. Bai's case will soon be transferred to judicial authorities for criminal prosecution, the statement said.

Previously, Bai held other high-profile positions, including acting governor of Qinghai province and deputy Party secretary of Inner Mongolia.

Graft has become endemic in China and Communist leader Xi Jinping launched a much-publicised drive against corruption after he came to power two years ago, vowing to target both high-level "tigers" and low-ranking "flies".

But analysts say China has failed to implement institutional safeguards against corruption, such as an independent judiciary and free media, leaving anti-graft campaigns subject to the influence of politics.