China tries former Nanjing mayor for corruption

SHANGHAI (AFP) - The former mayor of China's Nanjing city went on trial Friday on charges of taking US$1.9 million (S$2.5 million) in bribes, the court said, 15 months after he was removed from his post.

Ji Jianye allegedly accepted 11.3 million yuan (S$2.5 million) from late 1999 to 2012, the Yantai Intermediate People's Court in eastern Shandong province said on its microblog.

The court is in the eastern province of Shandong, while Nanjing is the capital of neighbouring Jiangsu.

China typically holds corruption trials outside the geographical area where the alleged crimes took place, to separate officials from their local power bases.

Ji spent his entire political career in Jiangsu, heading the cities of Kunshan and Yangzhou before taking the Nanjing post in 2010.

He was expelled from the Communist Party in January last year, and authorities said at the time he was found to have "received a huge amount of money and gifts either by himself or through his family members".

Nicknamed "Bulldozer Ji" by Nanjing residents, he was known for promoting construction projects in the city. State media linked his downfall to construction project awards to a company with which he had close ties.

The trial came just days after authorities launched a probe into Nanjing party chief Yang Weize for "severe violations of discipline and law", which commonly refers to corruption.

It was unclear whether the two cases were related, but the two were among the officials brought down by a campaign against endemic graft, which President Xi Jinping sees as a threat to the future of the party.

Authorities said Friday that Ma Jian, the deputy chief of the country's top intelligence agency, was under investigation, the latest high-ranking figure probed in the much-publicised crackdown.