Chinese securities official under probe

Besides deputy chair of market watchdog, 2 more military officers being investigated

BEIJING • A deputy head of China's securities regulator and two more senior military officers are being investigated for suspected "serious breaches of discipline", the authorities said yesterday, using the usual euphemism for corruption.

The statement by the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog gave no further details of the probe into Mr Yao Gang, a vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

It was not possible to reach Mr Yao for comment and it is unclear if he has a lawyer, or what the detailed accusations against him are.

But the move comes as the authorities work to restore confidence in the stock market after a fumbled intervention and suspicion of irregular trading following market turmoil which began in June.

Since then, the authorities have swept up market participants, journalists, fund managers and social media commentators in a crackdown on alleged market manipulation.

The move comes as the authorities work to restore confidence in the stock market after a fumbled intervention and suspicion of irregular trading following market turmoil which began in June.

China's financial regulators have been under heavy pressure since stock markets collapsed in mid-June following a long bull run, though the statement made no mention of the markets.

Mr Yao, 53, is the second senior official from CSRC to come under investigation, following the market turmoil. He has a doctorate in economics and took up his current job in 2008, according to his resume.

In September, the graft watchdog began a probe into an assistant chairman at the securities regulator called Zhang Yujun, also for suspected serious violations of discipline.

China's Cabinet yesterday said it had asked financial regulators to improve their supervision of market players to better protect consumer rights.

Meanwhile, the military said it will prosecute two more senior officers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal, with serving and retired officers warning that graft is so pervasive it could undermine the country's ability to wage war.

In a brief statement, the Defence Ministry identified the two as Mr Wu Ruizhong, a former deputy political commissar at the Second Artillery Engineering University, and Mr Qu Mutian, a former deputy commander of the transport command for the paramilitary People's Armed Police.

Both their cases have been handed over to military prosecutors, the ministry said, without providing further details. They were both unreachable for comment and it was not clear if they have lawyers.

China intensified its crackdown on corruption in the military in

the late 1990s, banning the People's Liberation Army from engaging in business. But the military has been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances, military analysts have said.

The anti-corruption drive has felled several other senior military officers, including Guo Boxiong, once a vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission headed by Mr Xi.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Chinese securities official under probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe