Chinese securities watchdog official sacked

Mr Zhang Yujun supervised firms that do margin trading, which has been blamed for heightening volatility.
Mr Zhang Yujun supervised firms that do margin trading, which has been blamed for heightening volatility.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI • The assistant chairman of China's top securities regulator has been sacked amid a corruption probe, official media said yesterday, after months of decline in the country's stock markets.

The Communist Party's official news portal said Mr Zhang Yujun had been "removed from his post" at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) for "severe disciplinary violations" - normally a euphemism for graft.

It cited a statement from the ruling party's secretive Organisation Department, a week after an investigation into Mr Zhang was announced.

The CSRC is at the centre of China's efforts to stabilise its volatile stock markets.

The authorities have intervened on a broad scale to encourage buying in an attempt to cushion a market rout which began in June and roiled exchanges worldwide.

Mr Zhang had been one of three assistant chairmen at the CSRC since 2012, after managing the Shanghai stock exchange.

Financial news outlet Caixin reported last week that Mr Zhang supervised firms involved in margin trading - which allows investors to trade stocks with only a small sum of money put down as deposit, and which has been blamed for heightening volatility.

Many investors called for CSRC chief Xiao Gang to step down over the stock price plunge, and the investigation into Mr Zhang has renewed online questioning about his superior.

After conducting internal graft investigations, the Communist Party can internally punish alleged offenders or expel them and pass them onto courts for trial, where conviction is virtually guaranteed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'Chinese securities watchdog official sacked'. Print Edition | Subscribe