Ex-Chinese justice minister expelled from party for graft

Wu Aiying was justice minister from 2005 until February this year, and one of only a handful of senior female officials in China.
Wu Aiying was justice minister from 2005 until February this year, and one of only a handful of senior female officials in China.

BEIJING • A former Chinese justice minister has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party following an investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog, the first time the government has announced that she was in trouble.

Wu Aiying, 65, was justice minister from 2005 until February this year, according to her official resume, and one of only a handful of senior female officials in China.

In a statement released late last Saturday following a four-day meeting of the party's Central Committee, the largest of its elite ruling bodies, Wu's name was listed as one of a number of officials to have been expelled from the party for graft.

While the other names listed - including former Chongqing city party boss Sun Zhengcai - had been announced earlier, Wu's name had not been mentioned by the party in connection with any investigation.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection found that Wu had "serious discipline problems", the communique said, using a euphemism for corruption, but gave no other details.

It was not possible to reach Wu or a representative for comment.

Wu spent most her career working in the eastern province of Shandong, where she rose to become a deputy provincial party chief, before moving to Beijing in late 2003 to work at the Justice Ministry.

The legal authorities in China have been one of the focus points in President Xi Jinping's crackdown on deep-rooted corruption, which has seen powerful former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, and many of his allies and former associates, imprisoned.

It is not clear if Wu had any direct connection with Zhou.

The announcement about Wu was made just days before the party opens a key congress on Wednesday.

Held once every five years, the congress will see Mr Xi strengthen his power and promote key allies and aides.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-Chinese justice minister expelled from party for graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe