Tianjin city police chief under investigation by China graft watchdog

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - The Chinese Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog said on Sunday it is investigating the chief of police for the city of Tianjin, the latest high-profile official to be targeted in a government campaign to stamp out graft.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) www.ccdi.gov.cn, said on its website that Wu Changshun, high level municipal party official and head of the municipal public security bureau, was under investigation for "suspicion of serious disciplinary and legal violations".

It gave no more details.

China's leadership under President Xi Jinping has presided over an anti-graft campaign to shore up a ruling mandate shaken by suspicion that officials waste taxpayer money or use their positions for personal advantage.

Xi has said graft threatens the survival of the ruling party.

The head of the CCDI, Wang Qishan, said last week he would widen the anti-corruption crackdown to focus on so-called naked officials who have family abroad.

Such officials are often suspected of relocating family members overseas to facilitate offshore money laundering and to hedge against the risk of getting caught.

The commission will also launch a second round of investigations in 10 provinces and regions including Sichuan province, where former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is under virtual house arrest according to Reuters sources, once held the top party post.

Zhou, at the peak of his influence, held one of the most powerful positions in China, overseeing the police, civilian intelligence apparatus, paramilitary People's Armed Police, judges and prosecutors.

Whether the anti-corruption campaign will convince the public that the Party is serious is an open question.

China has had repeated anti-corruption campaigns in the past, to little lasting effect, and sources told Reuters that this campaign risks being perceived as more a war between factions than a genuine clean-up because so many of the targets have been allies of Zhou.