Watchdog accuses People's Daily staff of graft

BEIJING • China's anti-graft watchdog has criticised the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper the People's Daily for abuses at some of its subsidiaries and bureaus, including covering up news in exchange for money and misusing government funds.

Completing its inspection at the People's Daily, the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said it discovered some serious problems at the paper, in a statement late on Sunday as part of a series of inspection reports of central government agencies and conglomerates.

Government money had been spent taking holidays, and when problems were discovered, they were often not handled properly, it said. "Some domestic bureaus have used party newspaper resources to seek profits for development projects; some subsidiaries have a problem of taking money to either report news or not report news, or engage in blackmail over news," the watchdog said. It did not give details.

People's Daily editor-in-chief Yang Zhenwu was quoted in the statement as saying the paper would take on board the report and use it as a warning.

The graft watchdog is also investigating three officials at the powerful economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), for suspected corruption, officials said yesterday.

It identified the three as Mr Wang Wei, head of the commission's social development unit, his deputy Ren Wei, and Mr Zhou Heyu, a researcher at the "life quality" division. All are suspected of "serious violations of discipline", it said, the euphemism used by Chinese officials for corruption. The watchdog gave no other details .

The NDRC confirmed the investigation and said it was determined to crack down on graft.

Targeting the aviation industry also, the CCDI said senior Chinese airline and aviation officials misused funds, took bribes and accepted golf outings as gifts.

At the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), officials were found to have used company money to take unnecessary trips overseas and to pay for personal expenses, said the CCDI.

Executives at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) took bribes or kickbacks from suppliers, the CCDI said.

The CCDI said it also uncovered bribe-taking at industry regulator Civil Aviation Administration of China, as well as at China Eastern Airlines and the parent of Air China. Comac chairman Jin Zhuanglong, Avic chairman Lin Zuoming and China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoyong accepted the findings and vowed to take action, said the reports.

The reports come as the government rolls out new guidelines to overhaul China's state sector.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Watchdog accuses People's Daily staff of graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe