Outspoken Chinese journalist leaves magazine: sources

BEIJING (AFP) - An award-winning Chinese journalist who made high-profile corruption allegations against a senior official has left his magazine post, sources said on Wednesday.

Mr Luo Changping, among the most outspoken reporters in a country with heavy media censorship, was transferred from the respected financial publication Caijing to an affiliated research institute, several people familiar with the matter said.

"Luo Changping is no longer working at Caijing," an employee at the magazine, who asked not to be named, told AFP. Another person familiar with the matter confirmed the move, without giving details.

It was not immediately clear why Mr Luo left or whether the departure was connected to a series of reports accusing Mr Liu Tienan, a powerful official at China's top economic planning body, of corruption.

Mr Liu came under judicial investigation for suspected bribe-taking following Mr Luo's report, state media said in August, in what was seen as a rare victory for investigative journalism.

Users of China's popular microblog service Sina Weibo expressed anger over the move, with one user named Jiang Yangbin saying: "My fellow townsman Caijing deputy editor Luo Changping has been dismissed".

Mr Luo, whose microblog account has 260,000 followers, made his reputation with a series of reports focused on government corruption, and recently won a 2013 Integrity Award from German advocacy group Transparency International.

Mr Luo did not answer calls on Wednesday.

China ranks 173rd out of a worst-ranked 179, according to a press freedom index of countries published by the Paris-based pressure group Reporters Without Borders.

Chinese journalists and intellectuals have complained of tightened controls over their work since Mr Xi Jinping took over as head of the ruling Communist Party last year.