China probes show President Xi Jinping's latest anti-graft campaign gaining steam

Such campaigns have become an enduring feature of Mr Xi's almost eight-year tenure as China's top leader. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China's latest anti-corruption campaign appears to be picking up speed, after Shanghai's police chief became the latest senior law enforcement official targeted by investigators.

Shanghai Public Security director Gong Daoan, who also serves as a vice-mayor of the eastern financial centre, was being investigated over suspected serious violations of party discipline and the law, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Tuesday (Aug 18).

Gong is the third senior police official placed under investigation by anti-corruption authorities this year, following cases against a vice-minister of public security and the police chief in the south-western metropolis of Chongqing.

The probes are among dozens launched since Chinese President Xi Jinping began his latest campaign to purge corruption - this time focused on the nation's vast law enforcement apparatus.

In July, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the party body that oversees the country's police, prosecutors and courts, announced an "education and rectification" campaign to "thoroughly remove tumours" from the justice system.

Such campaigns have become an enduring feature of Mr Xi's almost eight-year tenure as China's top leader, with more than three million cadres ensnared in corruption probes as of January.

The latest effort comes as Mr Xi prepares for a twice-a-decade party congress in 2022, which is expected to decide whether he stays on for a third five-year term.

Mr Chen Yixin, the secretary general of the political and legal commission, compared the campaign - set to last through 2022 - with a political purge that consolidated Mao Zedong's paramount position more than 75 years ago.

On Monday, Mr Chen said the campaign had entered its second phase, warning cadres in Beijing to be ready for "self-examination" and "self-correction", according to an article posted on the commission's website.

The dozens of investigations announced in the first weeks of the campaign were "only a prelude" of what is to come, the Shanghai Observer news site reported last month. The report said that many of those ensnared have decades of experience and deep connections in the system.

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