China to prosecute 'superstitious' Xiamen vice-mayor for graft

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A vice-mayor in a key south-eastern Chinese city will be prosecuted for graft after an investigation found he engaged in "superstitious" activities, abused his power and took bribes, China's main anti-graft watchdog said on Tuesday (Feb 2).

Li Dongliang, vice-mayor of Xiamen, took gifts in exchange for help with promotions, covered up unspecified personal issues, allowed family members to benefit from his position and "participated in superstitious activities", the ruling Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

He also had "abnormal sexual relations with others", it said, alluding to an extra-marital affair. Such activity is banned for party officials, who are meant to be upstanding members of the community.

Party members are also not supposed to believe in "superstition" in officially atheist China. The charge is frequently levelled at fallen officials as a way of further blackening their names.

In a similar example, China's powerful former public security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life last year for corruption, was accused of leaking undisclosed state secrets to a fortune teller.

The short statement gave no details of Li's suspected crimes, only that his case would be handed over to the legal authorities, meaning he would face prosecution.

Courts are controlled by the party and generally do not challenge its accusations.

It was not possible to reach Li for comment or ascertain if he has retained a lawyer.

Xiamen sits opposite self-ruled Taiwan and is an important investment location for Taiwan businesses.

President Xi Jinping has launched a war against deep-seated corruption since assuming office three years ago, waging a campaign that has brought down dozens of senior officials.

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