Website editor of China daily under probe for graft

Top executive of People's Daily Online investigated for allegedly taking bribes

BEIJING • The editor-in-chief of one of China's most prominent official media websites is being investigated for suspected bribe-taking, prosecutors said yesterday, amid a high-profile anti-corruption campaign by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Prosecutors in Henan were probing Mr Liao Hong, the chief editor and vice-chairman of the People's Daily Online, and board member Chen Zhixia, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said in a one-line notice on its website.

The People's Daily Online is the website of the Communist Party's mouthpiece newspaper, although the two are run separately.

The online version publishes its own content, which can be markedly more populist.

Mr Liao has been the chief editor since 2010, according to his official biography. The People's Daily Online deputy chief editor, Mr Xu Hui, has been under investigation by the authorities since May, according to a report by Southern Weekend, a Chinese newspaper.

Mr Xi has launched a much-publicised drive to crack down on corruption, vowing to take on both senior "tigers" and low-level "flies".

But critics say that no systemic reforms have been introduced to combat graft.

Last week, China said it will prosecute 30 people tied to a large media corruption case involving one of the country's best-known financial newspapers, the 21st Century Business Herald, including former executives.

They have been accused of colluding to demand payments for positive news from listed firms and prominent companies, while publishing "malicious" attacks on those who refused to cooperate. The suspects also forced companies to place ads or sign cooperation agreements for high fees, reports said.

China's graft busters have gone after other executives and journalists within China's influential state-run media, part of a broad crackdown on corruption that has swept official ranks since Mr Xi took power in 2012.

Mr Guo Zhenxi, the advertising director at China Central Television and director-general of its finance and economics channel was detained in June last year for suspected bribery.

Several of the network's other senior producers, executives and journalists have faced investigation recently.

Critics have long pointed to corruption within the ranks at state media, arguing that blackmail is widespread and journalists are susceptible to bribery.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Website editor of China daily under probe for graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe