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Ex-spokesman is new discipline chief in Zhejiang

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-06 07:31

Liu Jianchao, a former Foreign Ministry spokesman and senior official in charge of hunting China's corrupt fugitives, has been appointed discipline chief of Zhejiang province.

He became head of the province's commission for discipline inspection and a member of the province's core leadership - the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Committee - in late April, according to an official report posted on Thursday on Zhejiang Online.

Ren Zemin will leave his post as commission chief, the report said, without disclosing details. Ren, 63, has surpassed the routine retirement age of vice-ministerial officials in China.

Ex-spokesman is new discipline chief in Zhejiang

Liu, 53, will take charge of investigating graft issues involving Party and government officials in the province, and also supervise them to ensure compliance with Party rules to build a clean government, according to the Zhejiang Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection website.

Liu joined the Foreign Ministry in 1987 and acquired extensive experience at the information department. He became assistant minister of foreign affairs in 2013.

In 2015, Liu was appointed deputy director of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention, a vice-ministerial-level post. He also became head of the International Cooperation Department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, the country's top anti-graft watchdog.

The commission is the Party's anti-corruption agency, while the bureau is a government department. A commission deputy director will usually also be head of the bureau, and some other officials from the two agencies also will overlap.

The appointment took many people by surprise because it opened a new career path for senior diplomats. It was widely believed that Liu's long diplomatic experience would be used to help China better communicate with other countries during the hunt for corrupt fugitives abroad.

In late 2012, China launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign after the new leadership was elected. To capture economic fugitives who had fled abroad, China set up the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group, led by the CCDI, and launched Sky Net, an operation targeting corrupt fugitives.

In April 2015, Interpol issued red notices - requests to locate and detain an individual pending repatriation - for the 100 most-wanted Chinese corrupt former officials. Forty have been returned to date from more than 16 countries and regions, according to the CCDI.

"Liu is very professional and an innovative official. He's especially good at advancing new ideas and taking effective measures to improve work efficiency," said an anti-graft officer who worked closely with Liu at the CCDI but declined to be named.

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