Former head of China’s aircraft carrier programme expelled from Communist Party over corruption claims

Laura Zhou
·3-min read

The former head of China’s aircraft carrier programme has been expelled from the Communist Party and placed under formal investigation on suspicion of abusing his powers and taking bribes, according to the top anti-corruption watchdog.

Hu Wenming, who was the party chief and chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) until his retirement in August 2019, was placed under investigation in May.

He is among the latest officials at one of the country’s largest shipping building conglomerates to be targeted by President Xi Jinping’s high-profile anti-corruption campaign, which has snared more than 1.3 million officials from powerful “tigers” to low-ranking “flies” since 2012.

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Hu’s expulsion was announced weeks before a key anti-corruption meeting of members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing.

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On Monday, the commission, the country’s top anti-corruption agency, also announced that three others – Deng Huilin, the former deputy governor and police chief of Chongqing; Wen Guodong, the former deputy governor of Qinghai; and Luo Jiamang, the former chief accountant of COFOC Group, China’s largest food group – were stripped of their party and government posts.

The commission said Hu was accused of “severe violations of party discipline” and had “engaged in superstitious activities”.

He allegedly violated the party’s anti-corruption policies by “illegally playing golf, visiting private clubs, accepting banquets that might affect the impartial execution of his official duties and taking gifts and gratuities while arranging for subordinate units to pay expenses that should be paid by him personally”.

He was also accused of using his official influence to seek benefits for himself and his family members, including illegally buying houses, misusing public vehicles and trading in power and money.

“[Hu] used his official powers for personal use, seeking benefits for others through his position and illegally accepted large amounts of property,” the commission’s said in a statement. “[He] abused his powers for personal gain, causing significant asset losses to state-owned companies.”

Monday’s statement said Hu’s illicit gains had been confiscated and the case handed over to the prosecutors.

The investigation into Hu followed the jailing of Sun Bo, a former general manager of the corporation who is serving 12 years for corruption.

The watchdog said at that time that Sun was jailed for taking bribes and abuse of power, but Chinese military sources told the Post that Sun was also accused of passing confidential information to foreign powers about the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier.

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Hu joined CSIC as party chief and general manager in 2010. He oversaw the development of the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet warship, and the Shandong, China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier.

The CSIC, which merged with China State Shipbuilding Corporation in 2019, is also building other Chinese naval ships, including the Type 055 destroyer and Type 075 amphibious assault vessel

In November US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning any American company or individual from owning shares in a number of Chinese companies, including the CSIC, that have links to the PLA.

This article Former head of China’s aircraft carrier programme expelled from Communist Party over corruption claims first appeared on South China Morning Post

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