China province sees third police chief in a row accused of corruption

China province sees third police chief in a row accused of corruption

China, 3 Mar (South China Morning Post)

  • Wang Dawei is the latest in a string of senior police and judicial figures to be targeted by the country’s top graft-busting watchdog
  • His two immediate predecessors and a number of other senior politicians in the northeastern province have also been jailed or charged

China’s top anti-corruption watchdog is investigating a provincial police chief as part of a crackdown that has snared at least 11 senior law enforcement and judicial figures in the past five years.

Wang Dawei, 57, who is a vice-governor of Liaoning province as well as the head of its police department, is under investigation for serious violations of party discipline and law, usually a euphemism for corruption, according to an announcement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervision Commission (NSC).

Liaoning has been mired in a series of scandals in recent years and both Wang’s predecessors as police chief have also been accused of corruption.

The nationwide anti-corruption drive triggered by President Xi Jinping has also seen at least 11 senior officials from the police and judicial system being placed under investigation or jailed since 2017.

These include the former Interpol president Meng Hongwei, former vice-minister of public security Sun Lijunformer justice minister Fu Zhenghua and Deng Huilin and Gong Daoan, the former chiefs of police in Chongqing and Shanghai.

Wang’s two predecessors as Liaoning police chief – Li Wenxi and Xue Heng – have also been detained and are currently awaiting trial on corruption charges.

A week before his downfall, Wang Dawei was still active and presiding over various law and order meetings in the province, according to reports by the official Liaoning Daily newspaper.

A national inspection team targeting the political and legal system publicly criticised the Liaoning police force last summer for lax performance and failing to meet the standards set by Beijing.

In August, one of Wang’s subordinates Yang Jianjun, the police chief in Shenyang city, was placed under investigation for harbouring criminal gangs.

Liaoning has also been mired in political scandals in recent years, including a vote buying scandal involving provincial lawmakers in 2013, the sacking of the provincial party chief Wang Min for corruption in 2017, and the provincial governor’s confession the following year that economic data had been falsified.

The province was also implicated in the downfall of Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party chief jailed for life for corruption, because it had once been his power base.

Liaoning, along with Jilin and Heilongjiang, its neighbours in China’s northeastern rust belt, have lagged behind the south and the east of the country in terms of economic growth in recent years and Beijing’s efforts to revive the area have seen slow and piecemeal results.