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China Communist paper website’s chief editor probed: prosecutor

August 28, 2015

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

Prosecutors in Henan were probing 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 and alongside People’s Daily articles the online version publishes its own content, which can be markedly more populist.

Liao has been the chief editor since 2010, according to his official biography.

The People’s Daily Online deputy chief editor has been under investigation since May, according to a report by Southern Weekend, a Chinese newspaper.

Chinese President 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 adverts or sign cooperation agreements for high fees, reports said.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.