Ex-Chinese planning official on trial for graft

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BEIJING (AP) — The former deputy chief of the Chinese agency in charge of steering the world's second-largest economy went on trial Wednesday accused of taking bribes worth almost $6 million, a court said, as a campaign against official corruption intensifies.

Liu Tienan was an official of vice-ministerial rank at China's National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency. The ruling Communist Party's disciplinary agency announced in May last year that he was under investigation.

Liu's trial opened at Langfang Intermediate People's Court in Hebei province in northern China, according to the court's official microblog. It said Liu is accused of taking 36 million yuan ($5.9 million) in bribes from owners and executives of five companies including petrochemical and automobile companies from 2002 to 2012.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to go after low- and high-level officials in a campaign to purge the ruling Communist Party of corruption and other wrongdoing that have undermined its legitimacy in the public eye. In July, the party announced it was investigating the country's ex-security chief, Zhou Yongkang, one of nine leaders in the party's ruling inner circle until his retirement in 2012, for serious violations of party discipline.

Liu's case is unusual because allegations were first leveled against him by a Chinese journalist, Luo Changping, then the deputy editor-in-chief of Caijing magazine, on his microblog in December 2012. Liu also had been director of the National Energy Administration, which initially dismissed Luo's allegations as "pure slander."