May 7, 2006
Investigators have uncovered a web of corruption within China’s power monopoly.
Investigators have uncovered a web of corruption within China’s power monopoly, lending weight to high-level proposals for the fragmentation of an organisation that has been a bulwark of political support for Li Peng, the country’s most powerful conservative. Officials said some western power companies were suspected of being involved but declined to give names. Official sources said yesterday that Cha Keming, a former deputy minister of power and vice-general manager of the State Power Corporation, had been formally arrested for taking bribes during power project tenders. Mr Cha worked with Mr Li, who is now the second ranking Communist official and chairman of the National People’s Congress (parliament), when Mr Li was minister of power. Tan Aixing, head of the State Power Corporation’s international co-operation department, has also been arrested following a lengthy investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s top graft-busting body. Several other officials at the corporation are under investigation or suspicion and further arrests are possible. Officials said the arrests and continuing investigation into other wrongdoings within the State Power corporation – the successor organisation to the power industry ministry – have thrown the sector into turmoil and focused attention upon the inefficiencies inherent in one of China’s remaining monopolies.