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Fujian leaders face Beijing top brass

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 February, 2000, 12:00am

Fujian leaders were summoned to Beijing over the Yuan Hua smuggling scandal in a sign of the seriousness with which it is viewed in the capital, sources said.

Fujian Party Secretary Chen Mingyi and Governor Xi Jinping were called before the top four members of the Politburo Standing Committee - President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Wei Jianxing who heads the anti-graft body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

'They were asked [by the leaders] to sum up the experience and learn their lessons from the Yuan Hua smuggling case,' a source said.

The meetings further signalled Beijing's intention to wrap up the investigations into the scandal, which has involved more than 160 Fujian, central Government and military officials.

The scandal was exposed last year when investigators - led by the commission's Deputy Secretary Liu Liying - discovered that the Yuan Hua, or Fairwell Group, in the Fujian city of Xiamen had allegedly smuggled billions of dollars worth of goods to the mainland.

As many as 400 investigators have been assigned to the case because of its complexity.

The sources said that the senior leaders were alarmed over the gravity of the scandal.

They said that not only had Premier Zhu paid several visits to Xiamen, he also spent much of his time on matters related to the investigation.

Mr Wei reports regularly to Mr Zhu on the investigation's progress.

Mr Hu, who was promoted to the Central Military Commission last year, also helped supervise the investigation.

Sources said in addition to the Yuan Hua scandal, Chinese leaders would publicise the 'crimes' of Jiangxi former vice-governor Hu Changqing in the run-up to the National People's Congress.

Hu was sentenced early this week to death for accepting more than five million yuan (HK$4.6 million) in bribes. He was the most senior local government official given the death penalty for corruption.

Sources said the leadership hoped to use both the Yuan Hua scandal and Hu's sentencing as examples of their determination to crack down on corruption.

The mainland's highest law-making body, the NPC meets every March to review government work and future budgets.

It has the power to dismiss unqualified officials.

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