China statistics chief Wang Baoan under probe for graft

(From Caixin Online)

Detention linked to Wang’s time at the Ministry of Finance overseeing the budget for state investment, sources said

By staff reporter Yu Hairong

The director of the National Bureau of Statistics, Wang Baoan, has been detained for “serious violations of party discipline,” on January 26, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party’s top anti-graft agency said in a statement on the same day.

The party has used that euphemism for corruption frequently since late 2012, when Xi Jinping took its reins and launched a major crackdown on graft. The commission did not offer further details on the investigation.

Wang Baoan

Wang Baoan

Wang was at a media briefing at the statistics bureau’s offices in Beijing talking about the country’s economic outlook just four hours before the CCDI announced his detention on its website. He told the gathering that there was no ground for the further yuan depreciation in the long run, journalists attending the event said, and that the Chinese economy is still in good shape.

Last week, Wang hosted a widely watched press conference to release economic data for 2015, where he revealed that the country’s gross domestic product grew by 6.9 percent, the lowest in 25 years.

The 52-year-old was appointed to the top job at the bureau in April. Before that he spent much of his career at the Ministry of Finance rising through the ranks before becoming a vice minister in 2012.

His detention comes weeks after a team of CCDI investigators wrapped up a two-month-long audit at the statistics bureau in December.

But Wang’s detention is most likely linked to his work during the 17-year stint at the Ministry of Finance where he headed the ministry’s policy planning office. From 2007 to 2009, Wang led the ministry’s department of economic construction, which oversees the budget for public investment in infrastructure. The government in 2008 announced a 4 trillion yuan stimulus package to prop up the economy amid the global financial crisis. Read more

 



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