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China anti-corruption campaign weeds out Finance minister

Wednesday, August 29th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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China's Finance Minister Jin Renqing has been transferred to a government think-tank and will be replaced by the country's top tax collector, confirmed on Wednesday Beijing sources following press reports.

He will be replaced by Xie Xuren, director of the State Administration of Taxation added the sources citing an announcement by the Communist Party's organization department. Apparently Jin's transfer is related to the corruption case involving Chen Tonghai, former chairman of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp or Sinopec. "South China Morning Post" said the Chinese central government is investigating other top officials in an effort to crack down on corruption ahead of the Communist Party 17th Congress - the biggest political meeting in five years - which begins on October 15. Former Sinopec chairman Chen resigned from his post on June 22, citing personal reasons, two years ahead of the official age of retirement. But his sudden exit gave rise to reports of his involvement in corruption or "serious breaches of party discipline." Jin has also been linked to another corruption scandal involving the former chairman of the Communist Party in the Qingdao, capital of Shandong province, where the 2008 Olympic sail competitions will take place. Du Shicheng was fired last December for alleged corruption and keeping several concubines, according to an anti corruption inquiry from the Central Communist Party. One of his lovers was also arrested for sourcing her personal finances and businesses taking advantage of the Qingdao communist party's influence. Jin's most recent appearance was at a meeting of Asia Pacific finance ministers in Australia early this month. Jin took over as head of the Finance Ministry in 2003 from Xiang Huaicheng, after serving as director-general of the State Administration of Taxation from 1998. He is scheduled to take a senior post at the Development Research Center, a think- tank under the State Council, or cabinet, the sources said. Chinese independent media in English language, reports officials are jockeying behind the scenes for top posts in the party, and changes are expected to be revealed at the congress. Incoming Xie's promotion will require approval by the NPC, sources said, although this is essentially a formality. Xie, 59, has rapidly risen through the party ranks after having spent 14 years as a worker in a machinery factory in the booming eastern province of Zhejiang. As tax chief since March 2003, Xie pledged to weed out tax evaders while lightening the burden for low-income groups to help bridge a yawning gap between rich and poor. He also oversaw an increase in tax collection fueled by unbridled economic growth. As finance minister, Xie will play more of an administrative role managing the country's finances rather than drive policy across a wide range of economic matters.

Categories: Economy, International.

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