China detains spy chief in anti-graft crackdown

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Beijing, Jan 16: China on Friday said it has detained one of its top spy chiefs and has named 16 military commanders for alleged corruption, indicating President Xi Jinping's bold, sweeping crackdown on graft has now touched the communist nation's powerful army and intelligence set-up.

President Xi Jinping
Ma Jian, the executive deputy head of the state intelligence agency, has been placed under investigations for suspected "serious violation of party disciplines and law", anti-corruption watchdog China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a terse statement, confirming earlier reports that country's most powerful security official was detained.

The term "serious violation of party disciplines and law" has usually been used by the communist nation as a euphemism for graft. A number of Ma's relatives were also arrested.

Ma is the most senior security official to be probed since the downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the country's former security czar, in a graft scandal last July.

While few details were available on this unprecedented action, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post which first reported his arrest on January 12 said Ma was reportedly linked to a high-profile anti-graft probe into activities of top management of Founder Group, a Peking University-owned technology conglomerate.

Ma, one of China's top spy chiefs who was in charge of the country's massive but less known counter-espionage operations, is believed to be close to Founder chief executive Li You, who allegedly financed hugely profitable securities trades carried out by one of Ma's relatives.

Founder said last week that Li, its chairman Wei Xin, and president Yu Li were taken away to "assist the authorities with their investigations".

Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has named 16 military commanders, including top officials of the logistics and missile forces, who faced graft probes since last year.

While the names of some of the officials were released earlier, the list included Lt Gen Liu Zheng, deputy head of its General Logistics Department, along with another official who is under investigation for suspected legal violations.


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