China: More Than 210,000 Officials Punished for Corruption in 2017

China’s anti-corruption watchdog revealed on Thursday that more than 210,000 officials have been punished for corruption since the beginning of 2017, media reported.

Xi jinping Brazil 2013President Xi Jinping (Photo: Michel Temer, CC BY 2.0)The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said anti-corruption institutions received 1.31 million complaints and opened 260,000 cases this year.

Over 80 percent of the figurants have been punished for “breaking the code of conduct,” according to the CCDI.

They include 38 senior officials from ministries and provincial administrations, and more than 1,000 at the regional levels, the CCDI said.

The watchdog announced it will prosecute Yao Gang, the former vice chairman of China’s securities regulator for taking bribes and “destroying the order of capital markets.”

President Xi Jinping has pledged to focus on fighting corruption since taking leadership of the ruling Communist Party in late 2012.

But his critics have accused him of using the corruption campaign to remove political opponents.

A former top general and a past member of the party's Politburo Standing Committee have been imprisoned under Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

Senior party official Sun Zhengcai was expected to be promoted by end of the year and was considered a candidate for prime minister. But the CCDI suddenly removed him on Saturday and opened an investigation against him for “discipline violations.”

Head of the CCDI, Wang Qishan, wrote on Monday that the communist party’s culture remained “unhealthy” and governance was weak, despite five years of ongoing efforts to curb graft, Al Jazeera reported.

"Party concepts are faint, organization is lax and discipline flabby. The root is in the party's internal political life being not serious and unhealthy," he wrote in the party's official People's Daily.

Xinhua, China's state news agency, said that 415,000 people were disciplined for violating the party's code of conduct and other offenses last year.

In 2014, three officials linked to Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, were ousted from the ruling Communist Party for corruption.