• Reuters


China will prosecute a former Communist Party boss in the western city of Hotan, in the troubled Xinjiang region, an anti-graft watchdog said on Wednesday, as President Xi Jinping pushes on with a years-long crackdown on corruption.

Chen Yuanhua, 50, was removed from his post as party secretary in Hotan and expelled from the party for “serious violations of discipline,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement on its website.

Authorities announced an investigation into Chen earlier in the year.

Chen let others pay for luxury hotels, abused his post for the benefit of others, sought and accepted a huge amount of assets, as well as cash and gift cards, “swallowed public funds,” and “maintained long-term inappropriate sexual relations” with others, the commission said.

His case would be transferred to judicial authorities, the country’s main anti-graft agency said, indicating he would be prosecuted.

Party members can be punished for adultery as they are supposed to be upstanding members of society. The charge is frequently levelled against high-ranking suspects as a way of showing they are morally degenerate and worthy of punishment.

Chen could not be reached for comment.

Since assuming power almost four years ago, Xi has waged an ambitious campaign against corruption. Dozens of senior officials have been jailed, including a powerful former domestic security chief, Zhou Yongkang.

Xi, like others before him, has warned that the graft problem was so severe it could affect the party’s ability to maintain power.

The CCDI last year sent inspectors to Xinjiang, including to the southern, one-time Silk Road outpost of Hotan, considered part of the heartland for the region’s largely Muslim ethnic Uighur minority.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past few years in violence between Uighurs and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

Chen is Han, though in 2014, authorities investigated Hotan’s then Uighur mayor, Adil Nurmemet, for corruption. The two officials’ tenure in the city overlapped, according to their biographies posted online.

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