Senior graft-buster named head of China’s anti-corruption body

BEIJING China's Parliament yesterday appointed a senior graft-buster as head of the country's controversial new anti-corruption body, though real power remains with the ruling Communist Party.

President Xi Jinping has waged war on corruption since assuming office more than five years ago, locking up dozens of senior officials.

Supervision Minister Yang Xiaodu, who is also a deputy head of the party's own graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, was elected head of the National Supervisory Commission, which will have a wide remit.

Mr Yang, 64, worked in Shanghai from 2001 to 2014, coinciding with Mr Xi's brief job there as the city's party chief in 2007.

Speaking to reporters earlier this month as Parliament opened, Mr Yang said the new anti-corruption body was needed to ensure holes in supervision were covered.

"We don't think the Supervisory Commission is an organ with superpowers," he said.

"Most of our work is a reminder to public officers. But no one should doubt our commitment to punishing corrupt officials who are obstinate to go their own way," Mr Yang added.

"In the past, there were holes in our anti-graft system - that is the supervision of public officers who are not members of the Communist Party of China, and who are not civil servants."

Rights groups say the new supervision law will give detentions the veneer of legality while still risking torture and rights abuses that they say plagued the old system.

Among other votes announced on Sunday was the widely expected re-election of Mr Li Keqiang as premier - who had only two "no" votes cast against him. - REUTERS