A former senior Chinese energy executive has gone on trial this week, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday, part of the government’s sweeping crackdown against deep-rooted corruption. Wang Yongchun was a deputy general manager at China’s biggest oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), until he became caught up in a graft probe last year.
Wang’s trial on charges of “holding a huge amount of property with unidentified sources” and “abuse of power by a staff member of a state-owned company” opened on Monday in Xiangyang, central Hubei province, Xinhua said. A photo on the Hubei Higher People’s Court website showed Wang in court.
Several senior CNPC executives have already been put under investigation in the far-reaching crackdown, among them former Chairman Jiang Jiemin, who was formally charged in March. CNPC, the parent of PetroChina, was a power base for disgraced former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life for corruption last month, and several of his former colleagues or political allies have been caught up in a sweeping graft probe.
Zhou rose through the ranks at CNPC, and from 1996-1998 served as general manager of the firm. One of his former aides, Guo Yongxiang, who had worked with Zhou when he was Communist Party chief in Sichuan province, also went on trial on Wednesday accused of bribery and other crimes, Xinhua said.
He is being tried in another city in Hubei. China’s President Xi Jinping has pushed a widespread campaign against corruption since taking over as party and military chief in late 2012 and assuming state leadership in 2013. Xi, like others before him, has warned that the problem was so severe it could affect the party’s ability to maintain power.