Former Railways Ministry Head Liu Zhijun Charged With Corruption

Created: 2013-04-10 16:10 EST

Category: China
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It’s a familiar pattern. A powerful, high-flying Communist official is investigated and then expelled from the Party. After months, or years, in limbo, corruption charges are leveled. The latest, former official to fit this pattern is Liu Zhijun. He used to control China’s Railway Ministry. Today, state-run media reports he’s been charged with corruption and abuse of power.
 
Liu was dismissed back in 2011, five months before a deadly train crash in Wenzhou, in southeastern Zhejiang province. Chinese investigators said he had embezzled $152 million. This raised concerns of sub-standard quality construction of China’s high-speed rails.
 
In May last year, he was expelled from the Communist Party. It was around when the political saga around disgraced official Bo Xilai began to unfold. Bo, too, has been dismissed from the Party, but is yet to be officially charged.
 
Liu Zhijun had political backing from former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin—another point of similarity between Liu and Bo Xilai. Jiang’s political allies have been getting elbowed out as the new generation of leaders establish their positions.
 
The charges against Liu have been filed at the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court. A date for his trial has not been set.