Ministerial Official Dismissed for Corruption, Chinese Authorities Say
Chinese anti-corruption commissars dismissed Shen Weichen, a ministerial-level Communist Party official in the science and technology sector, on Thursday, four days after an investigation of him was announced.
Shen, 57, was the Chinese Communist Party secretary and vice chairman of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST), a high-level state controlled industry body.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Party’s anti-corruption body, on April 12 announced that Shen was alleged to have engaged in serious violations of the law and was being investigated.
Shen is the first ministerial level official dismissed this year in the Party leadership’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign. He is now the fourth ministerial-level official to be sacked since the campaign began. Another three were dismissed last year: Jiang Jiemin, former director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, Li Dongsheng, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Security, and Li Chongxi, former chairman of the provincial committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
“He sold a lot of land, and slept with a group of women,” people in Shanxi said of Shen, Hong Kong media Ming Pao reported. Shen was Party leader there for a number of years.
A well-known female singer born in Shanxi was reported to have revealed her affair with Shen when she was summoned for the investigation of a different corruption case.
The report quoted an inside source saying that Shen put up five million yuan ($804,000) for the singer to hold a personal concert.
The inside source also told Ming Pao that central authorities collected evidence of Shen reaping extensive personal benefits from property projects during his role as Party Secretary in Taiyuan City of Shanxi.
His fast-tracked official career attracted suspicion from the public. Shen was born in Shanxi Province, and started in government at age 13, working at a local telephone company office. He was promoted fast and became the deputy secretary of the Communist Youth League in Shanxi in his late 20s, later becoming the Party boss of Taiyuan City.
Shen became Vice Minister of the Central Propaganda Department in 2010, taking over the position from Li Dongsheng who was then transfered to be the Minister of Public Security.
Shen’s promotion in Shanxi was supported by Li Dongsheng, according to Hong Kong media Oriental Daily, who quoted an inside source.
Li Dongsheng, also sacked last year, was active in the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group, initiated by the Communist Party in 1999. Li helped craft the propaganda messages that defamed and vilified Falun Gong, attempting to make it an object of public hatred, in the early years of the campaign. He was promoted in 2009 to deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security, and also came to lead the 610 Office, an extrajudicial taskforce set up to oversee the persecution of Falun Gong.
When Shen was the head of the Shanxi Propaganda Department from 2000 to 2006, he was also active in organizing anti-Falun Gong propaganda activities, including exhibitions, lectures, and the publishing of books.
Some of Shen’s activities in this sphere were documented by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, a non-profit research group that attempts to hold Chinese officials to account for their role in the campaign.