China Charges Former Head of Planning Ministry With Bribery

China filed graft charges against the former deputy director of the economic planning ministry, saying he illegally received money and goods in bribes.

Liu Tienan, 59, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, was accused of seeking gain for others, a statement on the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said yesterday. The case was filed with the People’s Intermediate Court in Langfang city in central China’s Hebei province, it said. The procuratorate described the bribes as “extremely large.”

The prosecution of Liu, which will almost certainly result in conviction, could vindicate public claims made against him by a journalist months before his downfall from a ministry with control over a vast swathe of the economy. Liu was stripped in May 2013 of his position at the NDRC, which approves infrastructure projects and controls energy prices, after Luo Changping, deputy managing editor of Caijing Magazine, posted allegations on his microblog in December 2012.

Luo, an investigative journalist who has written a book about corruption, said in his posts that the official exaggerated his academic credentials and that his son received payments in U.S. and Canadian dollars into bank accounts from a business executive. The Communist Party’s disciplinary body announced via Xinhua on May 12, 2013 that Liu was the subject of an official probe.

Whistle-blower Crackdown

Since Luo’s case, however, the party has taken a harder line against those using Sina Corp. (SINA)’s Weibo service to act as whistle-blowers or express views it considers subversive, even as the party’s discipline body has continued with its anti-corruption campaign.

Charles Xue, a venture capitalist who talked about sensitive topics to his millions of followers on Weibo, was detained in August on charges of visiting prostitutes. Released for medical reasons in April, he was first seen publicly on June 21, the China Youth Daily reported a day later.

The government last week released new rules barring domestic journalists from writing stories without the approval of their employer or in different areas than they normally cover, according to Xinhua. The regulations prevent journalists from setting up their own websites or advertising and public relations companies, it said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at hsanderson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net Neil Western, Andrew Davis

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