China Telecom Chairman Targeted by Anti-Graft Investigators

Updated on
  • Chang Xiaobing joins roll call of officials under scrutiny
  • Communist Party probes have targeted military, oil, finance

China’s anti-graft authority announced an investigation into the chairman of China Telecom Corp., the latest high-ranking official to be targeted by the Communist Party as President Xi Jinping cracks down on corruption.

Chang Xiaobing is suspected of severe disciplinary violations, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on Sunday, using language that often refers to corruption investigations.

Chang, 58, has only been the chairman and chief executive officer of China Telecom, the country’s third-largest wireless carrier, since September. He moved across from China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. as part of a leadership reshuffle that coincided with plans for sweeping reforms to a $16 trillion government-owned sector.

In a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange on Sunday evening, China Telecom said Chang was under investigation, described its business operations as “normal,” and added that it would make further disclosures when appropriate.

Military, Oil

The Communist Party’s anti-graft efforts have spanned the military, the oil industry and -- in the wake of a $5 trillion stocks rout and an unprecedented government market rescue -- the finance industry and its regulators.

In October, the former chairman of China’s biggest oil producer was sentenced to 16 years in prison for taking bribes and abuse of power. Last month, Yao Gang, a senior official at the securities regulator, joined those under investigation.

Some investigations have attracted attention because of the sudden disappearances of executives. The head of the Hong Kong unit of a Chinese brokerage resumed his duties last week after going missing in late November. While Yim Fung had been assisting the authorities, neither he nor Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. were targets of investigations, the company said.

On the evening of Dec. 26, China Telecom executives had received notice that an annual meeting to be held in Beijing on Dec. 28 had been postponed, the magazine Caijing reported, citing several company executives it didn’t identify. Calls to Chang’s mobile phone weren’t answered as it was switched off, the report said.

— With assistance by Allen Wan

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