Communist party expels Tong Mingqian for falling to address bribery claims in selection of representatives from city legislature
A senior provincial official in China has been sacked and expelled from the Communist party for negligence in a vote-buying scandal.
The party’s discipline commission said on Thursday that Tong Mingqian failed to take “timely and effective measures” in Hengyang to address reports of bribery in selection of provincial representatives for the city’s legislature.
The scandal “inflicts great losses to the interests of the party, country and the people, and leaves a harmful political and social impact”, the commission said in an announcement on its website, adding that Tong’s case had been handed to judicial authorities.
The scandal in Hengyang, Hunan province, was reported 28 December when the city dismissed most members of its legislature after they were found to have taken millions of dollars in bribes.
At the time of his dismissal, Tong was vice-chairman of an advisory body to the province’s legislature. He was being punished for his alleged role in the scandal when he was Hengyang’s party boss and oversaw the appointment of municipal representatives to the Hunan legislative, which city lawmakers decide by voting.
Provincial authorities disqualified 56 delegates from Hengyang who were found to have paid more than $18m (£11m) in bribes to gain entry to the provincial body. Authorities in Hengyang dismissed 512 politicians from the 529-member city legislature for accepting bribes, while another six resigned, state media repoted.
Chinese legislative bodies at all levels are essentially rubber-stamp decisions by the party. But a seat on such a body is highly coveted because it provides status, networking opportunities and proximity to power.
Candidates are usually backed by the party. But in an effort to make the process more competitive, the number of candidates must exceed that of seats.
The competition, coupled with a ban on canvassing, has bred an underground market of vote buying, but it is unusual that such pervasive fraud has been made public.
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