SHANGHAI: Former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu was dismissed from the national and local legislatures on Tuesday, potentially clearing the way for formal legal proceedings against him.
Chen was stripped of his post as a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Tuesday, the website of Caijing magazine reported.
Two officials from the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress reached by China Daily confirmed that Chen had been removed, but refused to comment.
The decision was made on Tuesday at the 37th meeting of the 12th Shanghai Municipal People's Congress. It will be submitted for the records to the NPC's Standing Committee, which is expected to make an announcement soon.
On the same day, the People's Congress of the city's Huangpu District, Chen's original constituency, revoked Chen's position as deputy to the 12th Shanghai Municipal People's Congress. Reasons cited included serious violations of the law and regulations.
According to the NPC Organization Law, unless the NPC Standing Committee or Presidium grants its consent, an NPC deputy cannot be arrested or face criminal sentencing.
Sources at the Shanghai People's Procuratorate told China Daily yesterday that Tuesday's decision would pave the way for Chen's case to enter the legal proceedings phase, after nearly a year of investigation.
Chen, 60, was sacked as Shanghai Party chief last September on corruption charges, particularly in connection with the misuse of a huge amount of funds from the Shanghai social security fund. While his position as a member of the Party Central Committee and the Politburo was suspended at that time, he still retained his Party membership as well as his post as an NPC deputy.
But at the NPC session in March this year, Chen was not elected to the NPC Presidium, as he was in the past. He also did not participate in the meeting.
NPC spokesman Jiang Enzhu said at that time that a decision about Chen's status as a deputy would be made after an investigation.
Zhu Junyi, former head of the Shanghai municipal labor and social security bureau, and another senior local official involved in the social security fund scandal, dropped his status as an NPC deputy last August.
Just a month ago, Wang Guoxiong, former president of the Shanghai Industrial Investment Co Ltd, who was also involved in the scandal, appeared at the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court on bribery charges.
Several other officials and businessmen implicated in the case have also had charges brought against them by the prosecutor's offices in Shanghai, Jilin and Anhui provinces.
A total of 3.45 billion yuan ($454 million) of the social security fund was misused between 2002 and 2005, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng told a local congress meeting earlier this year.
Dozens of local officials joined a powerful central government team last September to investigate the case.
(China Daily 07/26/2007 page3)