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Land and resources minister removed from post
( 2003-10-29 11:06) (Eastday.com)

China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, passed a decision Tuesday to remove Tian Fengshan from the post of the minister of land and resources for his "serious problem of discipline violations."

The legislature also appointed Sun Wensheng, former vice-minister of land and resources, to take the place of Tian.

"Tian is still under investigation," the State Council said in a document submitted to the lawmakers.

The dismissal of Land and Resources Minister Tian Fengshan came a week after a Hong Kong newspaper said Tian is suspected of unspecified "misuse of land."

A corruption case against Tian would be China's highest-level graft scandal since a deputy chairman of the Chinese National People's Congress was executed in 2001 for taking bribes.

Tian was fired because of "serious problems of discipline violations." He was replaced last week as Communist Party secretary for his ministry - a more important post than his ministerial position.

Tian, 63, had served as secretary of the Mudanjiang City Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Heilongjiang Province, vice-governor of Heilongjiang, secretary of the CPC Harbin City Committee in Heilongjiang, deputy secretary of CPC Heilongjiang Provincial Committee, and governor of Heilongjiang Province before he was appointed minister of land and resources in March 2000.

The China Business Times said last weekend that Tian was being questioned under rules that often include house arrest.

The Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said last week that Tian was under investigation for unspecified "misuse of land."

The newspaper said it had no details of the accusations, but it said they might stem from Tian's term as former acting governor of the northeastern Heilongjiang Province.

Tian was replaced as minister by his deputy, Sun Wensheng. The new minister, Sun Wensheng, 61, had served as secretary of the CPC Zhuzhou City Committee in Hunan Province, deputy secretaryof CPC Hunan Provincial Committee, deputy secretary of CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee, vice governor of Shanxi, acting governor andthen governor of Shanxi Province. In June 1999, he was appointed vice-minister of land and resources and become the ministry's party secretary in October 2003.

News of Tian's dismissal came just hours after state media reported the corruption conviction of a former Party leader from Jilin Province, also in the northeast.

Wang Chun, former deputy Party secretary of Jilin and mayor of the city of Baishan, was arrested in March, the media reported on Monday.

The report didn't say what penalty he might face.

Wang and his wife, Wu Shumei, received "an immense amount of money" during his time as mayor. Among other offenses, it said he accepted more than 800,000 yuan (US$100,000) from a man who was appointed director of the city land bureau.

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