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Suzhou vice-mayor under corruption probe
By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-28 08:55

The vice-mayor of Suzhou has been fired after corruption allegations surfaced in a Hong Kong newspaper.

A senior official from East China's Jiangsu Province said Wednesday that Jiang Renjie was dismissed from his position and is now under investigation.

Although no details were released as to any charges against Jiang or his degree of involvement in any illegal schemes, there is speculation that there might be problems beneath the surface of huge fixed assets investment.

Jiang has been ordered to confess to his wrongdoings while the Discipline Inspection Department of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee of Communist Party of China has set up a task force to deal with the case.

Media began to focus on the case after the Hong Kong Ming Pao Daily News linked Jiang to some economic irregularities.

The 56-year-old Jiang, a native of Hubei Province, took the post of vice-mayor of Suzhou in February 2001 and was in charge of urban planning, construction, transportation, communications and housing.

According to the Beijing News, Suzhou's investment in fixed assets and urban construction have increased dramatically in recent years.

Statistics show Suzhou's investment in fixed assets already exceeded 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion) in 2002, ranking among the highest in the country.

Investment reached 140.9 billion yuan (US$16.9 billion) last year, almost half of the 280.2 billion yuan (US$33.8 billion) recorded as Suzhou's GDP.

That number followed only Beijing and Shanghai.

In 2003, Suzhou poured 3.125 billion yuan (US$376.5 million) into a project to build highways. Jiang was in charge.

In 2002, Suzhou started getting ready for the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee, which met there between June and July this year.

Altogether 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) was spent to reconstruct the city. Jiang is said to have explained to the media how the 10 billion yuan was distributed in June this year.

Meanwhile, irregularities were also linked to a company owned by Jiang's son, Jiang Yi, called Forhigh Auction Co Ltd.

Guo Yue, who is named as manager in the company's website, turned out to be only a clerk.

Evidence showed the company, which nullified its registration almost at the same time Jiang was removed, auctioned some State-owned properties since it was founded in 2002.

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