A joint statement from the National Inspection Commission and the Communist Party of China’s (CCP) Central Disciplinary Review Committee (MDIC) said that Liu was “investigated on suspicion of serious violations of party discipline and the law.”
While the statement did not provide details on the allegations, the expressions “violation of discipline” and “illegal behavior” in such investigations generally point to suspicion or accusation of corruption.
Liu, 62, who previously served as a manager at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and the Import-Export Bank (Eximbank), has become the highest-ranking figure ever targeted in the corruption investigations in the financial sector in China since 2021.
Liu, who became the Managing Director of the Bank of China in 2018, and Chairman and Party Secretary in 2019, was abruptly sacked in February.
Bank of China also announced in its statement on the subject that 51-year-old Gı Hayciao, who previously worked at Agricultural Bank of China and Everbright Group, was appointed as chairman of the board and party sectarian instead of Liu.
Public banks and wealth funds are targeted
It is noteworthy that the investigations extended to large public banks and wealth funds after the change of management of the MDIK at the CCP National Congress in October 2022.
China Investment Company, China Development Bank, China Agricultural Development Bank, Everbright Group and China People’s Insurance Company Group are among the groups subject to investigations.
China Life Insurance Company Chairman of the Board, Wang Bin, was brought to trial on charges of bribery and concealment of foreign deposits in January after being sacked last year, while Luo Xi, Chairman of the Board of China People’s Insurance Company, was dismissed in February. Senior investment bankers from Everbright Asset Management Company and Guotai Junan Asset Management Company were named in the investigation.
Meanwhile, 30 major state-owned industrial companies, including mobile phone operator China Mobile and oil company PetroChina, are being investigated for “acts that undermine high-quality development.”
Corruption investigations under Xi’s rule
The fight against corruption was one of the most important issues in President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s 10-year rule, during which dozens of high-level officials were dismissed due to corruption investigations.
While the investigations increased Xi’s reputation with the Chinese public, there were criticisms that he used the investigations to eliminate those whom he saw as his rivals or who he thought did not follow his own line within the party.
In his speech at the opening of the CCP National Congress, Xi indicated that party cadres with ties to the business world would be severely punished and signaled that corruption investigations would continue.
In his speech, Xi Jinping said, “We must put a stop to the complicity of party cadres in leading positions with the business world by becoming spokespersons and agents of interest groups and powerful factions.” had used the phrase.