Disgraced former Railways minister Liu Zhijun has been expelled from the Party for corruption. He is also taking the fall for the extensive corruption and mismanagement throughout China’s sprawling railway system.
Investigators found Liu used his position to seek huge illegal interests for Ding Yuxin, chairman of Beijing Boyou Investment Management Corporation, maneuvering which caused great economic losses and negative social influence, according to a statement issued by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
The CCDI also discovered Liu, who the statement labeled “morally corrupted,” had taken a huge amount of bribes and bore the major responsibility for severe corruption in the railways system.
Liu was removed from office in February last year. He will now face criminal charges which carry a lengthy jail term and possibly a death sentence.
The rapid expansion of China’s high-speed rail network has had the bloom taken off it by massive fraud, waste and mismanagement. The Railways Ministry’s all-encompassing control of the system–alone among the world’s largest railways, it makes policy, builds and owns the infrastructure, operates the services and regulates the system, which stands alone from all other forms of transport–is starting to be undone. Last month, plans to allow more private investment into the system were announced, a first step to breaking up the ministry. This would separate the infrastructure from operations, but not go as far as a World Bank proposal to put railways under a new transport ministry.