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Ex-Chairman of CSIC Under Investigation for Corruption

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Hu Wenming, 2018 (file image courtesy China Merchants)

By The Maritime Executive 05-13-2020 05:45:57

Hu Wenming, the former chairman and Party chief of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is under investigation for "suspected serious violations of discipline and law," according to Chinese anti-corruption investigators. The term is typically used in cases of suspected corrupt practices. 

Hu, 63, departed his post at CSIC last August, before the company's merger with state-owned giant CSSC. He is now under investigation by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) - the Party's top body for enforcing internal rules and fighting graft - and China's National Supervisory Commission, a recently-formed government agency with an anti-corruption mandate. 

Hu had a long background in the Chinese defense establishment, including posts at CSSC, Aviation Industry Corporation of China and the well-known arms manufacturer NORINCO (China North Industries Group Corporation). At CSIC, he was in charge of the development of China's aircraft carrier program, including the design and construction of the country's first two domestically-built carriers. 

State-owned opinion outlet Global Times said Wednesday that the investigation into Hu's activities would not have any effect on China's naval shipbuilding programs going forward. "A great nation's national defense won't be shaken by a few problematic officials," commentator Song Zhongping told Global Times. 

Hu is the third high-ranking official at CSIC to face a corruption investigation in recent years. In 2018, the CCDI launched an inquiry targeting Sun Bo, then the shipbuilder's general manager. He was charged and convicted of corruption and abused of power, and is now serving a sentence of 12 years in jail. 

In late 2017, Liu Changhong, CSIC's head of discipline, was charged with corruption. CCDI alleged that he used his "authority at CSIC to reap personal gains and accepted bribes.” At the time, the agency also warned that there were other top officials at CSIC who had "a weak sense of discipline, and some . . . abused their authority for personal gains."