BEIJING -- China's former top securities regulator faces a graft investigation, with the senior official suspected of breaking the law and transgressing party discipline.
Liu Shiyu, the onetime chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, is cooperating with the probe, Xinhua News Agency reports. Both the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission are handling the case.
A deep reading into how Xinhua, a Communist Party organ, frames the news suggests Liu could dodge substantial penalties. The report uses the term "comrade" to describe Liu, and the news service did not add the word "severe" to the term "disciplinary violations," as is usually the case in high-profile corruption investigations.
Liu had chaired the securities commission since 2016 before being appointed in January as deputy party chief of the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, a state body that oversees agricultural co-ops.
The CSRC chairman is a cabinet-level position that has produced leaders of the People's Bank of China, the central bank. Liu's transfer is seen as a demotion for slumping equity prices, as well as delays in establishing a science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Because the probe began shortly after Liu's job change, it is believed that the charges originated from his stint as CSRC chairman. Though the exact nature of the disciplinary allegations is unclear, Chinese media report that the investigation is linked to a regional bank in Jiangsu, Liu's home province. The bank is being probed by local authorities over bond transactions, and reports cited the potential that Liu's name surfaced during that corruption inquiry.
The Liu case is viewed as a continuation of President's Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign aimed at enforcing discipline in the cabinet-level ranks. In April 2017, the discipline inspection agency probed Xiang Junbo, who chaired the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. Xiang later stepped down, becoming the highest-ranking financial official caught in the sweep at that time.