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China punishes 627,000 officials in 2021, a record under Xi Jinping

Lower-level authorities take brunt of blame for COVID, accidents and economic woes

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a screen next to a medical workers exhibit at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. Many party officials were penalized last year over COVID-19 outbreaks.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China punished 627,000 officials for "violating Communist Party discipline and laws" last year, anti-corruption authorities said Friday, more than any other year since President Xi Jinping took the party's reins in 2012.

Much of the crackdown focused on officials at the party's lowest levels. The majority, 414,000, worked in farming villages or at companies, according to data released by the Communist Party Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission.

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