The two men previously in charge of an official Chinese state lottery have reportedly been stripped of their positions for illegally taking bribes following an investigation by the nation’s top graft watchdog.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, the former head of the China Welfare Lottery Management Center, Bao Xuequan, and his former deputy, Wang Yunge, were suspended on Sunday evening and stripped of their party affiliations after an investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection allegedly found substance to corruption allegations.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reportedly declared that Bao had been found to have used his position to seek material benefits, accept gifts and have “improper sexual relations”. For his part, Wang was allegedly found guilty of the same offences as well as for resisting the investigation and is moreover suspected of having leaked state secrets.
Reuters reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued a relentless campaign against corruption since coming to power in late-2012 and has warned that the problem could threaten the party’s ability to retain power if left unchecked.
All gambling is illegal in mainland China with the exception of two state-run lotteries, the China Welfare Lottery and the China Sports Lottery, while all earnings are meant to be funneled back into social welfare and sporting projects. However, Reuters reported that it has long been suspected that a portion of these funds are often siphoned off by corrupt officials. A report from the state-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences think-tank allegedly estimated that almost $2.56 billion from a randomly selected $99.77 billion in earnings had been improperly used in 2015 alone.
Reuters moreover reported that February saw the nation’s Civil Affairs Ministry, which is in charge of the China Welfare Lottery, demote the pair of officials in charge of the lottery’s oversight due to their failure to do enough to tackle “systematic corruption”.