China says nearly 300,000 punished for corruption in 2015

BEIJING (AP) — China’s ruling Communist Party said Sunday that it punished nearly 300,000 officials for corruption last year.

The party’s official watchdog body said that 200,000 of those were given light punishments and 82,000 handed severe penalties, including demotions within the bureaucracy.

The body known as the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection rarely explains its methodology or what evidence it considers, and no other details were given in the brief statement posted on its website.

President Xi Jinping has pressed a massive nationwide probe of corruption among officials of all ranks, including those in the party, government, military and state-run industries.

Hundreds of thousands of officials have been interviewed in the campaign, but only a small number have been identified. An independent database lists 1,567 as having been investigated, expelled from the party or sentenced.

Among the highest-level targets of the campaign was Zhou Yongkang, the head of a rival power network and former member of the party’s inner sanctum, the Politburo Standing Committee, who was sentenced last year to life in prison for corruption.

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