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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
China road official 'took bribes'
Beijing rush-hour traffic
Major projects are underway to extend Beijing's road networks
A senior official in charge of building a massive new road network in China's capital, Beijing, is being questioned over corruption, state media reported.

Bi Yuxi was described on the front page of the Beijing Youth Daily as "morally degenerate", with a "decadent and dissolute" lifestyle.

He has been handed over to the judicial authorities for further investigation.

The case comes soon after an official audit report exposed widespread government corruption.

As head of the Capital Road Development Corporation in Beijing, Bi Yuxi was in charge of building one of the world's largest networks of ring-roads.

China's capital city is undergoing rapid development, partly because of the country's economic growth, and partly in preparation for the Olympics, which are due to be held in the city in 2008.

The Beijing Youth Daily accused Mr Bi of taking huge bribes and abusing his position to help acquaintances.

A BBC correspondent in Beijing, Louisa Lim, says Bi Yuxi's job, which he had held for nine years, gave him access to the equivalent of millions of dollars.

New generation

It is the first major case of corruption to emerge in Beijing since the new generation of leaders came to power 17 months ago, our correspondent says.

Even so, the issue of corruption has never been far from the spotlight.

In June, China's auditor-general, Li Jinhua, released a report finding embezzlement had occurred in 55 government ministries and commissions.

Mr Li has been hailed as a hero for exposing this corruption, although a recent survey found that many people were worried about his personal safety as a result of his actions.

Correspondents say corruption is rife in China's rapidly-growing economy. According to official figures, more than 20,000 cases have been investigated in the first half of 2004.

It is also an issue which the ruling Communist Party fears could undermine its authority.

The last big corruption case in Beijing involved the city's former mayor and party chief, Chen Xitong.

Chen was jailed for 16 years in 1998, for his role in a $37m embezzlement scandal.




SEE ALSO:
China uncovers Olympic corruption
24 Jun 04  |  Business
China charges tycoon with fraud
27 Nov 02  |  Asia-Pacific


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