Top official in eastern China's Hangzhou under investigation

·2-min read

BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party is investigating the top official in the eastern tech and tourism hub of Hangzhou for what it called serious violations of discipline and law, usually considered shorthand for corruption.

A one-sentence notice on the website of the party’s disciplinary watchdog Saturday gave no details of what Zhou Jiangyong is accused of, although as Hangzhou’s party secretary, he had access to privileged information and leading figures, and major influence on budgets and appointments.

A native of Zhejiang province, of which Hanzhou is the capital, Zhou had steadily risen through the ranks of local government since the mid-1980s.

If convicted of corruption, he would be one of the more prominent officials to be ensnared in powerful Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping's ongoing anti-graft campaign.

A former imperial capital famed for its West Lake and surrounding temples, Hangzhou has lately grown famous as the hometown of internet commerce giant Alibaba.

In 2019, Zhou presented the company’s billionaire founder, Jack Ma, with a prestigious good citizen award, calling him an is “innovator in the digital era and a role model of entrepreneurship."

Since then, the company and its founder appear to have fallen out of favor with Xi's administration.

Ma, one of China’s richest and most prominent entrepreneurs, disappeared temporarily from public view after criticizing regulators in a November speech.

Alibaba was fined $2.8 billion for anti-competitive behavior as the party tightens control over fast-growing technology industries. Subsidiary Ant Group was on the verge of a multibillion-dollar stock market debut in November when regulators ordered that suspended.

Regulators announced executives of Alibaba, its main competitor, JD.com, and four other internet companies were summoned to a meeting and warned not to use their market dominance to keep out new competitors.

Hangzhou is also due to hold the Asian Games in just over a year.

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