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China's First Heavy chairman commits suicide amid anti-graft probe: Xinhua

[BEIJING] The chairman of China First Heavy Industries committed suicide while the heavy machine maker was under investigation by the country's anti-graft watchdog, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Wu Fusheng, 51, was found hanging in his office in Qiqihar city in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang around midnight on Sunday, the news agency said, citing police.

First Heavy announced Wu's "sudden death" in a brief statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday, without providing details.

The Communist Party's graft watchdog, the China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, sent inspectors to First Heavy's parent company on July 6, a First Heavy executive told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity as she was not authorised to speak to foreign reporters.

The inspection, which is part of the anti-graft agency's investigation of central government-controlled state-owned enterprises, is expected to finish on Sept 5, the executive added, without elaborating.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has mounted a sweeping campaign against deep-seated corruption since assuming power three years ago, saying it threatens the party's very survival.

Scores of senior officials in the party, the government, the military and state-owned enterprises have been brought down by the campaign, including the former security tsar, Zhou Yongkang, and PetroChina's vice chairman Liao Yongyuan.

China's anti-corruption watchdog has targeted a roving campaign of inspections at government agencies and state-owned enterprise conglomerates this year, focusing on strategic industries. "We need to sharpen the 'Sword of Damocles' hanging above those in power and use inspections to keep them in awe,"watchdog head Wang Qishan was quoted as saying in February.

First Heavy makes heavy equipment for nuclear power and petrochemical plants, among others.

Mr Wu, also a deputy Communist Party boss at First Heavy's unlisted parent, had been the chairman of the listed firm since 2008, according to the executive.

First Heavy's shares ended limit up on Tuesday, leading a 3.7 per cent gain of the benchmark index.


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