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Shanghai scandal investigation widens, personnel chief under investigation, officials say

Shanghai scandal investigation widens, personnel chief under investigation, officials say

A probe into alleged misuse of Shanghai pension funds and other abuses widened Thursday, with the city's personnel chief joining the list of those implicated in the corruption scandal.
Sun Luyi, who also is a deputy chief of the Shanghai Communist Party municipal committee, was the first to be publicly linked to the investigation since the city's top leader and party chief Chen Liangyu was sacked on Monday.
Sun is accused of "serious violations of party discipline" and was assisting with an investigation into alleged illicit investments of city pension and housing funds in real estate and other projects, according to city Information Office staff, speaking on behalf of city spokeswoman Jiao Yang.
Details on the allegations against Sun were not available and it was unclear if he had been dismissed from any of his posts.
Chen, who was also removed from the party's powerful Politburo, was implicated in the pension fund case and is also under investigation for allegedly aiding illegal businesses, shielding corrupt colleagues, and abusing his position to benefit family members, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
He is one of at least several senior Shanghai officials, and an unknown number of local businessmen, implicated in the probe into alleged misuse of city pension and housing funds.
Meanwhile Thursday, Xinhua said the State Council, or Cabinet, has ordered special high-level investigations into property dealings in a dozen cities and provinces.
A Ministry of Construction team arrived in Shanghai, China's biggest city, earlier this week to inspect its real estate projects, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It gave no details on the findings of that probe.
Though a top party corruption buster said Tuesday that the government intends to make its operations more transparent, China's entirely state-controlled media has released virtually no information about the case surrounding Chen since his dismissal was announced Monday.
Even local newspapers have limited their coverage to reports on party meetings where officials tout their loyalty and support for the party line.
Officials at the Communist Party's Propaganda Office refused comment Thursday on a report by Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that the office had ordered newspapers to stick to party-approved material and Xinhua dispatches when reporting about Shanghai's political situation.
The officials referred inquiries to the Foreign Ministry, where staff said they should not be asked about such issues.
Top Shanghai communist officials met Wednesday and pledged to work for "social stability," the local newspaper Wen Hui Bao reported Thursday.
Shanghai deputy party chief Liu Yungeng urged party officials to ensure that during an upcoming weeklong National Day holiday there would be no "serious public security or criminal cases," it said.
Meanwhile, many newspapers carried a Xinhua dispatch noting Beijing's intention of building Shanghai into an international financial center _ a message perhaps intended to counter speculation that Chen's sacking amid a major corruption scandal might compromise the city's special status.
Shanghai, home to China's largest stock exchange and other financial markets, is already the mainland's biggest financial center. But it still plays second fiddle to Hong Kong in international finance, partly due to restrictive foreign exchange policies and its still developing legal system.