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China science sector target of graft and embezzlement probe

A widening investigation of Guangdong’s science and technology field has uncovered a large-scale corruption network and implicated over 50 science officials linked to embezzlement of state science funds.
Those being investigated include three high ranking officials from the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology. They are former director Li Xinghua (pictured), deputy director Wang Kewei, and deputy party chief Zhang Ming.

In Guangdong’s Foshan city, 21 officials in the local science and technology bureau were investigated for siphoning off science research grants meant for local companies.

Local media also said some intermediaries allegedly connected corrupt officials to private companies. The middlemen, mostly former science officials, allegedly collected kickbacks from companies seeking science funds and bribed officials in charge of fund approvals.

Guo Dandan, a former official from the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology, established Guangzhou-based Tesun Information Consultant Co Ltd after quitting her government post. Guo’s company allegedly collected “service fees” from fund applicants and funneled over 1 million yuan ($160,200) in bribes to science officials.

The “service fees” were about 20 to 50 percent of the total value of a grant, according to Guangzhou prosecutors.

Analysts believe corruption in the science sector has hindered China’s innovation despite huge investments in science and research.

“If China spends so much money, why haven’t we achieved more significant accomplishments? Part of the reason may be that much of the money is stolen,” said Cao Cong, a China expert at the University of Nottingham.

Sources: South China Morning Post, Xinhua News (新华网), Guangzhou Daily (广州日报), Science Magazine


Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.