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Former top Chinese spy in Tibet investigated for alleged corruption

June 29, 2015

By Keira Hu Huang

South China Morning Post, June 26, 2015 - A former top spy in Tibet is under investigation for suspected corruption, the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog said on Friday, becoming the first senior-ranking official in the restive region to be felled by graft-busters.

Le Dake, 55, was the first leader at the regional level to be detained in Tibet for alleged corruption in the nationwide crackdown on graft, state media reported.

Reports described him as Tibet's "first tiger", a reference to President Xi Jinping's pledge to go after both high-ranking party officials (tigers) and low-ranking ones (flies) accused of corruption. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Le was under investigation, but gave no details of the allegations against him.

Le was deputy chief of the People's Congress Standing Committee in Tibet when he was detained.

But his more than 20 years of working in state security has been a greater source of attention. Le was head of Tibet's state security bureau from 2004 until January 2013.

Before that, he was deputy chief of the provincial spy agency for four years in Jiangxi , where he was born and began his police career in 1980.

He transferred from the police to the provincial spy agency in 1994 and worked his way up to become second in command of Jiangxi's state security bureau in 2000.

Since its launch two years ago, Xi's relentless anti-corruption campaign has swept through almost all major arms of the state apparatus, including the military, state-owned enterprises, government departments, and the nation's spy agency.

In January, Ma Jian, one of the country's top intelligence chiefs, was detained over alleged corruption. As the South China Morning Post reported then, Ma was believed to be linked to a high-profile anti-graft investigation into the activities at the top of Founder Group, a technology conglomerate established by Peking University.

Ma's detention demonstrated the willingness of corruption investigators to go into territory previously considered off limits. Xi's concerns about activities in the country's spy machinery were further revealed when he called a meeting of several top national security chiefs in Beijing to demand absolute loyalty from state security agencies.

Former Beijing spy chief, Liang Ke, is also in detention for alleged graft, losing his job in February last year.

It is unclear whether the investigation into Le was related to his work as Tibet's spy chief or his time in Jiangxi, where corruption has been uncovered on a massive scale. The province's former party chief, Su Rong , has also been detained.

After the CCDI's announcement on Friday, Tibet's party chief Chen Quanguo told a meeting of senior party cadres that "there is nothing special about Tibet … when it comes to the anti-corruption campaign".

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