Corruption Probe Troubles China's State Power Corp

Article excerpt

BEIJING -- Two senior executives are under arrest and scores more are being questioned in a corruption probe at China's electric utility monopoly that has shaken the powerful company and tainted the nation's No. 2 Communist leader.

Investigators have taken over offices inside the State Power Corp., a symbol of government economic might, and ordered corporate officials in for questioning, said executives in the power industry and the company. One of those arrested was caught just before fleeing the country, they said.

In a China now beset by multiplying corruption scandals, the affair stands out on two counts: Unlike many government-owned enterprises, the State Power Corp. makes money; and it is also a core of support for Li Peng, second in the Communist Party hierarchy. Two of his three children are employed by corporation subsidiaries and have working ties to those arrested.

Premier Zhu Rongji, a straight-talking reformer often at odds with the conservative Li, spoke combatively about the investigation at a leadership meeting last month, prompting President Jiang Zemin, the party chief, to intervene, a former government official with ties to top leaders said, speaking on condition of anonymity. …