China probes former Winter Olympic delegation chief for corruption

By AFP   August 26, 2023 | 03:09 am PT
China probes former Winter Olympic delegation chief for corruption
People walk past the headquarters of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, Nov. 30, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Thomas Peter
China said Saturday the former chief of its Winter Olympic delegation was under investigation for suspected corruption, as the government pursues a crackdown on graft in the sport sector.

Ni Huizhong, who most recently headed the country's winter sports management office, "is suspected of serious violations of discipline and law", the General Administration of Sport said, using a common byword for alleged corruption.

Ni, 54, previously served as secretary-general of the Chinese delegation for last year's Winter Olympics, which were held in Beijing in a Covid-secure bubble.

He is one of a string of sport officials to come under scrutiny in recent months as the ruling Communist Party wages an industry-wide anti-corruption drive.

China's top public prosecutor said this month that former national football coach Li Tie had been charged with corruption offences including bribery.

Li, a onetime Premier League player, is one of several top football association officials to fall under graft probes since November.

And in June, China's national snooker body issued lifetime bans to two players involved in a match-fixing scandal that sent global shockwaves through the sport.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has led an unrelenting clampdown on corruption since coming to power a decade ago.

Proponents say the campaign helps to ensure honest governance, but critics say it serves partly as an excuse for Xi to purge political rivals.

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