China sacks top economic official Liu Tienan

File photo: Liu Tienan at a conference, 24/09/2011 Mr Liu was responsible for overseeing national economic planning

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A former top economic official in China has been expelled from the Communist Party and removed from public office, state media report.

Liu Tienan, formerly deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, "accepted huge amounts of bribes", Xinhua news agency reported.

Allegations against Mr Liu emerged online in December, when a well-known journalist accused him of corruption.

The move comes amid a high-profile crackdown on corruption.

Mr Liu "took advantage of his position to seek profits for others", Xinhua reported, citing the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

He was found to "seek benefits for his relatives' businesses by breaking relevant regulations" and had accepted "cash and gifts", Xinhua said.

The commission also found Mr Liu was "morally degenerate", Xinhua added, without giving further details.

Luo Changping, deputy editor of the respected Caijing Magazine, first levelled allegations against Mr Liu in December.

On entries posted on his microblog, Mr Luo said the official was involved in questionable financial deals, fabricated his academic record and threatened to kill a former mistress.

In May, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection began investigating Mr Liu for suspected "serious disciplinary violations".

The downfall of Mr Liu is now being seen as rare victory for public efforts to expose official corruption, the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing reports.

However the reality is that the Chinese authorities still tightly control the internet, and any serious allegations against senior leaders are immediately censored unless they have been officially sanctioned, our correspondent adds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a crackdown on corruption, vowing to tackle it from the powerful "tigers" at the top to the "flies" at the bottom of the Communist Party.

In June, Lei Zhengfu, a former official at the centre of a sex tape extortion scandal, was jailed for accepting bribes.

In July, former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun was given a suspended death sentence for corruption and abuse of power.

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