China appoints new top graft-busters at key financial regulators

BEIJING: China's Communist Party has named new top officials to lead anti-corruption agencies at the country's banking and insurance regulators as it makes final preparations for a twice-a-decade party congress later this month.

Lin Guoyao, a former municipal official in the coastal province of Fujian, has been appointed chief of the Party Disciplinary Commission at the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, according to an official online statement released late on Tuesday.

Lin, 51, spent 31 years working in the southern province, rising to the post of vice mayor in the city of Xiamen before being appointed party secretary of Longyan city.

Li Xinran, 45, has been named chief of the Party Disciplinary Commission at the China Banking Regulatory Commission. He worked for 22 years at the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China's top anti-corruption watchdog.

The new appointments have fuelled speculation that President Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption in the financial sector could escalate further after the campaign put China's former top insurance regulator Xiang Junbo and some big tycoons under investigation.

Xiang, the highest-ranking financial regulator being investigated for graft to date, was expelled from the Communist Party last month after the CCDI said he had "committed serious violations of political discipline and rules" in order to serve personal political interests.