China's spy chief Ma Jian in corruption probe

Chinese President Xi Jinping toasts the present and past leaders, together with other guests at the National Day reception in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 30 September, 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Xi Jinping says corruption - if it is not tackled - could bring the Communist Party down

China has confirmed it is investigating a powerful intelligence chief, Ma Jian, for corruption.

The Communist Party's discipline watchdog said Mr Ma was suspected of "serious violations" of the law.

Mr Ma is the latest high-ranking figure to be targeted in an ongoing crackdown on corruption among party officials.

He is vice-minister in the Ministry of State Security, which oversees foreign and counterintelligence operations.

No further details were given in the one-line statement on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection's website, but the wording used typically applies to a corruption probe.

The BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing said criminal charges will come much later, but they, as well as his eventual conviction, are all but inevitable.

Reports of the investigation into Mr Ma emerged earlier this month, with a South China Morning Post report linking it to a corruption probe involving a technology conglomerate.

Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to eradicate corruption amongst party and government officials when he took power in late 2012, calling it a threat to the party's survival.

In recent months multiple officials have been toppled, the most senior being Zhou Yongkang, the former head of the Ministry of Public Security.

Earlier this month, an investigation was also announced into Zhang Kunsheng, the highest ranking of four Chinese assistant foreign ministers.

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