The deputy head of the state firm that develops China's first local aircraft carrier, Sun Bo, was expelled from the Communist Party (CCP) for corruption, a crime that could be related to alleged espionage for foreign intelligence agents.
Although the official version of the expulsion is that it has committed "serious violations of party discipline, causing great harm to the national interest," the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post asserts today that the real motives would be the revelation of secrets.
The Central Commission for the Inspection of Discipline (CCID) explained on Monday that Sun, general manager of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), who was arrested in June, was found guilty of using his power to obtain financial gain and to accept bribes
However, the Morning Post published today, citing two sources close to the Chinese Army, that Sun was investigated for allegedly passing confidential information about Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, to foreign intelligence agents.
"The commission statement did not mention the Liaoning bill, only gave brief details of the case and said that the investigation had been concluded and that the party leadership had approved the expulsion of Sun," the independent newspaper said.
The case is being handled by the country's judicial bodies and the crimes would have been committed "even after the 18th Party Congress" in 2012, when President Xi Jinping launched his national anti-corruption campaign.
This campaign has allowed the arrest of more than 1.3 million party officials at different levels of government.
The CSIC plays a key role in the development and construction of naval vessels such as conventional and nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, and is currently working on the first Chinese-made aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, at its shipyard in the port city of Dalian (Liaoning, northeast).
The design of the ship is based on the Liaoning – the only fully operational aircraft carrier in China, remodeling of a Soviet ship acquired from Ukraine – and is expected to be delivered before October next year, in time for the celebrations that will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.