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Former Head of China’s Air Carrier Program Is under Investigation

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the disciplinary arm of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made an announcement at midnight on May 12 that Hu Wenming, former chairman and Party branch secretary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is now under investigation for “being suspected of serious violations of discipline and the law.” Mainland Chinese media reported that Hu’s work experience includes the construction of equipment for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), in particular. He was the head of research for the development of China’s first domestically made aircraft carrier Shandong.

CSIC, a key PLA naval institution, undertakes the tasks of research, design and production of air carriers, nuclear submarines and other naval weaponry. The probe gave rise to widespread concerns whether he was involved in leaking state secrets and how this case is related the sacking of his former deputy.

In July 2019, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court sentenced Sun Bo, CSIC’s former general manager and Hu’s deputy, to 12 years for bribery and abuse of power as an employee of a state-owned company. As the evidence of his crimes involved “state secrets,” Sun was not tried publicly. Hong Kong based the South China Morning Post, quoting unnamed sources, disclosed that Sun might face a death sentence for his involvement in leaking confidential documents on China’s first domestically produced air carrier to foreign intelligence agencies.

The wechat account of Beijing Youth Daily reported that Hu, who retired in 2019, had also worked at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (Norinco), and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), covering the weapons and equipment construction for the land, sea and air forces. Hu also participated in the production of the Chengdu J-10 fighter and the Comac C919 aircraft.

Source: Central News Agency, May 13, 2020