By Matt Sheehan

What do China’s “war on pollution” and campaign against corruption have in common? They’ve both placed China’s coal and oil empires in their crosshairs, and they’re firing away.

Over the past two years anti-corruption squads have investigated dozens of high-ranking officials in coal and oil bureaucracies, with the latest detention announced Monday night: The vice chairman of China National Petroleum Corp., Liao Yongyuan, was placed under investigation for “serious violations of discipline,” Communist Party-speak for corruption. In China, the announcement of corruption investigations virtually guarantees an eventual conviction.

When he assumed power at the end of 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to purge the Chinese Communist Party of rampant corruption, and he’s since executed an anti-corruption campaign that has decimated patronage networks ranging from the coal industry to the People’s Liberation Army. As that anti-corruption campaign continued to gather steam in 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang responded to the putrid haze blanketing Beijing by publicly “declaring war” on air pollution…

…”Each [SOE] tends to be a mini empire,” professor Dali Yang, who researches Chinese politics at the University of Chicago, told The WorldPost. “They have become very powerful vested interests in the Chinese system, so anti-corruption is not only useful in fighting against corruption but … makes it possible for Xi’s agenda, for the agenda of the Communist Party, to be carried out, to be obeyed.”

Academics have long debated the true motivation for Xi’s corruption crackdown. Is it a move to clean up the party from within? A front for knocking off political rivals? A strategy to clear the way for ambitious reforms?

“All of the above and then some,” said Yang…

Continue reading at the Huffington Post…

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Areas of Focus: Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
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Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...