China says top judge under investigation for corruption

By Gerry Shih BEIJING (Reuters) - A judge on China's highest court has come under investigation for corruption, becoming one of the most senior judicial officials to be swept up by the country's anti-graft dragnet. Xi Xiaoming, vice president of the Supreme People's Court, has been probed for "serious violations of discipline and laws," China's anti-corruption watchdog said in a brief statement on its website on Sunday. The agency did not say whether Xi was sacked but his biography was removed from the court's website less than two hours after Xinhua, the state news agency, reported the investigation. A member of the Communist Party for 40 years, Xi would be one of the most senior judicial officials to be ousted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign since the downfall of Zhou Yongkang, the former domestic security chief whose brief included law enforcement and courts. The Supreme People's Court said in its 2014 annual report published in March that it had cleared the "effects" left by Zhou, who was sentenced in June to life in prison for maintaining a vast bribery network, among other things. China's top leaders have pledged to continue combating graft among both "tigers" and "flies" - top leaders and lowly officials - as a matter critical to the ruling Communist Party's survival. Xi Xiaoming, 61, was the number four official in the Supreme People's Court, where he specialized in economic law cases. A native of Jiangsu Province, he rose from working as a policeman in the northern city of Shenyang in the 1970s to the highest echelon of China's judiciary, where he was also a member of the court's leading Party members' group. (Reporting by Gerry Shih; editing by Digby Lidstone)