Former National Energy Administration chief Liu Tienan. (Photo/CNS)
Liu Tienan, the former Chinese energy chief who has been placed under investigation for corruption, approved more than 50 energy projects within the last three months of his tenure at the National Energy Administration, reports the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald.
Liu, 58, is one of the 11 deputies of the Beijing-based National Development and Reform Commission, one of China's top economic policy makers. Until March this year, he was the chief of the State Council's National Energy Administration and was directly responsible for the government's approval of energy projects.
Liu and his wife were taken away by officials from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Saturday afternoon, reportedly for serious discipline violations. Allegations of his misconduct were first reported to authorities last December but an official investigation by the corruption watchdog was not announced until five months later.
Sources say that even after he was reported to authorities at the end of last year, Liu refused to hand over power on approving energy projects. In his last three months at the National Energy Administration between December and March, Liu reportedly approved more than 50 projects despite being notorious in the past for holding onto them without action. The projects he approved spanned the entire energy sector, from hydropower, wind power, coal and thermal power plants to oil and gas pipelines and power transmission.
Although he appears respectful to energy experts and consultants, Liu was said to be very autocratic in the approval process. Some of the more contentious projects allegedly began construction even while expert committees were still debating whether or not to recommend them, one source said.
A State Council insider said that in the two-plus years Liu was head of the National Energy Administration, many officials did not trust his abilities or the decisions he made. Liu often yelled at subordinates and flip-flopped on his statements, making everyone around him nervous all the time, the source said.
Wu Xinxiong, the man who replaced Liu at the National Energy Administration, did not mention his predecessor's name in his speech at the National People's Congress in March, instead choosing to emphasize self-discipline, diligence and honesty, including freely allowing his performance to be subject to comprehensive supervision.
Liu Tienan 劉鐵男
Wu Xinxiong 吳新雄