Beijing: The ruling Communist Party chief of China`s wealthiest city of Guangzhou, a rising political star, has been arrested in a corruption probe sending shock waves among officials.
The downfall of Wan Qingliang, 50, is significant as being party chief of the metropolis of 12 million people he was tipped to take over influential posts at the national level.
The brief notice by the Communist Party of China`s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection yesterday said only that Wan was suspected of "grave violations of discipline" - a party euphemism for corruption.
A source close to the Guangzhou government said Wan was taken from the official compound by police yesterday afternoon, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
The anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping last year caught some of the big retired and serving officials of the Party and the Army, but Wan`s detention was stated to be the biggest case among the serving officials who directly function under Xi.
The announcement came as a surprise to many.
A day earlier, Wan had made a public appearance touring a district in the city accompanied by local officials.
Guangzhou Daily, the municipal party committee`s official newspaper, had a report of the tour on its front page, the Post reported.
"The news of Wan`s detention is a bombshell to us," said a Guangzhou official.
Wan was seen as having a bright future after rising up the ranks at a relatively young age.
He was head of the Guangdong Communist Youth League, the power base of former President Hu Jintao.
Wan came under fire soon after he took the Guangzhou post in 2011, when he appeared to suggest that housing prices were too low.
He told media at the time that his monthly rent for a luxury flat was only 600 yuan (USD 100) despite the market price being five times more than that.
Besides top retired leaders like Zhou Yangkong and senior PLA General, several high ranking officials have been probed and some even jailed for corruption like powerful politician Bo Xilai.
Xi launched the campaign last year after taking over, saying that corruption has spread like cancer in the party ranks and officials say it is striking a chord among common people.