Beijing: President Xi Jinping's sweeping campaign against corruption on Friday reached the Chinese Foreign Ministry after a top diplomat was for the first time sacked and placed under investigation for suspected graft.
Zhang Kunsheng has been removed as the Assistant Foreign Minister after he was "suspected of violating discipline and is being investigated", the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.
Violation of discipline in Chinese official jargon is the usual euphemism for investigations into corruption.
Zhang has been removed from his office, state-run China News Service quoted the foreign ministry spokesperson as saying.
Zhang was the senior most among the four assistant foreign ministers and was in charge of the protocol department.
Observers say that it is rare for Chinese diplomats and Foreign Ministry officials to face corruption charges.
The massive anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi to restore the credibility of the ruling Communist Party has touched almost all sectors of the Chinese governance system with investigations ordered against hundreds of officials, including the higher echelons of the party and military.
The powerful former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, was the highest-ranking official ensnared over corruption charges.
Senior Chinese Communist Party official Ling Jihua, who was a close aide to former President Hu Jintao, has also been dismissed as the head of the United Front Work Department of the party's Central Committee.