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China investigates senior legislator amid corruption crackdown

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is investigating a member of its top legislature, the country's corruption watchdog said on Friday, the latest high-profile official to be targeted in a government campaign to stamp out graft.

Bai Enpei, the ruling Communist Party's former top official in Yunnan province and the deputy head of an environmental protection committee in the National People's Congress, has been put under investigation, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

Bai, 67, was "suspected of serious discipline and law violations", the watchdog said in a one-line statement on its website, using party language for corruption. It gave no more details.

The leadership under President Xi Jinping has presided over an anti-graft campaign to shore up a ruling mandate shaken by suspicion that officials waste taxpayer money or use their positions for personal advantage.

Xi says corruption threatens the survival of the ruling party.

Bai had served as party secretary in the southern province of Yunnan for 10 years from 2001, according to his official resume. In 2011, he was appointed to China's largely rubber stamp parliament and became deputy head of the Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee.

The Communist Party in July announced an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.

Zhou, 71, is the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the party swept to power in 1949.

Xi and other leaders have said the decision to investigate Zhou demonstrates that no party member is above the law, but critics argue that without real reforms corruption will be difficult to tame.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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