BEIJING: The public face of China's national Olympic committee has been sacked from his government post after coming under investigation for corruption, officials said Thursday, weeks before the host of the 2022 Winter Games is chosen.
Beijing is facing off against the Kazakh city of Almaty for the prize and a decision will be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 31.
China's sports sector has seen multiple bribery scandals, and the Ministry of Human Resources said on its website that Xiao Tian had been removed as deputy director of the General Administration of Sport (GAS).
Xiao is also a vice chairman of China's national Olympic committee, and was regularly its main speaker at press conferences.
Formerly a successful fencer, he is the highest-ranking sports official to fall in a widely publicised anti-corruption drive under President Xi Jinping, although he is not directly connected to the 2022 bid.
Last month the ruling Communist party said Xiao was being probed for suspected "serious violation of disciplines and laws" -- an often used euphemism for corruption.
Xiao's wife Tian Hua, who like him is an official at the administration, was also being investigated, the state-run China News Service said last month.
The Communist Party internal watchdog and the party's organisation department sent inspectors to the sports administration in November, the Beijing News reported Thursday.
They found problems including opaque selection of athletes and judges for various competitions, and the bribing of some officials and judges at the last National Games in 2013, the report said.
Xiao was one of the top officials running the National Games, it added.
Several sports officials have been placed under investigation for graft since November, some accused of taking bribes and "manipulating games", the China News Service report said.