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China demotes work safety chief for "discipline" problems

BEIJING (Reuters) - The ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog said on Monday the head of China's work safety administration had been demoted for serious "discipline" problems, the latest senior official to fall under a cloud.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a short statement that Yang Huanning had "seriously violated political discipline and political rules, and on major issues had deviated from party principles".

He had also used his position to seek personal benefit, it said without giving details.

Yang has been removed from his job and demoted to a non-leadership position, the watchdog said.

It was not possible to reach Yang for comment.

Chinese media had speculated he was in trouble after his name vanished from the State Administration of Work Safety's website last week.

China jailed the former head of its safety watchdog for 15 years for graft in February, wrapping up an inquiry launched after deadly blasts in 2015 killed nearly 170 people in the city of Tianjin, where he worked.

Regular mishaps, from factory fires to mine cave-ins, have increased public concern about China's relatively lax safety standards, which the government has pledged to improve.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)