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Head of China's volleyball center targeted in corruption probe

BEIJING -- China's sweeping drive against corruption has again turned to the country's sports programs, with the head of the national volleyball program the latest to be targeted.

The ruling party's corruption watchdog said in a statement Tuesday that Pan Zhichen has been placed under investigation for "serious violations of discipline and law," the standard term used for corruption. No details were given although such investigations routinely lead to trials and convictions.

Pan was the chief official in charge of China's volleyball and beach volleyball programs. He was credited with helping to coax back former U.S. coach Jenny Lang Ping, formerly China's most illustrious spiker known as the "Iron Hammer," to lead the Chinese women's program again.

In June, the vice minister of sport responsible for basketball, Xiao Tian, was placed under investigation for corruption. Xiao was also one of basketball's international governing body FIBA's three vice presidents.

Chinese president Xi Jinping is pursuing a broad anti-corruption campaign spanning the government, Communist Party, military and state industry.

In its quest for Olympic glory, China has lavished funds on its system of sports schools, leagues and playing facilities, creating ample opportunity for graft. Growing commercial tie-ins in recent years have also provided occasions for bribery and kick-backs.