BEIJING, Feb 12 (Reuters) - China's top anti-corruption watchdog has targeted 26 of the biggest state-owned firms, including telecoms, energy, and manufacturing conglomerates, for inaugural inspections this year.
The visits will kick off immediately after lunar new year holidays, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a notice late on Monday. The lunar new year begins next week.
Designated conglomerates include China Telecom Group Co. , China National Petroleum Corp, or PetroChina, China National Offshore Oil Corp, and China National Nuclear Corp.
"We need to sharpen the 'Sword of Damocles' hanging above those in power and use inspections to keep them in awe," the statement quoted watchdog head Wang Qishan as saying.
Other firms to be visited by antigraft investigation teams are Sinochem Group, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co., or Cosco, China Mobile Communications Corp and Baoshan Iron & Steel Group Co.
As part of President Xi Jinping's vigorous crackdown on corruption, the anti-graft body will inspect "all important backbone state-owned firms and financial institutions" this year, it said on its website.
The watchdog has brought down more than 70 senior officials at state firms in 2014, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Thursday.
Last week, it accused officials at top coal producer China Shenhua Group of taking bribes and manipulating coal prices for personal benefit, according to its website.
The anti-graft watchdog also found serious violations by executives of power group China Huadian Corporation during takeovers of coal mines and in official appointments, activities that led to large losses.
Lu Haijun, a director of Bank of Beijing Co, has also been put under investigation this year as the Commission widens inquiries in the finance sector.
The Commission's anti-graft efforts at state firms coincide with the imminent roll-out of ambitious new guidelines to overhaul China's inefficient state sector.
One key measure, expected within weeks, will focus on controlling company insiders and avoiding losses during reforms.
Other firms targeted in the first round of inspections are China Power Investment Corp, State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, China Huaneng Group, State Grid Corp of China, China Southern Power Grid Co.
Also named are China Nuclear Engineering Group Co, State Development & Investment Corp, Dongfang Electric Corp, China Electronics Technology Group Corp, China Electronics Corp , and China Minmetals Corp
China State Construction Engineering Corp, China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, China National Machinery Industry Corp., China General Technology (Group) Holding Ltd., China Datang Corp., China Guodian Corp, and Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Co are among the others identified. (Reporting by Matthew Miller and Beijing Newsroom)