MOSCOW, April 10 - RAPSI. Two former high-ranking Chinese officials have been charged with corruption and abuse of power this week, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on Wednesday.

Former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun reportedly accepted massive bribes when handing out posts and contracts and helped companies to win tenders in return for huge kickbacks, according to the newspaper. Although the bribe amounts were not disclosed, his actions reportedly led to "big losses" for the people and the state.

The once-powerful minister has been charged with bribery - a grave crime in China punishable by the death penalty. His hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Liu Zhijun was fired in February 2011. The move was followed by a series of high-profile resignations and corruption scandals at the Railways Ministry.

As a result, the Chinese parliament decided to dissolve the ministry at its most recent meeting and to replace it with the China Railways Corporation. Part of the former ministry's functions will be handed over to the Transport Ministry.

Meanwhile, former Shandong Province Deputy Governor Huang Sheng has been charged with accepting nearly $2 million in bribes and gifts from companies and individuals in the past 13 years for help to win tenders and receive high posts.

The two cases are the first since China's fifth-generation leader Xi Jinping took office and announced a crackdown on corruption.