BEIJING (AP) _ China expelled a provincial bureaucrat from the ruling Communist Party after authorities discovered he used his power to put friends and relatives in government posts, state-run media said Tuesday.

Zhou Wenji also lost his job as deputy chairman of the Ningxia branch of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body, Xinhua News agency said. Ningxia is a remote northwestern province.

The announcement of Zhou's disgrace comes amid a nationwide anti-corruption campaign that the Communist Party has launched to try to restore public confidence in the government.

A disciplinary committee discovered that Zhou used his influence to have 15 of his relatives, including his children, brother and wife, and over 100 former colleagues given government posts in Ningxia province.

The committee said Zhou overstepped his authority by directly approving or asking others to approve the appointments even though most of the candidates were unqualified, according to Xinhua.

``He damaged the image of the Communist Party and the government,'' Xinhua quoted the committee as saying. ``Let his case serve as a lesson to other leaders.''