In the early days of the People's Republic, Liu Qingshan, who had joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1931, was Secretary of the Tianjin Prefectural Party Committee, and Zhang Zishan, who had joined the Party in 1933, was Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Commissioner of Tianjin Prefecture. Abusing their power, the two men diverted funds allocated for building the Yangcun Airport and harnessing the Haihe River to illegal economic activities. They amassed exorbitant profits, embezzled a large sum of money and squandered it. In November 1951, having obtained the approval of the CPC Central Committee, the North China Bureau of the Central Committee arrested Liu and Zhang. In December of the same year they were expelled from the Party. In February 1952 the Provisional Court of the Hebei Provincial People's Court sentenced them to death.