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FILE PHOTO - Children play on a street where poles hang boards showing Chinese President Xi Jinping in Butuo County, Sichuan province, China July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Natalie Thomas

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has punished 8,123 people for committing fiscal violations after an audit of how the government's 2016 central budget was spent revealed multiple problems, the Xinhua state news agency reported.

Hu Zejun, head of the National Audit Office, announced the infringements while briefing lawmakers on Saturday, Xinhua said.

A broad anti-graft campaign in China, aimed at rooting out deep-seated corruption in the ruling Communist Party, including the misuse or embezzlement of government funds, has ensnared more than 1.3 million officials.

Hu said that of the offenders, 970 were punished for misusing funds earmarked for a poverty relief campaign intended to lift everyone in rural areas out of poverty by 2020.

Another 1,363 were punished for irregularities in the use of funds meant to provide affordable housing, she said.

She said 800 people in state-owned enterprises and 73 people in eight major banks were found to have committed violations, along with 505 people who were punished for malpractice involving medical insurance funds.

Hu also said about 48 billion yuan ($7.30 billion) of the funds earmarked for affordable housing projects had been left unused for more than year, she said, while another 1.37 billion yuan of misused funds were recovered.

The unused affordable housing funds had since been put to use, she said.

Hu gave no details of what punishment the violators faced.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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